Internet of Things

IoT is not all about Cloud

October 15, 2017 Cloud Computing, Connected, Connectivity, Emerging Technologies, Internet of Things, IoT, Machines No comments

Recent past, I had multiple discussions with many tech forums and many people have a misconception about IoT and Cloud. Some think whenever we do something like blinking an LED with Raspberry Pi or Arduino is IoT.

I just thought of sharing some of my viewpoints on these terminologies.

  • Internet of Things(IoT) – refers to the connection of devices (other than the usual examples such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, Home and Kitchen appliances, Industrial devices, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT.
  • Cloud Computing – often called simply “the cloud,” involves delivering data, applications, photos, videos, and more over the Internet to data centers.

We can break down cloud computing into six different categories:

  1. Software as a service (SaaS): Cloud-based applications run on computers off-site (or “in the cloud”). Other people or companies own and operate these devices, which connect to users’ computers, typically through a web browser.
  2. Platform as a service (PaaS): Here, the cloud houses everything necessary to build and deliver cloud-based applications. This removes the need to purchase and maintain hardware, software, hosting, and more.
  3. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS provides companies with servers, storage, networking, and data centers on a per-use basis.
  4. Public Cloud: Companies own and operate these spaces and provide quick access to users over a public network.Example: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure etc.
  5. Private Cloud: Similar to a public cloud, except only one entity (user, organization, company, etc.) has access. Means the access to the cloud is secured and isolated, only organizational entities have access to this type of cloud resources. A private cloud is owned by a single organization. Private clouds enable an organization to use cloud computing technology as a means of centralizing access to IT resources by different parts, locations, or departments of the organization. When a private cloud exists as a controlled environment within Onpremise data centers.
  6. Hybrid Cloud: Takes the foundation of a private cloud but provides public cloud access. This combination would be established through a secure high-speed VPN tunnel over MPLS or other dedicated lines or extended connectivity gateways provided by the respective cloud vendor. In this mode, your on-premise applications can connect to cloud infrastructure and vice versa. This provides you the flexibility to host your missing critical information in on-premise itself, but also provides you the flexibility to utilize the cloud power, without compromising your organization’s critical data.

Role of Cloud in IoT

Cloud is simply an enabler for IoT. It provides necessary services and infrastructure for things to be interconnected and operate.

Cloud provides all the essential services to increases efficiency in implementing your IoT solutions, accumulate and operate on IoT data. Internet of things requires Cloud to work, I would better define it as Cloud and IoT are inseparable, but IoT is not all about Cloud.

For example, millions of devices connected in an IoT ecosystem would create millions of bytes of data, and you would need sufficient infrastructure to store and operate on these data to create a meaningful result out of it.

Cloud Service providers started realizing the need of providing IoT specific services to customers to quickly enable to create Fast to market solutions. That’s where Cloud and IoT converges. Microsoft has packages all IoT related components into Azure IoT and hence Amazon AWS IoT, similarly the remaining providers such as SAP Hana, IBM Cloud etc. This helps customers from picking necessary components and build their IoT ecosystem in Cloud, or utilize the predefined(SaaS) solutions for quick enablement.

What is the role of Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Dragon board then?

These are single board computer or hardware boards(CPUs) or Microcontroller boards that have sufficient hardware capacity to run a small/complex IoT program on an operating system of your choice.

These boards are typically equipped with your basic storage and computing needs for establishing an IoT device or edge capability. You can write a program of your choice to blink an LED based on your conditions, as they are equipped with digital/analog I/O ports. You can choose from wide variety of operating systems such as Raspebian, Windows 10IoT etc to install on these devices or deploy microcontroller programs depending on the capacity.

This means they are edge devices which you can program for your IoT use case. When deployed to the field together, they would create an IoT network.

Conclusion:

Enough said, IoT is not all about the cloud, but are inseparable in a modern world and whatever you are doing with RaspeberryPi, Arduino Uno etc may not be an IoT unless there are a specific IoT use cases you are not trying to solve using these devices.

Useful References:

Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science

June 3, 2017 Analytics, Azure, Big Data, Big Data Analytics, Certification, Data Analytics, Data Science, Data Scientist, Emerging Technologies, Internet of Things, IoT, KnowledgeBase, Machine Learning(ML), Microsoft No comments

Microsoft has come up with a new program to bring in more skilled people to the field of Data Science by providing them the right training on right set of tools.

Microsoft has put together a curriculum  to teach key functional and technical skills, combining highly rated online courses with hands-on labs, concluding in a final capstone project. All these trainings will be delivered by Microsoft either online or through recorded sessions.

The program comprises of  10 COURSES, 16-32 HOURS PER COURSE,  8 SKILLS

The technology skills you will gain through are: T-SQL, Microsoft Excel, PowerBI, Python, R, Azure Machine Learning, HDInsight, Spark.

ENROLL NOW: through this link

Course schedule:
For exact dates for the course, please refer to the course detail page on edX.org.

For more details on this program: https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/professional-program/data-science/ 

** This course would provide necessary insight to write Microsoft’s new Certification – Microsoft Certified Solution Associate(MCSA) – Machine Learning.

