Deploy Prometheus container with Azure IoT Edge

Once you have set up your Azure IoT edge device and runtime, you want to make sure it keeps running as expected. So you need to start measuring how your device, your modules, and runtime are doing.

Microsoft provides built-in metrics for Azure IoT using endpoints on the EdgeHub and EdgeAgent exposing messages in the Prometheus format.

In a previous blog post, I showed how to access these endpoints and not to send messages containing this information to the cloud using a custom Azure IoT Edge metrics module.

Azure IoT Edge can deploy whatever Docker container you have. So, we can also use the original Prometheus service as a Docker container:

This way you can build a local dashboard using well-known tooling on the edge.

Let’s check out how this works.

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May 25-27: Build 2021 IoT related sessions

Microsoft Build 2021 is a virtual technology conference scheduled for May 25-27. Microsoft Build is designed mainly for developers who write and support applications for Microsoft Azure, Windows, SQL Server and other applications/software platforms from the company.

Because it’s an digital event (just like last year) registration is free.

Of course, there are also Internet of Things (IoT) related sessions.

Normally, most of these sessions (Except the RSVP ones where typically involve customer interaction) are recorded and available online for registered users. So, that is the second reason to register 🙂

Here is a list of what is scheduled right now regarding IoT:

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Azure IoT Edge UDP Client module

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written several blog posts about supporting protocols on Azure IoT Edge.

We have seen examples like Serial communication, Modbus TCP and RTU, OPC-UA, and WebSockets.

This time, a new protocol is added to this impressive list: User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Communication using UDP is fast and supports broadcasting to several IP addresses at once.

There are some disadvantages (it has no handshaking dialogues, and thus exposes the user’s program to any unreliability of the underlying network; there is no guarantee of delivery, ordering, or duplicate protection) but if you can cope with that at a higher level, UDP is a handy tool in your protocol toolbox.

In this blog post we will see how UDP messages can be received on the Edge with this demonstration IoT Edge module:

Because each UDP message is different (here we send text messages but this could also be binary values, depending on your challenges), this module is just a reference which explains how it works.

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Message enrichment for Azure IoT Edge modules

The Azure IoT Hub offers ingestion of D2C and D2C messages for thousands or more devices.

Incoming messages are routed to several endpoints (eg. Event Hub or Blob Storage) using internal IoT Hub routes:

Note: even messages sent to the Event Grid are also enriched.

The messages produced by devices look like these (image taken from the console output of the Microsoft temperature simulation):

Here, messages from the Microsoft temperature simulation module are sent to the cloud.

When these messages arrive in the IoT Hub, the fulll message format looks like this:

  "body": {
    "machine": {
      "temperature": 73.05171716227275,
      "pressure": 6.929942461524743
    "ambient": {
      "temperature": 20.795734739068774,
      "humidity": 26
    "timeCreated": "2021-05-10T11:51:42.1835163Z"
  "enqueuedTime": "Mon May 10 2021 13:51:42 GMT+0200 (Central European Summer Time)",
  "properties": {
    "sequenceNumber": "101",
    "batchId": "7f3f847f-c20c-49aa-af17-a22db31f244f"
  "systemProperties": {
    "iothub-connection-device-id": "simulation",
    "iothub-connection-module-id": "sim",
    "iothub-connection-auth-method": "{\"scope\":\"module\",\"type\":\"sas\",\"issuer\":\"iothub\",\"acceptingIpFilterRule\":null}",
    "iothub-connection-auth-generation-id": "637540164221770949",
    "iothub-enqueuedtime": 1620647502173,
    "iothub-message-source": "Telemetry",
    "x-opt-sequence-number": 13975,
    "x-opt-offset": "12885042704",
    "x-opt-enqueued-time": 1620647502314

As you can see, the messages are build up in three parts:

  1. The actual message body, generated by (your) logic in the device. This part could be encoded so only the receiver knows how to handle this. Normally this is a JSON message format, though.
  2. (Application) properties, message enrichment on the device to provide context about the messages. This acts as a property bag, also added by the developer. The values are directly accessible for routing purposes.
  3. System properties, added by the IoT Hub. This gives technical context about the incoming message from the perspective of the IoT Hub

So users can choose to add values in the body or to add values in the application properties.

Still, every byte put in the message sent by the device results in a longer transmit duration and extra costs (number of bytes communicated, potentially more message chunks handled by the IoT Hub).

So, values already found in the system properties (eg. the device name or module id) can be left out in the body. This results in a smaller message.

Microsoft also provides message enrichment on the IoT Hub. This can take away some of the pain too.

It also makes it possible to route messages further down the road in other Azure resources which receive these enriched messages.

Let’s check this out.

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How to cope in code with the quota limitation of an IoT Hub

In a previous blog, I showed how to make use of the Azure IoT Device SDK to send data to an Azure IoT Hub.

It is very simple to start with azure IoT making use of those SDKs using either C#, Embedded C, C, Java, NodeJS, Python, or ioS.

The only thing you have to take into account is the IoT Hub message quotas.

An S1 version is capable of receiving 400.000 D2C messages a day of size 4KB, the free tier F1 supports 8000 messages of size 0.5 KB.

Sending C2D messages and Device provisioning is also part of this amount.

Let’s take a further look at this limitation.

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