Microsoft makes Azure IoT Edge available on GitHub with new updates

Vendor also expands Azure Certified for IoT program to include device management and security

L-R: Chris Wanstrath (Github CEO and co-founder); Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) and Nat Friedman (Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Services)

L-R: Chris Wanstrath (Github CEO and co-founder); Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) and Nat Friedman (Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Services)

Microsoft has announced a string of updates to Azure IoT Edge, as the tech giant opens up global availability for enterprise deployments on its recently acquired software development platform, GitHub.

Azure IoT Edge was revealed about a year ago and has been updated to feature open source capabilities and availability on GitHub.

The offering has also opened up support for the Moby container management system, which is the open source platform that Docker is built on - allowing the extension of concepts of containerisation; isolation and management from the cloud to devices at the edge.

"As we evolve toward a world of ubiquitous computing, the design of the IoT solution spanning hardware, edge and cloud must be consistent and secure to drive real impact," Microsoft director of Azure IoT, Sam George, said.

The cloud vendor also expanded the Azure Certified for IoT program to certify core edge functionalities such as device management and security.

On top of hardware, developers will also have access to pre-built edge modules on the Azure Marketplace.

This falls in line with Microsoft’s US$5 billion investment in the IoT space and intelligent edge in the next four years, which is designed to target continued innovation in the vendor's technology platform and supporting programs.

Microsoft will also continue with its research and development in key areas including securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services; as well as investing in growing its partner ecosystem.

In addition, Azure IoT Edge will also feature deep integration with a device provisioning service for ‘zero-touch’ provisioning, meaning that a device can be provisioned in a field without operator intervention, George explained.

More language options will also be supported including C#, C, Node.js, Python, and Java, so developers can program edge modules in the language of their choice, George said - it will also simplify module development by coding, testing, debugging and deploying all from VSCode.

Another feature includes the CI/CD pipeline with VSTS that allows managing of the complete lifecycle of the Azure IoT Edge modules from development, testing, staging, and finally deployment.

"This continues recent momentum and news at our //Build developer conference last month, where we announced new IoT Edge capabilities including integration with Microsoft AI services and container support for Kubernetes, new partnerships and integrations with third-party hardware including DJI drones and Qualcomm vision AI developer kit at the edge,” George added.

There are three components required for Azure IoT Edge deployment including Azure IoT Edge Runtime, Azure IoT Hub and edge modules - the Azure IoT Edge runtime is free and will be available as open source code.

"The way we look at this is how we can infuse more intelligence into the whole end-to-end infrastructure and create a multi-sense, multi-device experience, where it’s not just one, but multiple devices and device experiences," Microsoft Azure IoT principal program manager, Arjmand Samuel, added.

"They all come together in this intelligent edge and intelligent cloud area. Manufacturing, critical infrastructure, health care, transport – are all verticals that we’re going for and our customers and partners are working in, and they’re now benefiting from IoT."

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