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  • 2 min read

Intelligent Edge support grows – Azure IoT Edge now available on virtual machines

Azure IoT Edge is supported on virtual machines, allowing customers to leverage existing infrastructure as part of a solution which spans the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure IoT Edge which enables customers to bring cloud intelligence to the edge and act immediately on real-time data, whether it be a drone recognizing a crack in a gas pipe or predicting equipment failure before it happens. Azure IoT Edge is built to be secure, portable, and open. The Azure IoT Edge runtime is open sourced on GitHub so you can easily modify code, and the open container approach allows you to deploy Microsoft and 3rd party services across a range of edge devices.

We’re committed to building an open, robust ecosystem and giving customers choices in deploying their edge solution. Today we’re announcing that Azure IoT Edge runs in a virtual machine (VM) using one of these supported operating systems. While this works for multiple virtualization technologies, VMware has simplified the deployment process of Azure IoT Edge to VMs using VMware vSphere. Additionally, vSphere 6.7 and later provide passthrough support for Trusted Platform Module (TPM), allowing Azure IoT Edge to maintain its industry leading security framework by leveraging the hardware root of trust.

Azure’s intelligent edge portfolio is designed to run on a breath of hardware to match our customers’ scenarios. This includes everything from microcontroller units (MCUs) running Azure Sphere to a fully consistent experience that is both cloud and edge, powered by Azure Stack. Azure IoT Edge already supports a variety of Linux and Windows operating systems as well as a spectrum of hardware from devices smaller than a Raspberry Pi to servers. Supporting IoT Edge in VMware vSphere offers even more customer choice for those who want to run AI on infrastructure they already own.

The hardware portfolio available to customers to power scenarios at the intelligent edge is almost as diverse as the sectors it’s being used in. We see customers building hybrid cloud and edge solutions in virtually every industry, and the hardware they choose for each is fit for purpose:

  • Home appliance makers can use Azure Sphere certified chips in their appliances to ensure operation is never compromised and customer data stays secure.
  • The oil and gas industry is optimizing production and performing predictive maintenance by processing rod pump data on site with Azure IoT Edge devices, smaller than a Raspberry Pi.
  • Utilities companies are autonomously inspecting pipelines and powerlines for defects through video analytics running on drones with Azure IoT Edge.
  • Textile producers are detecting weaving defects by adding industrialized PCs running Azure IoT Edge to their production lines.
  • Large retailers are optimizing their stores’ energy usage by analyzing HVAC data with Azure IoT Edge in a VM, running on existing servers in each retail store.
  • Electronic makers are implementing quality control and audit compliance scenarios with Azure Data Box Edge.
  • Healthcare networks are using Azure Stack to optimize stocking vaccines while complying with industry regulations around personally identifiable medical data.

Every company’s digital transformation is unique. Some scenarios can be accomplished primarily in the cloud, while a number of use cases require high value cloud services to be free from data centers and run adjacent to, or actually on, the devices creating data. Azure provides the most secure, scalable, and flexible options, regardless your company’s hybrid cloud and edge needs.