Microsoft’s next trick? Kicking things out of the cloud to Azure IoT Edge

After years of urging its customers to move their compute onto its Azure cloud, Microsoft is trying to push them out.

Or at least nudge them to move some of their work out of data centers to edge devices that can offer better response times.

To do this, Redmond has made Azure IoT Edge available to all Azure Cloud customers, and a bunch of open-source code available to all, here. We note that Azure’s IoT Edge Security Daemon is written in Mozilla’s Rust language.

<pAnnounced at last year’s Build conference as a trial program, Azure IoT Edge will, as its name implies, allow companies to put some of their Azure cloud operations on their embedded devices or network-edge appliances.

The idea, says Microsoft, is to allow those devices to gather and report more data (things like hardware failures or activity logs) and allow them to perform operations that would take longer if they had to be done through a cloud data center. It will also allow Azure Stack on-prem customers to keep data from their connected appliances off the public internet.

To do that, IoT Edge allows developers and admins to build containers with modules designed for the specific device or appliance. Microsoft offers both an API for this and a marketplace service with pre-built code. The entire platform, says Microsoft, is being made open source to lure in more developers.

Transparent

“When a company makes a decision on an edge platform to bet on, we want them to feel comfortable and transparent about their choices,” said Azure IoT director Sam George.

“They can contribute to the ecosystem and help with that as well.”

Designed for minimal hardware requirements, the IoT containers will run in anything from Raspberry Pi-level microcomputers to specialized network appliances.

The IoT Edge release is part of a larger effort by Microsoft to branch itself out from the PC and server space into the booming internet of stuff market. Earlier this year, Redmond kicked out a $5bn investment pledge in both home and industrial IoT projects.

Microsoft has also cozied up to hardware developers, including the chipmakers it enlisted to build dedicated silicon for Azure-connected embedded systems. ®

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