Build IoT solutions for the most demanding environments
Published May 26 2020 08:00 AM 5,510 Views

Last year Microsoft acquired one of the most deployed RTOS products in the market, proven across a vast range of industries and use cases – from mobile phones and fitness trackers, to security systems and spacecraft. Azure RTOS ThreadX has been deployed to more than 6.2 billion devices and is integrated with an extensive set of middleware that makes it easy to add networking, file systems, USB, and GUIs. It is part of a full embedded development suite now known as Azure RTOS. 


So why would you use a real-time operating system (RTOS)?  Delivering quality devices takes significant time and specialized expertise – from design and manufacturing to service and operations. When an application requires fast, reliable, real-time performance from a device that has limited memory and power resources – the task is even more challenging. Add on top of that a level of security that protects your customers and your business from external threats, and you’d better have in-house experts who can quickly monitor, respond, and remediate. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that hard. An RTOS helps embedded developers ensure that their devices and equipment quickly and reliably respond to specific actions. An RTOS is valuable for everything from high-value industrial applications to inexpensive consumer devices, and are ideal for devices like microcontrollers with a single processing core.  


High-end, or hard, real-time systems provide deterministic performance, guaranteed to perform within a certain margin of error with worst case response times in the tens of microseconds. A best-in-class RTOS also provides built-in tools to protect shared memory and power resources, integrated components to accelerate software development, and capabilities to keep the equipment secure. All of this with just 2 KB of flash memory and 1 KB of RAM. 


The leading RTOS is now even more accessible

To make IoT development easier and help you get to market even faster, we have made the complete source code for the Azure RTOS embedded development suite – including code for the leading real-time-operating system, Azure RTOS ThreadX –available on GitHub to freely explore, develop, test, and adapt to suit their needs. when we announced the General Availability of Azure RTOS at Build 2020 last week. We also made several improvements to Azure RTOS to help you build high-performing devices that seamlessly connect to the power of Azure.


The repository also includes easy-to-use reference projects and templates for connectivity to Azure IoT Hub, Azure IoT Central, Azure IoT Edge gateways and Azure Security Center for IoT. When developers are ready to take their code into production, the production license will be included automatically if they deploy on any of the supported MCU devices from our industry-leading partners. A list of pre-licensed devices is available on GitHub. Whether your devices will be connected to the internet or not, Azure RTOS adds ultra-fast, reliable performance and enables you to connect your IoT solutions to the power of Azure IoT whenever you’re ready.


Protecting Azure RTOS against IP risks with Azure IP Advantage

Azure RTOS is also part of the Azure IP Advantage program. This program provides the industry’s most comprehensive protection against intellectual property (IP) risks and protects your innovation in the cloud and on the Internet of Things to reduce risk, allowing organizations to innovate with confidence, and operate with freedom in the cloud.


Building IoT solutions for the most demanding environments — IoT safety and security

In many cases, industrial applications require compliance with safety and reliability standards to protect people and the environment.  Reliable, real-time performance is especially critical for systems involving human transport, medical monitoring, and industrial operations that could release hazardous materials or pose potential safety risk. Regulatory authorities pre-certify software to help ensure that it won’t become unavailable due to reduced quality or system inefficiency. Starting by the end of 2020, we will offer an add-on industrial certification package to help developers get to market faster. This package includes formal reports of test results from internationally recognized organizations, certifying that the code behind Azure RTOS components has met rigorous industrial functional safety standards. 


While “safety” typically involves situations where accidents are less likely to be caused deliberately, “security” deals with malicious intentions and threats that evolve over time. Having a strategy for both is important. Security is essential to the safe and reliable operation of modern industrial processes.  An effective program should apply a strategy known as “defense-in-depth,” layering security mechanisms such that the impact of a failure in any one mechanism is minimized. We offer several ways to help you keep your solutions secure. 


Azure Sphere and Azure RTOS together enable high-performing, highly-secured IoT devices. Azure Sphere uses a combination of certified chips, operating system software, and a cloud service through which ongoing security is delivered to actively protect your devices. It helps devices stay protected long-term, providing you with software updates, error reporting, and Microsoft support for more than a decade. 


See Azure RTOS and Azure Sphere in action:  

  • blood pressure monitor for remote patient monitoring video
  • demo on IoT Show



In addition, a public preview integration of Azure Security Center for IoT with Azure RTOS was made available in Q1 2020 with the general availability expected to be announced in H2 2020.  The integration of Azure Security Center for IoT with Azure RTOS provides a built-in security module that will cover common threats on real-time operating system devices. It includes detection of malicious network activities, device behavior baselining based on custom alerts, and recommendations that will help to improve the security hygiene of the device. Whether you are using Azure RTOS in combination with Azure Sphere or not, Azure Security Center or IoT provides an additional layer of security that is built right into the RTOS by default. A 30-day trial of Azure Security Center or IoT is included with Azure RTOS at no cost.


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‎May 26 2020 11:47 AM
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