A comparative study of which cloud platforms support IoT

IoT Platform Comparison

The concept of an IoT platform can vary depending on who is going to use it. Hardware people will talk of embedded boards and for Cloud service providers, it is a reference to their platform. And that is something that is increasingly being sought out for the implementation of IoT across a spectrum of organizations.

Before we get into a comparison of the top three Cloud platforms that support IoT, here is a look at what your basic selection criteria for one needs to be.

Scalability: This is perhaps the biggest USP you need to look for. The support for millions of devices is a huge promise to make and there are very few who can live up to those promises. Currently, on an average, 35% of organizations with IoT deployments have less than 100 devices that are interconnected. Based on your need and the vision for the future, this is something to consider. And getting a platform that has you covered is essential, simply because handling a million devices is much more complicated than 100 and it reflects directly on your business and productivity.

Bandwidth: You need to understand the bandwidth of your Cloud platform to ensure that you have seamless connectivity on all devices. Most popular service providers run on public Cloud platforms and often it is the infrastructure that can be limiting.

Protocols: There are an increasing number of protocols in the IoT world and it is becoming important that Cloud platforms support the newer ones coming about. As your system evolves, your Cloud platform should too.

Security: Your Cloud platform needs to take security very seriously. Identity based authentication is a basic. Check on the capacity of the platform for SSL termination as well as various ciphers available and authentication ways.

Data Back-Up and Restoration: Check with your service provider on the data back-up provided and steps taken in the case of a downtime. Will your information have a private Cloud or will you be sharing infrastructure space with other clients.

These are some of the basic things to keep in mind when evaluating a potential Cloud platform for IoT. With that being said, here’s a comparative of three of the top service providers on broad parameters.

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Platform

Being the very first to turn Cloud computing into a commodity as far back as 2004, it is safe to say that AWS dominates the IoT platform market right now. With constant innovation on new features, they now have a comprehensive set of features to offer their consumers.

Pros

  • It ranks very high on the scalability factor and can be a platform that can support billions of devices in a network and seamlessly handle all the interactions that happen on it.
  • It has a smart pricing system based on messages that are sent and received through the platform. The charges are per million messages sent or received with no base fee. Messages to and from a significant number of allied services is free.
  • Probably the biggest advantage is that it comes with a software development kit that allows for the creation of organization specific applications that can be run on the platform.
  • Provides Cloud to device messaging.
  • Supports all protocols used often in IoT.

Cons

  • Everything comes at a price and this is perhaps the most expensive platform currently available.

Microsoft Azure IoT Hub

This platform comes with Cloud storage as well as machine learning and IoT based services. Microsoft as a brand has worked extensively to become a holistic IoT solutions provider.

Pros

  • They have developed a unique operating system for IoT devices.
  • Pricing is staggered into 4 tiers based on the amount of data generated from devices.
  • Its architecture allows for easy to create as well as implement solutions. It also provides the ability to possess deep analytical capabilities as well as make way for features that are IoT specific.
  • Includes a provision where you can have a gateway through your own data center.
  • Provides Cloud to device messaging.
  • Supports all protocols used often in IoT.
  • In-built components to support device level authentication and activation.

Cons

  • Pricing can get complicated once you cross your mandated free message a day and when you are trying to integrate with other Microsoft services.

Google Cloud Platform

Their claim to fame in the Cloud IoT Platform segment is that they bring in a history of web scanning processes, search capabilities, analytics and machine intelligence. It has its own operating system based on Android.

Pros

  • Speed is a key factor that is offered with this platform.
  • Google grade security is another offering which is based on Google’s private global fiber network.
  • Pricing is relatively cheaper than most, considering it is on a per minute basis.

Cons

  • While Google can host a range of generic applications as well as analytics, putting together everything on the platform requires a great deal of work, making its architecture not-so-friendly.
  • Does not offer you extensive tools and documentation, which can affect the way you use it.
  • Does not provide Cloud to device messaging.

This comparison of the top three IoT cloud platform support structures shows that Microsoft and Azure are way ahead in key sectors of scalability and integration. While Google has to its advantage, speed and security, it still needs a lot of work to be able to catch up with the other two in terms of features.

Read: A Comparison of the Top Machine Learning Platforms : Amazon, Azure, Google, IBM

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Author : Ruth Date : 22 Mar 2018