Last week, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure IoT Edge, the edge computing platform that has been in works for more than a year.
Out of the top 5 public cloud platforms – AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud and Alibaba Cloud – only Microsoft and Amazon have a sophisticated edge computing strategy. Other players are yet to figure out their story for edge computing.
Amazon’s edge platform is delivered through AWS Greengrass – a service that was announced at re:Invent event in 2016 and became generally available in June 2017. AWS recently added the ability to perform inferencing of machine learning models. It also started bundling AWS Greengrass in devices such as AWS DeepLens, a smart camera that can run neural nets at the edge.
Microsoft shipped Azure IoT Edge almost after a year of AWS Greengrass’ general availability. However, the wait has been absolutely worthwhile. Firstly, the market dynamics have evolved in the last year giving the team an opportunity to align with customer scenarios. Secondly, Microsoft got a chance to improvise its platform to make it better than the only other offering – AWS Greengrass.
The very first version of Azure IoT Edge seems to be comprehensive. Here are 5 reasons why I think Microsoft got its edge computing strategy right:
1. Open sourcing the platform
Azure IoT Edge is available as an open source project on Github.
Edge computing use cases are still evolving where customers are expected to use the platform in unique ways. To enable flexibility and openness, Microsoft has opened up the source code of its edge computing platform. Through this, customers will be able to customize their deployments based on Azure IoT Edge. Adding legacy protocols, integrating with existing asset management solutions, interoperability with proprietary communication protocols and data formats becomes possible through the customization of Azure IoT Edge source code.
Open sourcing edge is a brilliant move from Microsoft. It only increases the trust and confidence of customers.