Innodisk embeds Azure Sphere into industrial SSD

Innodisk, the Taiwainese storage vendor, has built an industrial SSD with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere providing software updates, device-level analytics, data security, remote monitoring and control through the Azure cloud.

The InnoAGE SSD will be embedded on an edge device. Its firmware receives commands from Azure Sphere which in turn connects to customers’ Microsoft Azure Cloud deployments. The SSD can collect data and issue requests for management through the cloud.

Example application areas are manufacturing, surveillance, unmanned devices, vending machines and digital signage.

A Microsoft FAQ says: ‘You can connect to other clouds for app data while running Azure Sphere – or optimise efficiencies by using Azure Sphere alongside Visual Studio and Azure IoT.”

This reminds Blocks & Files of HPE’s cloud-based InfoSight device monitoring facility, which is applied to storage arrays, servers and network switches. It seems entirely logical to deploy the same facility at storage device level, particularly in non-data centre, industrial site locations.

Azure Sphere

The InnoAge SSD features a 2.5-inch or M.2 format SATA interface with an Azure Sphere system chip affixed to it. This constitutes the Azure Sphere microprocessor-based control unit (MCU), operating system and security service. 

InnoAGE SSD with highlighted on-board Azure Sphere MCU chip.

MCU chips are built by certified Microsoft partners. Customers buy devices using Azure Sphere and that price entitles them to device lifetime access to the Azure Sphere Linux-based OS, updates to it and security service.

The 2.5-inch version has a 1TB maximum capacity while the M.2 variant holds up to 512GB. Both use Toshiba 64-layer 3D NAND with up to 3,000 write/erase cycles. Availability is slated for the end of September, and a development road map is planned by the end of the year.

There is as yet no information available from Innodisk about the device’s performance or pricing. Check out a brief InnoAGE datasheet to find out a little more.