Towards zero-touch IoT Edge with edgeAgent direct methods

The holy grail of IoT Edge compute is zero-touch configuration and monitoring.

If we look at the life cycle of an edge device, these are the phases where the device is rolled out to production:

The only time when we want to have a person near that edge device is during the initial deployment (Plan, Register), during decommission (Retire) and during physical changes or while repairing the device.

To make zero-touch possible we first need to have a secure cloud connection that supports both sending telemetry to the cloud and retrieving commands from the cloud. And that is supported by Azure IoT Edge by default.

But still, we also need a second communication channel to log-in remotely in a secure way. This is typically done by hand to look at local settings, to check logging, to check connections, or to make repairs to eg. the operating system or the Azure IoT Edge runtime. This could be done using SSH and/or a Remore Desktop connection (RDP). Because this is typically an outbound connection, this is usually provided using a ‘jump box’ or a VPN connection so the connection is set up in a more secure way.

As said, this is done by hand… so far for zero-touch.

Now, if we look at what tasks are performed on the IoT Edge device using an SSH connection:

  • Checking the log of running modules
  • Restarting modules if their performance is not thusted or to force picking up settings
  • Checking the cloud connectivity

What if exactly these three tasks could be performed from the cloud? What if these task could automated?

Let’s check this out.

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Upgrading your Azure IoT Edge device remotely to the latest release

Last week, the Microsoft Ignite event was hosted in Orlando. As with every Microsoft Event, a lot of new stuff is released by the Microsoft product teams.

The same goes for the IoT Edge runtime, the portal and the logic running on IoT Edge.

The IoT Edge runtime bumped up to version 1.0.2 and there are lots of new features introduced like extended offline operation and proxy support.

And there a lot of bugfixes which is always good 🙂

But the documentation considering the update of your gateways is a bit limited.

If I follow the update procedure, I have to update it on the machine itself.

Let’s check out how we update our runtime remotely.

Update: Microsoft released this document with more details after I wrote this blog. Some parts could be out-dated by now.

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