Happy Learning!!

Introduction to Data Science

June 3, 2017 Analytics, Big Data, Big Data Analytics, Big Data Management, Cloud Computing, Cold Path Analytics, Data Analytics, Data Collection, Data Hubs, Data Science, Data Scientist, Edge Analytics, Emerging Technologies, Hot Path Analytics, Human Computer Interation, Hype vs. reality, Industrial Automation, Internet of Nano Things, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT Devices, Keyword Analysis, KnowledgeBase, Machine Learning(ML), machine-to-machine (M2M), Machines, Predictive Analytics, Predictive Maintenance, Realtime Analytics, Robotics, Sentiment Analytics, Stream Analytics No comments

We all have been hearing the term Data Science and Data Scientist occupation become more popular these days. I thought of sharing some light into this specific area of science, that may seem interesting for rightly skilled readers of my blog. 

Data Science is one of the hottest topics on the Computer and Internet  nowadays. People/Corporations have gathered data from applications and systems/devices until today and now is the time to analyze them. The world wide adoption of Internet of Things has also added more scope analyzing and operating on the huge data being accumulated from these devices near real-time.

As per the standard Wikipedia definition goes Data science, also known as data-driven science, is an interdisciplinary field about scientific methods, processes and systems to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms, either structured or unstructured, similar to data mining.”.

Data Science requires the following skillset:

  • Hacking Skills
  • Mathematics and Statistical Knowledge
  • Substantive Scientific Expertise

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[Image Source: From this article by Berkeley Science Review.]

Data Science Process:

Data Science process involves collecting row data, processing data, cleaning data, data analysis using models/algorithms and visualizes them for presentational approaches.  This process is explained through a visual diagram from Wikipedia.

Data_visualization_process_v1

[Data science process flowchart, source wikipedia]

Who are Data Scientist?

Data scientists use their data and analytical ability to find and interpret rich data sources; manage large amounts of data despite hardware, software, and bandwidth constraints; merge data sources; ensure consistency of datasets; create visualizations to aid in understanding data; build mathematical models using the data; and present and communicate the data insights/findings.

They are often expected to produce answers in days rather than months, work by exploratory analysis and rapid iteration, and to produce and present results with dashboards (displays of current values) rather than papers/reports, as statisticians normally do.

Importance of Data Science and Data Scientist:

“This hot new field promises to revolutionize industries from business to government, health care to academia.”

The New York Times

Data Scientist is the sexiest job in the 21st century as per Harward Business Review.

McKinsey & Company projecting a global excess demand of 1.5 million new data scientists.

What are the skills required for a Data Scientist, let me share you a visualization through a Brain dump.

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I thought of sharing an image to take you through the essential skill requirements for a Modern Data Scientist.

So what are you waiting for?, if you are rightly skilled get yourselves an Data Science Course.

Informational  Sources:

Azure in Germany–a complete EU cloud computing solution

May 18, 2017 .NET, Analytics, AppFabric, Azure, Azure in Germany, Azure IoT Suite, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services, Cloud Strategy, Cognitive Services, Computing, Data Analytics, Data Governance, Data Hubs, Data Warehouse, Emerging Technologies, Event Hubs, IaaS, Intelligent Edge, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT Central, IoT Hub, Machine Learning(ML), Media Services, Media Services & CDN, Messaging, Microsoft, Mobile Services, PaaS, SaaS, SQL Azure, Storage, Backup & Recovery, Stream Analytics, Virtual Machines, Windowz Azure No comments

With my earlier article Azure in China, it came in to my interest to look for any other country/region specific independent cloud data center requirements.  I came across Azure for US Govt(Similar to Amazon Govt Cloud) instance and Azure Germany data center.  For this article context I will be covering only Azure in Germany.

What is Azure Germany?

Just like regional regulatory requirements in China, Germany also wanted a completely locally owned/managed Azure Data Center for EU/EFTA/UK requirements. This is also to ensure stricter access control and data access policy measurements. This  approach is to enable organizations doing business in EU/EFTA and UK can better harness the power of cloud computing.

  • All customer data and related applications and hardware reside in Germany
  • Geo-replication between datacenters in Germany to support  business continuity
  • Highly secured datacenters provide 24×7 monitoring
  • It meets all Public sector or restricted industry requirements
  • Follows all Compliance requirements for EU/EFTA and UK.
  • Lower cost, locally accessible  within your business locations in Germany/EU.

“ Azure Germany is an isolated Azure instance in Germany, independent from other public clouds.”

Who controls it?

An independent data trustee controls access to all customer data in the Azure Germany datacenters. T-Systems International GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom and an experienced, well-respected IT provider incorporated in Germany, serves as trustee, protecting disclosure of data to third parties except as the customer directs or as required by German law.

** Even Microsoft does not have access to customer data or the datacenters without approval from and supervision by the German data trustee.

What Compliance?

Azure Germany has an ongoing commitment to maintaining the strictest data protection measures, so organizations can store and manage customer data in compliance with applicable German laws and regulations, as well as key international standards. Additional compliance standards and controls that address the unique role of the German data trustee will be audited over time. Refer to: Microsoft Trust Center compliance.

