AWS Greengrass Brings Serverless Computing to your IOT Device

The release of AWS Greengrass was one of the most exciting announcements delivered at AWS re:Invent a few days ago. Greengrass is a new addition to te AWS Iot platform that enables the execution of Lambda functions, data cachine, messaging and computation capabilities on IOT devices.

Greengrass ia a clear example of how AWS is expanding its IOT capabilities to edge computing and in-device scenarios. The new framework makes AWS IOT a more suitable platform for field services scenarios on which devices need to execute logic and perform computations locally without relying on internet connectivity.

AWS Greengrass is fundamentally based on two components: Greengrass Core(GSC and the IOT Device SDK. Both of these components can run on devices supporting Linux on ARM or x86 architectures. GSC enables the execution of Lambda functions on IOT devices. Additionally, GSC provides authentication, data caching and messaging capabilities to IOT architectures. The messaging features are particularly interesting as it enables the exchange of data between Greengrass-devices without relying on a centralized hub.

The Greengrass IOT Device SDK abstracts the capabilities of the platform and allows developers to build in-device applications that leverage GSC. Another interesting aspect of Greengrass is its integration with AWS IOT Device Shadows. Greengrass uses “Shadows” to cache the state of a device and the relevant changes over time.

The process of using AWS Greengrass is incredibly simple for developers. You can start using Greengrass by simply registering a new hub of devices, select the Lambda functions to be executed and generate a deployment package that can be used on in-device applications.

Some Thoughts About AWS Greengrass

The announcement of AWS Greengrass has some interesting implication for the enteprise IOT space. Let’s discuss a few ideas:

Implications for IOT Platforms

AWS Greengrass is an incredibly strong addition to the AWS IOT and one that can become a strong differentiator in the highly competitive market. AWS IOT competes with IOT platforms such as Azure IOT Suite, Watson IOT, Xively, Thingworx or GE PRedix. Among those platforms, only IBM and Microsoft have developed strong serverless computing capabilities that can compare with AWS Lambda but none of the platforms include a capability similar to Greengrass.

Implications for IOT Device Manufacturers

AWS Greengrass offers a great framework for device manufacturers to enable the implementation of in-device applications. From that perspective, it is safe to expect to see AWS very active establishing partnerships with device manufacturers in order to increase the adoption of Greengrass.

Implications for IOT Developers

IOT Developers should welcome Greengrass with open arms as the platform solves many of the complex aspect of in-device applications such as backend logic, security, messaging or data caching. Based on the initial feedback, we should expect to see a very active community around AWS Greengrass.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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