Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Plutora Blog, Bart Copeland

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo

Mobile IoT: Article

Effectively Manage Embedded Solutions Remotely

Wherever there are embedded devices – embed management capabilities

To get through a long day at the office you grab a snack from the vending machine, which never seems to be out of your favorite item thanks to a network connection that sends inventory information and replenishment requests to the vending management company. After work, you call home and ask what to pick up for dinner, making the call using a Bluetooth connection between your cell phone and the communications system in your car. On the way home you stop at the grocery store to grab dinner and rent a DVD from a rental machine.

Transactions like these occur every day by people around the world thanks to embedded systems that run inside vending machines, gas pumps, kiosks, price checkers, retail point-of-sale stations and other devices within the retail, hospitality and financial sectors of the market. Embedded Systems can also be found in many household items including utility meters, appliances, security systems, set-top boxes like DVRs, and home electronics. There are even embedded systems in medical devices in hospitals and doctors' offices and in factories or industrial sectors as part of machine-to-machine (M2M) interfaces such as processing equipment, controllers, sensors and robotics/automation equipment.

Although embedded and remote devices are not always obvious, due to their behind-the-scenes role, they are becoming pervasive. There will be upwards of 400 million embedded devices and M2M connections by 2014. Last year, there were approximately 75 million embedded devices with cellular communication capability, but that's expected to triple to more than 2.2 billion by 2014. Along with this exponential growth, the number of M2M devices capable of 4G wireless communications is expected to grow from just 40,000 this year to 12.6 million in 2015.

Embedded Management Challenges
As the importance of embedded devices grows, so will the market, and along with it the need for effective remote device management solutions. Embedded devices need to be managed just like other IT assets, however, traditional enterprise IT management solutions are frequently not equipped to handle the challenges posed by embedded devices. This is because software residing on embedded devices must not only protect data, safeguard customer information and meet enterprise standards for network, device and data security, but it must also work to reduce, or eliminate, the occurrence of downtime.

Uptime is essential for embedded devices; this makes shutting them down for routine maintenance out of the question. Embedded systems are designed to run unattended, and are installed in equipment or locations that are far from the physical reach of those responsible for support and service.

Because of these challenges and characteristics, whenever and wherever embedded devices are used, remote management systems should be used along with them.

Implementation and Features
Since uptime is so important for embedded devices, and the devices may be hundreds of miles apart, monitoring and management features that help maintain uptime are extremely valuable. Below are the essential features and capabilities on how to remotely manage embedded devices.

Ability to Access the Device Remotely
Since it is not enough to just see what's happening within an embedded device, support staff also needs the ability to fix a problem. With remote access, administrators can perform troubleshooting without having to actually touch the device. Remote access minimizes downtime because it provides the centralized tools for faster problem resolution.

Two-Way Communication That Is Secure and Automated
Remote device management solutions with two-way communication are able to receive status reports, allowing them to utilize data and diagnostic information from embedded systems and then administer security updates, software patches and other changes. Two-way communication is a quintessential feature for proactive management because it alerts administrators to performance issues before actual problems occur.

Top-Level Security
Remote device management solutions are not only substitutes for building security safeguards into embedded devices, but should also augment and strengthen security. Embedded devices should have native protection to prevent hacking, secure data, and provide authentication for communication and data transfer. Device management solutions can enhance these protections by giving administrators the ability to remotely lock down devices, selectively or completely wipe data, block communications and data transfer, and otherwise disable the device.

Health Information from the Device
With device health updates, organizations can lengthen uptime by reducing the lag time between when a problem occurs and when it is discovered. Remote device management solutions automatically alert administrators when error messages are detected or when devices go offline, enabling issues to be identified and resolved quickly. The management system should also be able to collect, store, and report information about utilization and uptime, unauthorized access attempts and other historical data that can be used to help configure, manage, and secure the device.

Support for Multiple Platforms
Remote management solutions can add even more value by supporting various types of devices and being able to integrate with and complement existing enterprise management solutions. The management solution needn't be device specific; the same solution used to support embedded devices could also be used to manage other assets, such as smart phones, PDAs and handheld computers, kiosks, POS terminals, industrial controls. Device management solutions that support network standards; leading operating systems such Microsoft Windows Mobile, Microsoft Windows and Embedded CE; and multiple smart phone and device platforms provide value by enabling the organization to leverage its investment in management capabilities across multiple assets. The value of leveraging will increase, as organizations have to manage increasingly large and diverse populations of embedded, mobile and wireless devices. To further leverage legacy investments, the management solution for embedded devices should support and integrate with enterprise management solutions that may already be in place, such as Microsoft Configuration Manager 2007. Administrators do not want a separate management solution for each different type of device they need to support, so they should plan for the future by specifying management solutions that can support a heterogeneous environment.

