Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Mano Marks, Jyoti Bansal, Liz McMillan, JP Morgenthal

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
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, covered the union between the two topics and why this is important. He provided an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then showed how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He ended the session with some interesting case study examples.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Microservices (μServices) are a fascinating evolution of the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) paradigm. Initial design of DOC attempted to solve the problem of simplifying developing complex distributed applications by applying object-oriented design principles to disparate components operating across networked infrastructure. In this model, DOC “hid” the complexity of making this work from the developer regardless of the deployment architecture through the use of complex frameworks, such as C...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International 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 developm...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Robert Doyle, lead architect at eCube Systems, will examine the issues and need for an agile infrastructure and show the advantages of capturing developer knowledge in an exportable file for migration into production. He will introduce the use of NXTmonitor, a next-generation DevOps tool that captures application environments, dependencies and start/stop procedures in a portable configuration file with an easy-to-use GUI. In addition to captur...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
Thanks to Docker and the DevOps revolution, microservices have emerged as the new way to build and deploy applications — and there are plenty of great reasons to embrace the microservices trend. If you are going to adopt microservices, you also have to understand that microservice architectures have many moving parts. When it comes to incident management, this presents an important difference between microservices and monolithic architectures. More moving parts mean more complexity to monitor an...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...