What does Azure has to offer to IoT?
Microsoft Azure platform has a lot to offer when building IoT solution. It is a natural direction when you are looking at the high availability and high scalability capabilities.
Microsoft Azure IoT Suite allows you to scale to millions of devices connected sending millions of messages up in your cloud solution. It also allows you to easily integrate with existing systems.
It offers the ability to analyze and visualize Big Data and it also allows built-in security and device management features to help you manage the overall security of your solution and individual device as well.
Azure IoT Suite is a collection of multiple azure services that works very well together when building an internet of things solution. These services allow you to collect data from devices and allow you to analyze data streams in motion or in real time. It also allows you to store and query large data sets, big data from your IoT solutions.
Azure IoT Suite also allows you to visualize both real time as well as historical data in the cloud and you can also integrate your IoT solution with back-office system or on premise or legacy system or other things if you integrate it that way.
The azure IoT suite is made up of these key services:
First is the Azure IoT Hub which provides a messaging system between azure and devices that offers at two way messaging capabilities.
Second, Azure Notification Hub provides the ability to integrate mobile push notification to users using mobile devices.
Third, Azure Stream Analytics allows you to provide real time analysis capabilities on your data allowing that bridge point to split off your data for fast slow processing right within stream analytics very easily.
As well as Machine Learning which can be used to utilize artificial intelligence to give insight and prediction from the data collected in your IoT solution.
And the Power BI which can easily integrate visualization to system analysis and prediction.
Even though that Azure IoT Suite has services that are called out to specific for building IoT solution basically any services on azure can be used within an IoT solution.
You can use services for background processing such as azure function or web jobs. You can also use different storage services like blob storage, tables, queues, CosmosDB as well as azure SQL database.
Most azure services can be used with IoT solutions just fine as they needed to be your requirement.
Here is a diagram that kind of put all of different azure services that just mentioned together and how they might relate to solution.
To start from left side we have IP-capable devices that may connect directly through IoT hub, message hub in the cloud or through a gateway.
There are also low power devices that may be required to use a field gateway or protocol gateway to be connected.
and then IoT hub, this would be azure IoT hub providing the messaging system for devices for us to send telemetry up to the cloud, command and control messages from the cloud back down to the devices, more easy device management and security along with monitoring our devices as well as full security for IoT solution.
And from there, the message would flow into something like azure stream analytics to offer real-time stream processing where the data and events could be split off and copy into that fast or slow path, implementing the lambda architecture.
One path it can go is storage such as azure blob storage, table storage, azure SQL database and possible CosmosDB or any other storage system that you need to use.
Also funneled off other direction possibly from stream analytics into Power BI, or into a message queue that would then be handled by background processing like web jobs or azure functions.
And then from storage or from stream analytics you can feed that data out through for analysis using something like azure machine learning.
And then on the right you may use azure web app or mobile app with a native mobile app running on the device to look and visualize that data or even using power bi.
Here is a view of kind of high level of all different services in azure. There are many more services than the one mentioned. They can all be used for what they do well or what they build for which could be utilize in any IoT solution as you see the need for building based on your requirement.
Azure IoT suite does have some preconfigured IoT solutions that you can use to get started.
You can create these preconfigured solutions by navigating to http://azureiotsuite.com
When created, it will setup all necessary resources on your azure subscription and then you can take preconfigured solution you choose and customize it based on your needs.
These can be extremely helpful on building app solutions that are similar to the preconfigured solutions without having to build it all yourself from scratch. Especially with the best practices that be implemented in these preconfigured solutions without you having to learn those necessary before getting started.
These preconfigured solutions that are also made available to us open source and they are all hosted on Github.
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