Microsoft enhances its Azure IoT Edge automatic deployments to boost efficiency

Microsoft released this week a set of enhancements to IoT Edge automatic deployments which include layered deployments, deploying marketplace modules from the Azure portal and other user interface updates, and module support for automatic device configurations.

Since releasing Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, Microsoft has seen users using IoT Edge automatic deployments to deploy workloads to the edge at scale. IoT Edge automatic deployments handle the heavy lifting of deploying modules to the relevant Azure IoT Edge devices and allow operators to keep a close eye on status to address any problems. 

Customers enjoy the benefits and given feedback on how to make automatic deployments even better through greater flexibility and seamless experiences. 

Layered deployments are a new type of IoT Edge automatic deployments that allow developers and operators to independently deploy subsets of modules. This avoids the need to create an automatic deployment for every combination of modules that may exist across the device fleet. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub evaluates all applicable layered deployments to determine the final set of modules for a given IoT Edge device. 

Layered deployments have the same basic components as any automatic deployment. They target devices based on tags in the device twins and provide the same functionality around labels, metrics, and status reporting. 

Layered deployments also have priorities assigned to them, but instead of using the priority to determine which deployment is applied to a device, the priority determines how multiple deployments are ranked on a device. For example, if two layered deployments have a module or a route with the same name, the layered deployment with the higher priority will be applied while the lower priority is overwritten.

An IoT Edge automatic deployment assigns IoT Edge module images to run as instances on a targeted set of IoT Edge devices. It works by configuring an IoT Edge deployment manifest to include a list of modules with the corresponding initialization parameters. A deployment can be assigned to a single device (based on Device ID) or to a group of devices (based on tags). 

Once an IoT Edge device receives a deployment manifest, it downloads and installs the container images from the respective container repositories, and configures them accordingly. Once a deployment is created, an operator can monitor the deployment status to see whether targeted devices are correctly configured.

With updates throughout the IoT Edge automatic deployments UI in the Azure portal. Users can now select modules from Microsoft Azure Marketplace from directly within the create deployment experience. The Azure Marketplace features many Azure IoT Edge modules built by Microsoft and partners.

Automatic device management in Azure IoT Hub automates many of the repetitive and complex tasks of managing large device fleets by using automatic device configurations to update and report status on device twin properties. 

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