Microsoft has certified our newest product, the PrimeMini IoT, for “Azure IoT Edge”. With Azure IoT Edge, Microsoft provides a service that allows edge computing, i.e. data processing, management, backup and provisioning at the point of origin, to be combined with cloud computing and cloud intelligence.
What is Microsoft Azure IoT Edge?
Edge Computing respectively Edge or IoT Edge is the computing power located at the edge of the local network and the connection to the Internet. Microsoft Azure IoT allows this local computing power to be connected and integrated with cloud computing. This combines the benefits of both solutions and creates completely new possibilities for digitalization.
The heart of Azure IoT Edge is the IoT Edge Runtime. It can be installed on a Windows or Linux system. The IoT Edge Runtime enables the installation of individual and customized IoT Edge modules, monitors them, allows communication between the modules and ensures the security of the entire service. For security and compatibility reasons, both IoT Edge Runtime and IoT Edge Modules are provided in containers that run via Docker.
All IoT Edge devices can be managed centrally from the Azure IoT Hub. Maintenance and configuration of each individual IoT device can therefore be done remotely via a central platform.
Benefits of Azure IoT Edge
Azure IoT Edge combines cloud computing with the benefits of local computing at the edge. Important functions of cloud computing are remote maintenance and management, aggregation of data from any number of devices, practically unlimited computing and storage power, machine learning and other future-oriented AI tools (AI = artificial intelligence).
- Azure IoT Edge allows to combine these features with the benefits of edge computing. AI functions are thus made possible in new areas of application where pure cloud computing is not feasible. This means that the IoT solution remains functional even if the devices are temporarily disconnected from the Internet or high network latencies occur. For example, on an offshore vessel. The Azure IoT Edge Runtime stores all relevant data on the local device storage and transfers it to the Azure Hub as soon as connectivity is restored.
- Since Azure services can be executed on site with an Azure IoT device, downstream decisions and actions are executed much faster, with minimal latency and therefore in real-time.
- With an IoT Edge solution, less data needs to be sent to the cloud, resulting in lower broadband usage. On-site processing power allows aggregated data to be sent.
- Only selected data must get into the cloud to take advantage of cloud features. This significantly increases data security and control over your own data.
Hardware for Azure IoT Edge
IoT Edge requires the right devices at the edge of the network. This can range from a low performance device with an integrated sensor that sends data directly to the Azure-IoT Hub to an IoT Gateway. An IoT Gateway can be connected to many IoT sensor devices, has much more compute power and sends aggregated or otherwise processed data to the cloud. The more powerful the IoT device, the more sophisticated IoT edge modules can run locally on the IoT device. In the following diagram, the PrimeMini IoT‘s computing power places it in the “Industrial Tier” and the “Gateway Tier”.
Due to the certification of PrimeMini IoT as “Azure IoT Edge Device”, customers have the confirmation from Microsoft that PrimeMini IoT is perfectly suited for Azure IoT Edge. The PrimeMini IoT is thus officially listed in the Azure IoT Edge catalog: Azure IoT Edge catalog
Installation and configuration of Azure IoT Edge
Microsoft Azure IoT Edge is installed in containers on the edge device, this applies to both Runtime and the individual modules. Docker is required for the Azure IoT Edge modules and Runtime.
Detailed instructions for the installation and configuration of Azure IoT Edge can be found here on the Microsoft website: Documentation Azure IoT Edge
A short but informative introduction for developers to Azure IoT Edge is given in this video from Microsoft Developer:
More detailed information about Azure IoT Edge in video form is available here: