If You're Building IoT Apps, You Need a Modern Platform. Here's a Closer Look at Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Microsoft Azure

April 25, 2018 Jeff Kelly

By this point, the potential value of the Internet of Things is pretty well understood. McKinsey forecasts the use of IoT services and applications will generate as much as $11 trillion in economic value by 2025. Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans summed up the market opportunity well in six simple words: “Every sensor creates a new business.”

But less well understood are the tools, technologies and architecture required to support a mature IoT business. A new white paper from Pivotal’s Colin Stevenson and Mike Lloyd fill in these gaps for enterprise IT practitioners. The paper, An Internet of Things Platform Powered by Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Microsoft Azure, succinctly lays out the technology and architectural requirements of an IoT platform environment (emphasis mine):

“Organizations without a solid foundation will find it difficult to build, iterate, operate and mobilize data-driven IoT applications. Organizations interested in true innovation need a platform to support continuous integration, continuous delivery, and automated deployment to exploit the opportunities presented by IoT.”

The white paper goes on to provide a detailed examination of the component parts of a viable IoT architecture. The most important ingredients? A cloud-native platform, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, running on modern public cloud infrastructure, in this case, Microsoft Azure

The reference architecture is based on real-world deployments. These enterprises have built new IoT businesses with PCF on Azure. The authors don’t skimp on the technical details. The crux of the paper is an insightful mapping of essential IoT capabilities to with the relevant PCF and Azure features and services.

Internet of Things on Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Microsoft Azure reference architecture.

Source: Pivotal

PCF and Azure for IoT: Better Together

As part of the reference architecture, Stevenson and Lloyd specifically call out areas where PCF and Azure services compliment one another. For example, a key requirement for an IoT platform is support for flexible, real-time data processing pipelines. You’ll also need backing stores to manage data ingress. 

Pivotal Cloud Foundry offers an elegant framework for this scenario with Spring Cloud Data Flow, or SCDF. With SCDF, developers can build microservices-based data pipelines with Spring Cloud Stream, using various Azure services, such as Cosmos DB, to store and manage the data.

API management is another important capability for IoT developers. Developers may wish to transform or process requests from edge devices before they reach an application running on the platform. In PCF, developers can use Route Services for this purpose. With PCF running on Azure, these capabilities are enhanced with Azure API Management. This way, developers can easily use  Azure API Management capabilities for their API-driven aps running on PCF.

That’s just a taste of what Stevenson and Lloyd provide in their white paper. Download the paper for free here to get their complete IoT reference architecture with Pivotal Cloud Foundry running on Microsoft Azure. You’ll learn the core components and integrations of the architecture and will leave ready to begin developing your own IoT platform.

About the Author

Jeff Kelly

Jeff Kelly is a Director of Partner Marketing at Pivotal Software. Prior to joining Pivotal, Jeff was the lead industry analyst covering Big Data analytics at Wikibon. Before that, Jeff covered enterprise software as a reporter and editor at TechTarget. He received his B.A. in American studies from Providence College and his M.A. in journalism from Northeastern University.

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