Microsoft released a Linux distro, Azure Sphere OS, that’ll run the Internet of Things devices. It is not a full-fledged Linux distribution but rather a paired down the modified kernel, a tiny OS.
Azure Sphere OS has been designed to run on a new class of microcontroller chips with limited resources. This explains why Microsoft went for Linux and not for Windows IoT devices.
As for device compatibility, starting from toys to smart home devices and even edge-based industrial machinery will find places to run Azure Sphere. The Microsoft-designed chips of the OS contain Wi-Fi connectivity, and manufacturers can receive them royalty-free.
Azure will not just remain as a simple OS to the IoT devices but will also ensure the lot’s security.
Unlike the RTOSes common to MCUs today, our defense-in-depth IoT OS offers multiple layers of security. It combines security innovations pioneered in Windows, a security monitor, and a custom Linux kernel to create a highly-secured software environment and a trustworthy platform for new IoT experiences. – Galen Hunt, partner MD at Microsoft Azure
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Azure Sphere Security Service of the OS will come in handy to provide the security solution. The aim is to improve security for “device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication through certificate-based authentication, detecting emerging security threats … through online failure reporting, and renewing security through software updates.”
Microsoft says that devices packing Azure Sphere can be used on public clouds other than Azure. This does not clarify whether these devices will get the support of Azure’s security service when they are using other clouds.
Azure Sphere OS is the first Linux product that Microsoft released to the public! Keep following us to know how it fairs initially on IoT devices.