In a recent VDC View that is now available for public download, we compared and contrasted the two recently-launched IoT offerings from Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure: AWS IoT and Azure IoT Hub.
Exhibit 1: AWS IoT Architecture
Source: Based on AWS IoT Developer Guide
Amazon announced its AWS IoT platform in October 2015. AWS IoT is aimed at addressing the needs of IoT-focused organizations with large networks of low-power, intelligent nodes. Accordingly, AWS IoT natively supports MQTT and HTTP/REST. Rather than a conventional telemetry (uni-directional) service, AWS IoT allows for bi-directional communication between nodes and applications through a rules engine. The platform makes heavy use of the Thing Shadow concept, where it uses Shadows as an intermediary “mailbox” where instructions and states can be stored and pushed both up and down the stack.
Exhibit 2: Azure IoT Hub Architecture
Source: Microsoft Azure IoT Reference Architecture
Microsoft announced its Azure IoT Hub in October 2015, as an integral part of its recently-launched Azure IoT Suite. The IoT Hub supports AMQP, MQTT, and HTTP protocols. While AWS IoT touts Shadows as an important and somewhat indispensible feature, Microsoft notes that its equivalent -- the device state store -- is optional, and that simple IoT communication implementations can write operational device data straight to storage without using it for direct monitoring or control purposes.
AWS IoT and Azure IoT Hub both serve the same basic IoT function – message routing and rules engine as a service – and both sit at the mouth of their respective service suites. Where these intelligent message routing services differ is in their pricing, security, and flexibility. We investigate and compare these crucial components of the leading IoT messaging services in greater detail in our whitepaper entitled: Amazon AWS & Microsoft Azure IoT Deep Dive. Download the full whitepaper here.