How to create an IoT Hub in Microsoft Azure

Successfully managing hundreds or more interconnected IoT devices requires a specific type of cloud-based solution.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most powerful and persistent technological trends in business and shows no signs of slowing. It has become an integral part of the information technology infrastructure for many business organizations. Many more business enterprises are planning to apply the technology to their operations in the near future.

Managing all the devices, sensors, and edge computers that make up business IoT networks requires a sophisticated provisioning and authentication system. For safety's sake, billions of new devices connected to internal networks, and by extension the internet, must be verified, managed, and controlled. This is where tools like the Microsoft Azure IoT Hub come into play.

The Azure IoT Hub establishes a cloud-based central location where all IoT devices in an organization can be provisioned, authenticated, and deployed. This how-to tutorial shows how to set up a basic IoT Hub using the Azure Portal.

SEE: IoT security: A guide for IT leaders (Tech Pro Research)

Create an IoT Hub in Microsoft Azure

To start the process, log on to Microsoft Azure with administrative credentials, and then list all of the available applications. Navigate to the entry for IoT Hub under the Internet of Things section and click the link. You should see a page like Figure A.

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Figure A

Click the Add+ button to start the creation process. Under the Basics tab (Figure B), you will select the applicable subscription plan, resource group, and region. You will also be asked to give your IoT Hub a unique name.

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Figure B

At this point, you can click the Review + Create button from the Basic tab and trust in the default settings, but it would be more prudent to examine those settings by clicking the Size and Scale tab instead (Figure C).

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Figure C

The first box on this page asks you to specify a pricing and scale tier. The Azure IoT Hub offers two distinct pricing tiers: Standard and basic.

  • Standard - The standard tier offers the most complete set of features, including bi-directional communication, which works best for IoT situations that include edge processing of data, as well as data collection.
  • Basic - The basic tier offers a more limited set of features and is best for situations requiring uni-directional communications from IoT devices to the cloud.

There is also a free tier available for testing purposes. The tier you choose determines how much you are billed per month per transaction.

The next setting is a slider control that determines how many transactions your IoT Hub will be scaled to handle on a daily basis. For the free tier (Figure D), the limit is 8,000 messages per day.

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Figure D

For the standard tier, set to its absolute maximum (Figure E), the daily message limit is 80 million at an estimated cost of $5,000 per month.

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Figure E

When your settings are complete, click the Review + Create button. As you can see in Figure F, you can review your settings before clicking the Create button to start deployment.

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Figure F

The deployment process will take a few minutes. You can access your newly created Azure IoT Hub by re-visiting the IoT dashboard page, as shown in Figure G.

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Figure G

Also see

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.