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Amazon releases AWS Greengrass for local IoT processing on Linux devices

Jun 7, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 1,308 views
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Amazon released its AWS Lambda based “AWS Greengrass” IoT stack for Linux devices including the Raspberry Pi offers cloud sync and messaging while offline.

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) has launched AWS Greengrass software that enables AWS compute, messaging, data caching, and sync capabilities to run on connected devices such as IoT gateways. Designed for ARM and x86 based devices that run Linux, AWS Greengrass was released in a preview version back in December, and is now available in its first official release. Little seems to have changed since the December announcement, including the tiered pricing model, but Amazon now lists several specific pre-certified Linux boards (see farther below).



AWS IoT conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge)

AWS Greengrass avoids the need to program and update Internet of Things devices by allowing customers to use AWS Lambda to run code locally on connected devices in the same way they do on the AWS Cloud. With the local Greengrass Core stack, developers can add AWS Lambda functions to connected devices from the AWS Management Console.

The software provides for more autonomous, offline operation of devices without sacrificing latency, says Amazon. Greengrass enables embedded devices respond quickly to local events and operate with intermittent connections while reducing the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud.

Devices running the Linux-based Greengrass Core software can communicate with other devices that have the AWS IoT Device SDK installed, including microcontroller based devices or large appliances. These Greengrass Core connected devices can communicate with one another in a Greengrass Group. Even if the Greengrass Core device loses its cloud connection, the devices can continue to communicate with each other.

Because AWS Greengrass uses AWS Lambda programming models, customers can develop and test device software in the cloud before deploying it to devices. A CLI interface is also available.

More than a dozen AWS partners are integrating AWS Greengrass into their platforms, including Annapurna, BSquare, Canonical, Digi International, Intel, Lenovo, Mongoose, Qualcomm Technologies, Raspberry Pi Foundation, Samsung, Technicolor, and Wistron. Canonical is releasing the software as an Ubuntu snap package.

The press release linked to below includes testimonials from several customers that have been working with the preview version. These include Enel (power), Konecranes (shipyard cranes, etc.), Pentair (agricultural equipment), Rio Tinto (mining), and Stanley Black & Decker (smart tools).


DragonBoard 410C

AWS Greengrass Core can run on x86_64, Armv7, Aarch64 (ArmV8) architectures, and supports Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Jessie Kernel 4.1/4.4, and other Linux distributions with Kernel 4.4 or greater. The software is compatible with devices, including many Linux hacker boards, that meet or exceed the specs of the pre-certified products listed below:

“AWS Greengrass will enable more customers and developers to realize the benefit of processing and analyzing data at the edge,” stated Mike Bell, Executive Vice President, IoT and Devices at Canonical. “By distributing and installing AWS Greengrass as a snap, the universal Linux packaging format, developers can reduce the time and complexity of building smart edge solutions across new and existing hardware. Using snaps, manufacturers will not only find it easier to build IoT devices, but to monetize smart developer solutions running on the AWS IoT platform.”

 
Further information

AWS Greengrass is available now. Each AWS customer can connect up to three devices for one year at no charge. Beyond that, monthly costs for each device is $0.16 ($1.49 per year) for up to 10,000 devices. More information may be found on Amazon’s AWS Greengrass press release and product page.
 

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