If you want to create, connect, and maintain secured intelligent IoT devices from the edge to the cloud, you might want to check out Azure Sphere. It is a secured, high-level application platform with built-in communication and security features for internet-connected devices. This blog post will explore what Azure Sphere offers, its advantages, and the steps to use it.
What is Azure Sphere?
Azure Sphere is a product of Microsoft that consists of three components:
- Secured, connected, crossover microcontroller unit (MCU) that integrates real-time processing capabilities with the ability to run a high-level operating system.
- Custom high-level Linux-based operating system (OS) that provides a secured application environment, authenticated connections, and over-the-air updates.
- Cloud-based security service that provides continuous, renewable security for the device, data, and infrastructure. It also enables interoperation with IoT platform services like Azure IoT Hub and IoT Central.
The Sphere MCUs can be embedded into new devices or used as guardian modules to connect existing devices to the cloud. Sphere devices can be updated, controlled, monitored, and maintained remotely through the Azure Sphere Security Service.
What are the advantages?
The Sphere offers several benefits for IoT developers and users, such as:
- Protects your device, data, and infrastructure on all fronts—hardware, software, and in the cloud. It implements the seven properties of highly secured devices identified by Microsoft research. They are the hardware-based root of trust, small trusted computing base, certificate-based authentication, renewable security, defense in depth, compartmentalization, and failure reporting.
- Simplifies device management and maintenance by providing automatic software updates from the cloud to any connected device. You can deploy updates and improvements to your application alongside your OS directly to the IoT device over-the-air (OTA).
- Helps you focus on your business strategy and innovation by reducing the complexity and cost of developing secured IoT solutions. You can leverage flexible implementation options and bring-your-own-cloud connectivity to deploy your solutions faster.
- Enables you to collect product usage data and customer feedback over a secured connection. You can use this data to diagnose problems, provide new functionality, and design better products.
How to use Azure Sphere?
To get started, you need to follow these steps:
- Order an Azure Sphere development kit from one of the hardware partners. The development kit includes an Azure Sphere MCU board and a USB cable.
- Install the Azure Sphere SDK on your Windows or Linux machine. The SDK includes tools and libraries for developing and debugging applications for Azure Sphere devices.
- Register your device with the Azure Sphere Security Service using the Azure Sphere CLI or Visual Studio Code extension. This will assign a unique ID to your device and enable it to receive OS updates and application deployments from the cloud.
- Develop your application using Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code to create your application for Sphere devices. You can use C or C++ as the programming language and leverage the Sphere libraries and APIs for communication and security features.
- Deploy your application using Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code to build and deploy your application to your device via USB or OTA. You can also use the Sphere CLI or REST API to manage your deployments programmatically.
To learn more, visit the official website or check out the documentation.
We hope this blog post has given you an overview of Azure Sphere, its advantages, and how to use it. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.