AWS launches Greengrass for IoT edge computing

AWS launches Greengrass for IoT edge computing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made its AWS Greengrass software generally available to all customers.

AWS Greengrass, which was launched in limited preview late last year, is software that allows customers to run AWS compute, messaging, data caching, and sync capabilities on connected devices. With access to AWS Greengrass, they will be able to reap the benefits of AWS Lambda, an AWS compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers.

The company claims that more than a dozen AWS partners, including Annapurna, BSquare, Canonical, Digi International, Intel, Lenovo, Mongoose, Qualcomm Technologies, Raspberry Pi, Samsung, Technicolor and Wistron are integrating AWS Greengrass into their platforms so devices come with AWS Greengrass built in.

Driven by demand for edge computing

In its statement, AWS said the move was a response to growing demand for data to be processed at the edge of the network. Enterprises are managing infrastructure that is no longer located in a data center, a change that has been driven by the growing number of IoT devices currently in operation – in factories, oil well, cars, and agricultural machinery, for example.

“Because these devices often have limited processing power and memory, many rely heavily on AWS and the cloud for processing, analytics, and storage,” the company said.

“However, there are circumstances when relying exclusively on the cloud isn’t optimal due to latency requirements or intermittent connectivity that make a round trip to the cloud unfeasible. In these situations, IoT devices must be able to perform some tasks locally.”

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Making life easier for developers

AWS says that, while programming and updating software on IoT devices is challenging, with few developers possessing the expertise to update embedded systems without creating unwanted downtime, AWS Greengrass eliminates these problems by allowing customers to use AWS Lambda to run code locally on connected devices in the same way they do on the AWS Cloud.

Supposedly, developers can add AWS Lambda functions to IoT devices via the AWS Management Console, allowing them to execute the code locally and perform actions in near real-time. AWS Greengrass also includes AWS IoT messaging and synching capabilities, so that devices can send messages to other devices without connecting back to the cloud.

“Many of the world’s largest IoT implementations run on AWS, and customers across industries – from energy, to mining, to media and entertainment – have asked us whether we could extend AWS’s industry-leading cloud capabilities to the edge,” said Dirk Didascalou, vice president of IoT at AWS.

“By embedding AWS Lambda and AWS IoT capabilities in connected devices, AWS Greengrass gives customers the flexibility to have devices act locally on the data they generate while using the AWS Cloud for management, analytics, and storage – all using a single, familiar AWS programming model,” Didascalou said.

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Happy customers

AWS claims that numerous customers are already benefiting from AWS Greengrass, including the likes of Finnish lifting company Konecranes, mining group Rio Tinto, Stanley Black & Decker’s Digital Accelerator, and Enel, one of the largest utilities in Europe.

“Connected devices improve all aspects of our daily lives, from the smart meters in our homes that help us save energy, to the black boxes in our cars that show us how we’re driving, to the stoplights with sensors that monitor traffic,” said Fabio Veronese, head of infrastructure and technological services at Enel.

“Enel is building AWS Greengrass-enabled smart gateways for the home and industrial gateways for our power generation sites, where AWS Greengrass will allow us to process and act on large volumes of data with sub-millisecond latency,” he explained.

Greengrass is available now in Amazon’s US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) regions. It will be available in other regions including APAC, Frankfurt and Sydney in the coming weeks.