Azure IoT Edge devices can now be nested to securely collect data across networks organized in hierarchical layers. Industrial customers commonly use layered networks to isolate and secure their most critical assets, as recommended by the ISA-95 standard. With this new IoT Edge capability, customers can quickly overcome the challenges of collecting data from each layer and gain local insights to help reduce unplanned downtime, increase equipment efficiency, and reduce product defects while fully complying with strict industry standards.
The ISA-95 automation standard is widely adopted across industrial control and automation systems within factories, oil refineries, mining sites, datacenters, power plants, and other types of industrial sites. However, it also makes acquiring data from these systems very challenging. Per the ISA-95 standard, these systems are protected by organizing network zones into hierarchical layers, where only the top layer has connectivity to the cloud and the lower layers in the hierarchy can only communicate with adjacent north and south layers. Building the capabilities from scratch to integrate the layers of the automation pyramid requires intense networking effort and expertise. Without this integrated connectivity at each layer, companies are unable to fully realize their vision of connecting the shop floor.
Figure 1 - Collect data across the automation pyramid with nested Azure IoT Edge devices
Starting with Azure IoT Edge 1.2, IoT Edge devices can now be nested so that industrial customers can easily deploy an IoT Edge device per layer, chain them, and securely extract data out from the automation pyramid and into the cloud. It provides a safe, secure, and open solution that fits into existing industrial networks without modifying their security rules. Azure IoT Edge 1.2 released public preview today.
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