With Azure Sphere, Microsoft has introduced a hardware and software platform for the development of the Internet of Things devices. As the operating system, the Windows makers rely on Linux.

Azure Sphere is designed to provide developers with a simple and secure way to develop networked products for the smart home and industrial sectors. The core is supplied by Microsoft certified microcontrollers. The first chip of this type, the MT3620 from MediaTek, is expected to hit the market in 2018. The single-core ARM chip is clocked at 500 megahertz and has Wi-Fi support. Later, according to Microsoft, but also from other manufacturers to give appropriate microcontroller.

On the software side, Microsoft relies on a self-developed Linux distribution called Azure Sphere OS. The operating system will be released under an open source license and can, therefore, be used in combination with competing for cloud services such as AWS or Google Cloud. However, Microsoft should very clearly expect many potential customers to opt for the Azure cloud. As an incentive, Microsoft has introduced an Azure-based security solution that protects the IoT devices against possible attacks.

Azure Sphere Security Service: Microsoft wants to protect IoT devices

Microsoft describes the Azure Sphere (Provisions Link) security service as a turnkey cloud offering designed to protect Azure Sphere devices from attacks by providing certificate-based authentication and automated updates. In addition, attacks should be automatically detected and prevented if necessary. Device failures should also be reported to the cloud service.

Amazon’s cloud service AWS has also offered a similar solution since 2017. Instead of Linux, Amazon, however, relies on a customized version of the open-source operating system Freerto . Similar to Azure Sphere, Amazon offers certification of compatible microcontrollers and a cloud-based update feature.