Microsoft continued to flesh out its $5 billion investment into the IoT and edge space with its latest push targeted at the developer community. The company launched cross-platform availability of its Open Enclave SDK that helps manage devices deployed in edge network architectures. It also previewed the integration of that platform into its Azure IoT Edge security manager.
Eustace Asanghanwa, senior program manager for Microsoft’s Azure IoT business, explained in a blog post that the expanded reach of the Open Enclave SDK will allow developers to write trusted applications that can run in trusted environments within Arm and Intel chip architectures. Those environments are known as enclaves, which are secured parts of a chip architecture.
“This broad applicability across different enclave technologies and integration with IoT Edge greatly simplifies the work developers must do to protect data and devices at the edge,” Asanghanwa wrote.
The Open Enclave SDK provides a consistent API surface and secured hardware abstraction to support trusted computing application development. It basically abstracts the developer away from having to deal with hardware security. Microsoft open sourced the platform early last month.
The SDK builds on Microsoft’s Azure Sphere. That platform supports the building of secured microcontroller devices that can work with edge applications. It was also the first completely open source-based product built by Microsoft.
The Azure IoT Edge security manager platform protects devices and components deployed into the Azure IoT Edge architecture by rooting the identity and sensitive workloads in secure silicon, or what it also described as a hardware security module (HSM). The platform was initially announced last year, and hit general availability this past June.
Gartner recently noted that security is the most significant area of technical concern for organizations deploying IoT systems.
“However, by 2023, we expect to see the deployment of hardware and software combinations that together create more trustworthy and secure IoT systems,” said Nick Jones, research vice president at Gartner, in a report. “We advise CIOs to collaborate with chief information security officers (CISOs) to ensure the right staff are involved in reviewing any decisions that involve purchasing IoT devices and embedded operating systems.”
Microsoft’s $5B Pledge
Microsoft in April pledged $5 billion in spending toward IoT and edge technologies over the next four years. That pledge came a week after a companywide reorganization announcement that prioritizes Microsoft’s cloud and edge products and services over Windows.
It has since moved on a number of IoT and edge fronts.
In September, Microsoft rolled out general availability of its overarching Azure IoT Central platform. That platform was initially launched as a preview late last year. The Azure IoT Central platform is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product that allows a customer to rapidly provision an IoT service.
Microsoft also added support for the use of digital twins on its Azure IoT platform. The model uses its Azure IoT Hub platform to connect IoT devices and sensors that keep the digital model up to date with the physical world.
Digital twins are software models of physical items. This allows for the ability to model and monitor a physical item in real-time without actually touching the current status of that item.
IDC predicts the IoT space will generate $772.5 billion in revenues this year, a 14.6 percent increase compared with 2017. Software is expected to be the fastest growing segment of the IoT space with a 16.1 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
“Software creates the foundation upon which IoT applications and use cases can be realized,” noted Carrier MacGillivray, VP of IoT and mobility at IDC.