As promised, Microsoft has launched its Azure Sphere hardware and service solution. The tool is designed to enhance security around Internet of Things (IoT) devices and has now left preview to general availability.
Azure Sphere is comprised of Microsoft microcontrollers alongside Sphere Linux-based OS and a Sphere cloud security service. Microcontrollers (MCUs) are small computers made of a single chip that have IoT capabilities with CPUs, storage, and memory.
Microsoft announced Sphere in 2018 and last October said the service would leave preview in February. Redmond has stuck to that launch schedule and confirmed the release today.
“IoT is in the science-fair stage. Every enterprise is doing at least one experiment here. But security is really keeping them from going to scale,” said Galen Hunt, a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and managing director of Azure Sphere.
In October 2018, Microsoft announced the MediaTek MT3620 as its first Azure Sphere chip. This chip is called Pluton and has a customized Linux kernel and secured app containers. With Pluton, Sphere provides a secure comms link between the device and a cloud platform backend.
Microsoft is helping to address one of the biggest concerns regarding IoT. Specifically, in a world of connected devices, how can they all be kept secure? Cars, household goods, electronics, lights, heaters, and even cities will be connected even though they all run MCUs. Azure Sphere provides a secure boot system with firmware and hardware protection.
“For IoT innovations to be reliable, they must be built on a foundation of security. Qualcomm Technologies will allow partners to innovate with the assurance that their products, customers, and brands are secured,” explained Hunt at the time.
Microsoft says the preview has been successful with customers leveraging Sphere in their products.