[Source : Microsoft Azure]

Useful Links:

IoT Central–Microsoft’s SaaS solution for IoT

April 25, 2017 AMQP, Analytics, Azure, Azure IoT Suite, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services, Cloud to Device, Communication Protocols, Connected, Connectivity, Device to Cloud, Emerging Technologies, HTTP 1.1, Identity of Things (IDoT), Intelligent Cloud, Intelligent Edge, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT Central, IoT Devices, IoT Edge, IoT Hub, IoT Privacy, IoT Security, Machines, MQTT, PaaS, SaaS, Stream Analytics No comments

Microsoft has today released their IoT SaaS offering for customers and partners called as “Microsoft IoT Central”.  IoT Central enables powerful IoT scenarios without requiring cloud solution expertise and also simplifies the development process and makes customers to make quick time to market solutions, making digital transformation more accessible to everyone without overhead of implement solutions end to end.

As per Microsoft :

“IoT Central provides an easier way to create connected products that propel digital business. Take the complexity out of the Internet of Things (IoT) with a true, end-to-end IoT software as a service (SaaS) solution in the cloud that helps you build, use, and maintain smart products.”

Benefits of IoT Central:

  • Proven platform and technology with enterprise grade security.
  • Reduced complexities of setting up and maintaining IoT infrastructure and solutions.
  • Building smart connected products with lesser cost  and lesser overhead would ensure higher customer satisfaction.
  • Quickly adapt to changing environments.

For those would need control on implementing end to end can still choose the PaaS solution Azure IoT Suite.

Below is a picture from @JanakiramMSV’s article from forbes.com, to help you have a high level look at all the IoT offerings from Microsoft.

az-iot

Sources:

IoT Security–Essentials–Part 01

February 1, 2017 Cloud to Device, Communication Protocols, Connected, Connectivity, Contrained Networks/Devices, Device to Cloud, Geolocation, Identity of Things (IDoT), Internet Appliance, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT Privacy, IoT Security, machine-to-machine (M2M), Machines, Tech-Trends No comments , , , , ,

Security(Cyber Security) is an essential requirement for any IoT platform or devices or end users and the communication infrastructure.  In order to achieve or design best possible security solutions,  to avoid some external entity or hacker gaining access to your IoT device or infrastructure, every architect or system designer should do Threat Modeling exercise.  As the system is designed and architected, we can minimize the exposure to external threats to our IoT architecture.

With this article I am trying to provide you relevant bits and pieces essential for your understanding:

What is Cyber Security?

As per WhatIs.com – “Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cybersecurity and physical security.”

To make it more clear and simpler – Cyber Security also known as Computer security, or IT security, is the protection of computer systems from the theft or damage to their hardware, software or information, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Cyber security includes controlling physical access to the hardware, as well as protecting against harm that may come via network access, data and code injection.

What is Threat Modeling?

The objective of threat modeling is to understand how an attacker might be able to compromise a system and then make sure appropriate mitigations are in place. Threat modeling forces the design team to consider mitigations as the system is designed rather than after a system is deployed. This fact is critically important, because retrofitting security defenses to a myriad of devices in the field is infeasible, error prone and will leave customers at risk.

[Content courtesy:  Microsoft]

In order to optimize security best practices, it is recommended that a proposed IoT architecture be divided into several component/zones as part of the threat modeling exercise.

Relevant Important  Zones  for an IoT architecture  :

  • Device,
  • Field Gateway,
  • Cloud gateways, and
  • Services.

Each zone is separated by a Trust Boundary, which is noted as the dotted red line in the diagram below. It represents a transition of data/information from one source to another. During this transition, the data/information could be subject to Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information Disclosure, Denial of Service and Elevation of Privilege (STRIDE).

[Content courtesy:  Microsoft]

This diagram like below provides a full 360 view you any proposed solution:

iot-security-architecture-fig1

Summary of important Sections/Zones:

  1. The Device Zonerepresents a thing or device where device to device or local user physical access is possible.
  2. The Field Gateway Zone –  Field gateway is a device/appliance (Embedded/Hardware) or some general-purpose software that runs on a Physical Server, and acts as communication enabler and potentially, as a device control system and device data processing hub.
  3. The Cloud Gateway ZoneCloud gateway is a system that enables remote communication from and to devices or field gateways from several different sites across public network space, typically towards a cloud-based control and data analysis system, a federation of such systems.
  4. The Services Zone –  A “service” is  any software component or module that is interfacing with devices through a field- or cloud gateway for data collection and analysis, as well as for command and control. Services are mediators.

Once we identified threat boundaries we should be able to provide fail safe security measures each associated zones, to meet the business needs and global information exchange and data compliance  standards.  It is also important to design the product from the start with security in mind because understanding how an attacker might be able to compromise a system helps make sure appropriate mitigations are in place from the beginning.

In next session, we will go through Microsoft’s IoT Reference architecture and associated security measures been put together across each zones. 

Additional Resources: