HPE Aruba, Microsoft Azure, and reelyActive speed streaming of IoT data to the cloud

Aruba IoT Transport for Azure is a service that converts multiple types of IoT data into formats that are compatible with applications in the Azure cloud.

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Aruba Networks, Microsoft Azure and open-source vendor reelyActive have teamed-up to make it easier to bring IoT device data to cloud applications.

The package, Aruba IoT Transport for Azure, brings together three separate components to make it work:

  • Aruba Access points that incorporate both Wi-Fi and IoT radios to serve mobile connectivity, connect to IoT devices, and function as embedded IT-to-IoT gateways simultaneously and securely.
  • HPE Aruba Networking IoT Transport for Azure service that encodes IoT-device data streamed through the access points into a format compatible with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, which centrally ingests, provisions, and manages device data.
  • reelyActive Pareto Anywhere for Microsoft Azure a new free open-source converter that reformats IoT data and units of measurement such as temperature and power into a universal format compatible with Microsoft analytics, Power BI and other Azure applications. The tool abstracts the original data format so that the data seen by applications are intelligible, consistent streams of immediately consumable data in recognizable units of measurement. Azure applications can directly consume data from a heterogeneous mix of BLE, 800MHz and 900MHz EnOcean specialized IoT devices that plug into the USB port on HPE Aruba Networking access points without a dedicated on-premises gateway.

In a nutshell, reelyActive’s open-source data converter lets IoT device data stream securely from Aruba Wi-Fi access points to the Microsoft Azure cloud where Microsoft applications such as Power BI and third-party applications can utilize the data.  

“The access points apply modern cybersecurity technology to protect both IT and IoT data, and their activity is visible to IT management tools and third-party security applications. Only authorized IoT devices can exchange data with the access points, and devices interfaced via the access point’s USB port have no access to the access point’s operating system or compute resources,” wrote Michael Tennefoss, vice president of IoT and Strategic Partnerships with Aruba in a blog about the news

“IoT data are sent over secure tunnels directly to the Azure IoT Hub and segregated from all other traffic carried by the access point. Secure tunneling protects data from legacy IoT devices that lack encryption, certificate-based authentication, and other modern cybersecurity mechanisms,” Tennefoss stated.

Moving IoT workloads to the cloud, and securely exchanging data between cloud IoT services and both legacy and new IoT devices, can entail months of custom engineering, according Tennefoss. Most IoT vendors send sensor and actuator data in non-interoperable or proprietary formats that must be reformatted to make them usable by cloud applications. Replacing legacy devices with new ones is cost prohibitive, while the engineering work to make IoT data payloads usable can be significant, Tennefoss wrote.

“Additionally, legacy IoT devices lack modern cybersecurity mechanisms and cloud-compatible software stacks,” Tennefoss wrote. “Finally, gateways that incorporate cellular or other wide-area links can provide a backdoor into on-premises IoT and IT networks. For these reasons, many Chief Information Security Officers do not permit dedicated IoT gateways on corporate networks.”

The new service promises to address those concerns and reduce the time to migrate IoT workloads to the cloud to less than 60 minutes versus three to sis months using conventional methods, he said.

“The beauty of the design is that customers can send BLE, EnOcean Alliance, and similar data from legacy or new IoT devices directly to Azure, without adding any gateway hardware or parallel network infrastructure,” Tennefoss wrote. “If business needs change tomorrow, or next year, then new IoT devices can be incorporated, additively, without ripping or replacing any IT infrastructure.”

The Aruba IoT Transport for Azure package is available now.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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