Microsoft Shows Off Automated IoT Device Configuration Service

Microsoft is removing the tedium of manually configuring IoT devices with an automated service that can be used to provision millions of devices.

Azure IoT Connections

It looks like Microsoft Wants to implement a plug and play process for internet of things devices.

Microsoft wants to speed IoT deployments for its customers with a new cloud offering called Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service that automates device connections and enables "zero-touch device provisioning" for even millions of devices. Microsoft claims this cloud service is the first of its kind to register IoT devices and configure them with minimal user intervention.

Linking a handful of sensors or smart devices to Azure IoT Hub, Microsoft's IoT device connection and management service, can be accomplished manually, acknowledged Sam George, partner Director of Azure Internet of Things at Microsoft in a Sept. 6 announcement. Each device has a unique identity that allows operators and device manufacturers to revoke access to compromised units, requiring that administrators set connection credentials for each and every one.

At scale, the sheer number of "things" in an enterprise IoT deployment makes managing the process of configuring software and applying firmware updates by hand a monumental challenge.

George asserted in the announcement that the new offering "saves customers a lot of time, helping get devices configured automatically during registration to IoT Hub." The Device Provisioning Service "contains all the information needed to provision a device and the information can easily be updated later in the supply chain without having to unbox and re-flash the device," he stated.

A preview of the Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service is available in some Azure regions in the U.S., Western Europe and Southeast Asia, with global availability to follow. More information is available in this blog post.

Also on Sept. 6, Microsoft announced that Azure App Service has been made generally available on Linux along with a new Web App for Containers feature that offers container image support for ASP.NET Core, Node.js, PHP and Ruby. Developers can also use their own Docker container images that support Go, Java, Python and other languages.

Azure App Service is Microsoft's cloud-based application hosting solution, that allows developers to build and deploy web and mobile apps. In this latest release, developers can push containerized applications into production in mere seconds using Web App for Containers' automated deployment and infrastructure provisioning capabilities, claimed Nir Mashkowski, partner director of Program Management at Microsoft Azure App Service, in this blog post on the technology.

Microsoft also launched a new program that will allow customers to take its globe-spanning Cosmos DB cloud database for a spin for free. Cosmos DB, formerly the Azure DocumentDB NoSQL service, is a globally distributed database that supports multiple data models and query APIs (application programming interfaces).

"We want to make it easy for developers to evaluate Azure Cosmos DB, build and test their app against Azure Cosmos DB, do a hands-on-lab, a tutorial, create a demo or perform unit testing without incurring any costs," said Rimma Nehme, an Azure Cosmos DB and Open Source Software Analytics architect at Microsoft, in a Sept. 8 advisory. 

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...