What is Azure IoT Edge?

Edge Computing with Azure IoT Edge Appliance

Edge Computing with Azure IoT Edge

What is Azure IoT Edge?

Edge computing is a current topic in IT. It describes how computing power can be made available where data is generated. Edge computing is a crucial building block for IoT applications.

Azure IoT Edge is a service from Microsoft that is based on the Azure IoT Hub and enables cloud workloads to be run on local devices at the edge. This reduces the amount of data that is sent to the central cloud services and thus also the costs in the cloud. By deploying edge computers where the data is generated and needed, availability is increased and latency is reduced.

Azure IoT Edge consists of three components:

  • IoT Edge modules are containers that run Azure services, third-party services or custom code. They are deployed on IoT Edge-enabled gateways and run locally on those gateways.
  • The IoT Edge runtime runs on each IoT Edge-enabled gateway and manages the modules or containers deployed on each device.
  • The cloud-based interface to Azure remotely monitors and manages IoT Edge-enabled devices.

Azure IoT Edge Runtime, Modules and the IoT Hub for the Edge Appliance

In addition, Azure IoT Edge offers:

  • Zero-touch provisioning for edge gateways.
  • Hardware based-root of Trust with TPM 2.0 support and the Azure IoT Edge Security Manager.
  • Microsoft Defender for IoT Edge (azureiotsecurity) provides a comprehensive security solution for IoT edge appliances.

Azure IoT Edge Appliances

The Welotec Azure IoT Edge Appliances provide a turnkey solution for edge computing with the Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Edge. Unlike industrial computers with a standard Linux and the Azure IoT Edge Runtime, the Azure IoT Edge Appliance provides closed, scalable and easy-to-manage firmware combined with robust edge computing hardware. Complex software maintenance, configuration and special hardening of the systems is no longer required. In addition, the appliances offer the following benefits:

  • Improved performance, as there are no unused operating system services and applications with which the actual edge application has to share resources such as CPU, memory and storage space.
  • Small footprint reduces boot time and speeds up application execution.
  • Higher security, as there are no unused services and thus the attack surface on the edge appliance is also reduced.
  • Increased IT security as there is no root access for users
  • Easier configuration via a user-friendly web interface or CLI.

Azure IoT Edge Appliances EG500 and EG600

Welotec’s Azure IoT Edge Appliances EG500 and EG600 for the DIN rail offer computing power for cloud workloads at the edge. The Intel Quad Core processor and 8 GB RAM allow IoT edge modules to run directly at the machine or plant.

Azure IoT Edge Appliances – EG500 and EG600 – as Azure Certified Device

Azure Certified Device

Welotec Edge Gateways: Azure Certified Device

Azure Certified Device certification validates that a device can connect to Azure IoT Hub and be securely provisioned via the Device Provisioning Service (DPS). This IoT validation reflects a device’s functionality and interoperability, which are a necessary foundation for more advanced certifications.

Edge Managed

Welotec Edge Gateways: Azure Edge Managed Device

The Edge Managed certification, which goes beyond the Azure Certified Device base certification, focuses on device management standards for Azure-connected devices. The certification includes Edge Runtime compatibility for module deployment and management.

Edge Secured-core (in certification)

Welotec Edge Gateways: Azure Edge Secured-core Device

The Edge Secured-core certification, an additional certification beyond the basic Azure Certified Device certification, is for IoT devices running a full operating system such as Linux or Windows 10 IoT. This IoT validation demonstrates that devices meet additional security requirements related to device identity, secure boot, OS hardening, device updates, data protection and vulnerability disclosure. Here you can find more information about the Azure Certified Device programme.

Many interfaces and options

The Welotec EG500 has three Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB ports, one RS-232 or RS-485 interface. In addition, it offers one digital input and one output. Optionally, the EG500 also offers LTE, 5G or WLAN.
The Welotec EG600 offers many options and interfaces. In addition to two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB ports and two serial interfaces, it can also be expanded with CAN bus, digital inputs and outputs or other options. Optionally, the EG600 also has LTE and/or WLAN.
Both devices also have a TPM 2.0 module for the Azure Device Provisioning Service and Hardware Based Root of Trust with the Azure IoT Edge Security Manager.

Device management

Welotec IoT Edge appliances can be managed via Azure IoT Edge. For advanced management and convenience, the Welotec SMART EMS (device management and management software) can be used. The SMART EMS provides firmware updates, configuration management and additional monitoring for the edge appliances.