Microsoft announces global rollout of Azure IoT Edge system

Microsoft announces global rollout of Azure IoT Edge system

Microsoft has announced the global enterprise availability of its Azure IoT Edge technology.

Launched a year ago, the system is designed to allow edge devices to act immediately on real-time data.

For the global rollout, Microsoft has announced that IoT Edge is now open sourced and available on developer community, GitHub, which Microsoft announced it was acquiring at the beginning of this month.

Support is also available for the Moby container management system, the open-source platform on which Docker is built, allowing Microsoft to extend containerisation and management capabilities from the Azure cloud to edge devices.

Microsoft has also trailed what it calls an “ecosystem of certified hardware and software for the edge”.

“We are expanding the Azure Certified for IoT programme to certify core edge functionalities, such as device management and security,” said the company in a blog post. “In addition to hardware, developers can find pre-built edge modules now available through Azure Marketplace to accelerate edge solution development.”

Azure IoT Edge includes deep integration with the Device Provisioning Service, so that a device can be provisioned in the field with no operator intervention.

Meanwhile, the Azure IoT Edge security manager acts as a “well-bounded security core for protecting the IoT Edge device and all its components by abstracting the secure silicon hardware,” said Microsoft.

“It is the focal point for security hardening and provides original device manufacturers (OEMs) the opportunity to harden their devices, based on their choice of hardware secure modules.”

Also included are an automatic device management (ADM) service, broad language support for module SDKs, tooling for VSCode, and the ability to manage the complete lifecycle of Azure IoT Edge modules, from development, testing, and staging, to full deployment.

Thumbs up from users

Test customers were quick to voice their support for the global rollout. “Edge computing is the next wave of cloud and IIOT innovation,” said Deon Rae, Chevron fellow and IIOT Center of Excellence lead for the energy giant.

“With the ability to run Azure IoT Edge on Azure Stack, we see an opportunity to increase uptime and real-time insights on the performance of our operating equipment with intelligent applications that can run right on the device and in remote areas with limited or interrupted connectivity.”

Vulcan Steel’s CIO James Wells added, “With Microsoft, we saw an opportunity to increase safety bringing cloud intelligence to the edge, using AI and Azure IoT Edge to review thousands of pieces of footage a day and highlight potentially risky behaviour, which could lead to an accident in the loading and unloading of trucks.

“This real-time intelligence enables us to use predictive insights to direct education efforts, improving safety for our people.”

Internet of Business says

Microsoft’s evolution from a brash, hyper-competitive IP player on the desktop to a quieter, more open enabler of enterprise services in the cloud has been impressive to watch.

Since Satya Nadella took over from his noisy, aggressive predecessor, Steve Ballmer – who allowed Apple and Google to walk away with the mobile market – Microsoft has seemed more businesslike, balanced, and a little less intrusive.

The new Microsoft is open-sourcing products, embracing a developer community, and managing the transition to the data-powered world of AI, IoT, and edge computing with multibillion-dollar investments.

So let’s hope that it can keep resisting the urge that was once coded in its DNA: to get in people’s way, push things at them, and sell, sell, sell. If the earlier version of Microsoft rears its head in this new, developer-focused landscape, coders may put up their guards and lose patience quickly.

Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is the editor of Internet of Business, and specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, blockchain, and technology strategy. He is former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, The Inquirer, and Blockchain News, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools. Chris has also chaired conferences on robotics, AI, digital marketing, and space exploration, and spoken at numerous other events.