Embedded devices are all around us, their capabilities are growing exponentially, and the installed base is projected to grow into tens of billions. The possibilities are exciting, but organizations need to be careful to ensure that as their population of embedded devices grows, they have the ability to manage them. Vending machines, kiosks, industrial controllers, and other embedded systems don't look like laptops or PDAs, but the principles and best practices for managing IT assets need to be applied to them. Wherever devices are embedded, remote management capabilities should be embedded with them so systems can be maintained reliably, efficiently, and securely.

More Stories By Mark Gentile

Mark Gentile is founder, president and CEO of Odyssey Software Inc, a pioneer in the mobile enterprise software market. He has led the design, development, and implementation of mobile enterprise solutions for many Fortune 500 companies across North America. Odyssey Software is the creator of Athena, the industry's premier enterprise-class mobile and embedded device management product for today’s most popular device platforms including the Windows Embedded CE operating system.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The causality question behind Conway’s Law is less about how changing software organizations can lead to better software, but rather how companies can best leverage changing technology in order to transform their organizations. Hints at how to answer this question surprisingly come from the world of devops – surprising because the focus of devops is ostensibly on building and deploying better software more quickly. Be that as it may, there’s no question that technology change is a primary fac...
Live Webinar with 451 Research Analyst Peter Christy. Join us on Wednesday July 22, 2015, at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET In a world where users are on the Internet and the applications are in the cloud, how do you maintain your historic SLA with your users? Peter Christy, Research Director, Networks at 451 Research, will discuss this new network paradigm, one in which there is no LAN and no WAN, and discuss what users and network administrators gain and give up when migrating to the agile world of clo...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
This week we're attending SYS-CON Event's DevOps Summit in New York City. It's a great conference and energy behind DevOps is enormous. Thousands of attendees from every company you can imagine are focused on automation, the challenges of DevOps, and how to bring greater agility to software delivery. But, even with the energy behind DevOps there's something missing from the movement. For all the talk of deployment automation, continuous integration, and cloud infrastructure I'm still not se...
I want to start by saying that, at ActiveState, we absolutely love Docker. We think it's phenomenal technology that is really becoming the global currency of the cloud. We've written about Docker a lot on the ActiveState blog – we've celebrated its birthday, discussed evolving technologies surrounding it, and shown how we've integrated Docker into Stackato. But, I wanted to share with you why we feel Docker alone is not enough for the enterprise. First, I'm going to discuss two underlying prob...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
SYS-CON Media announced today that CloudBees, the Jenkins Enterprise company, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON's DevOps Journal. CloudBees' campaigns focus on the business value of Continuous Delivery and how it has been recognized as a game changer for IT and is now a top priority for organizations, and the best ways to optimize Jenkins to ensure your continuous integration environment is optimally configured.
I recently attended and presented at the east coast version of the Jenkins User Conference held this year in Washington, DC. The weather certainly fit the theme of the conference: The heat was continuous. The humidity was fully integrated with the heat. And, most importantly as you can see above, SWAG was out in full force. Right from the opening keynote by the founder of Jenkins, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, this conference was jam-packed with all the latest capabilities of Jenkins, including discussi...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Jake Moshenko, Product Manager at CoreOS, examined how CoreOS + Quay.io fit into the development lifecycle from pushing gi...
One of the charter responsibilities of DevOps (because it's a charter responsibility of ops) is measuring and monitoring applications once they're in production. That means both performance and availability. Which means a lot more than folks might initially think because generally speaking what you measure and monitor is a bit different depending on whether you're looking at performance or availability*.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist of Cloud Services at VMware, reviewed the changes that the cloud computing industry has gone through over the last five years and shared insights into what the next five will bring. He also chronicled the challenges enterprise companies are facing as they move to the public cloud. He delved into the "Hybrid Cloud" space and explained why every CIO should consider ‘hybrid cloud' as part of their future strategy to achie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WHOA.com, an ISO 27001 Certified secure cloud computing company, participated as “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which took place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WHOA.com is a leader in next-generation, ISO 27001 Certified secure cloud solutions. WHOA.com offers a comprehensive portfolio of best-in-class cloud services for business including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Secure Cloud Desk...
One of the hottest new terms in the world of enterprise computing is the microservice. Starting with the seminal 2014 article by James Lewis and Martin Fowler of ThoughtWorks, microservices have taken on a life of their own – and as with any other overhyped term, they have generated their fair share of confusion as well. Perhaps the best definition of microservices comes from Janakiram MSV, Principal at Janakiram & Associates. “Microservices are fine-grained units of execution. They are designe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ ...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Demmer, VP of Engineering at Jut, will discuss how this can...