Planning a Seamless Migration to AWS IoT Core

Introduction

The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem has evolved rapidly over the last several years with an explosion of connected devices and data. This has also resulted in a shift for some customers as they look to evolve and adapt their solutions to match their business needs, or simply transition away from less scalable and reliable IoT platforms. Then there is the challenge of customers being forced to move off from their original IoT platform due to discontinuation of the service from the service provider. These challenges can be disruptive, but also provide an opportunity to strengthen your offerings. Over the years, AWS has helped customers like BISSELL, LG, Traeger Grills, Belkin, Weissbeerger, and many others to quickly and easily migrate from their homegrown or third-party IoT platforms. These customers migrated to AWS IoT for added functionality, access to new or improved services, hardening of security needs, better technical support, improved disaster recovery options, and for cost efficiencies. However, migrating your IoT platform is a process where you will need to evaluate and address many considerations to align the process outcome with your business goals.

Considerations for your IoT migration

Whether this is an opportunity for your company to rework your IoT solution from the ground-up or simply move your existing platform to AWS, here are some considerations to factor in:

Functionality: Think about how your new IoT platform can complement your business model and bring a packaged experience for your customers from the IoT edge device all the way to the cloud. Note that each connected device requires an operating system and associated libraries, a robust security architecture, a set of communication protocols, and over-the-air update mechanisms with a maintenance plan for security and feature updates.

Maintaining data security and risk assessment: The foundation of an IoT solution must involve security throughout the process or else risk costly recalls or expensive retrofitting when poor security implementations lead to customer issues or downtimes. Narrow your choices to a platform that supports security and encryption of data while in transit to and from the cloud, or in transit from edge services to and from the device, along with robust authentication and access control support.

Migration costs: It is important to determine how much data is being moved and the bandwidth available for the transfer of data. However, not all migrations need to be evaluated based on upfront expenses; you should factor in savings and efficiencies possible through managing your devices at scale. For example, if you are building new capabilities on your products such as video uploads, voice recognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence, then think about the savings you could realize from an IoT platform that supports your innovation cycle.

Managing at scale: What a lot of people fail to understand is the complexity of managing a connected fleet of diverse devices and applications at scale, which only intensifies as you scale your portfolio. Developing custom software and provisioning infrastructure that can scale up and down to support a high volume of simultaneous connections between cloud services, mobile apps, and an array of devices can be difficult and time consuming.

Competencies to support migration: It’s critical to realistically assess where your organization is on its IoT journey. We have seen organizations go down the build-it-yourself path and burn several months of time-a result of having underestimated the challenges of going it alone, along with lacking certain skills internally. Often, working with a partner is a more effective approach. Partners have done this before, which means they’ve learned from past mistakes, created efficiencies through a set of reference architectures and best practices, and can help you keep your competitive edge.

Unlocking benefits with AWS IoT

AWS IoT gives you the flexibility to collect data and compute in the cloud (or wherever data is generated) in order to deploy smarter, faster-responding, and more cost-effective IoT applications. The mission of AWS IoT is to make sure you can know the state of every thing and can reason on top of that data to solve business problems.

Taking advantage of the security, scalability, reliability, and breadth and depth of AWS IoT services to accelerate their innovation, many customers have migrated their solution to AWS IoT:

Improved scale and elasticity: Customers like LG were able to expand the geographic reach of their offering, taking their products into new regions. Others, like iRobot, were able to take advantage of AWS IoT’s elasticity to support their peak season loads.
Reduced disruptions: Traeger Grills was forced to migrate its customers as their legacy IoT vendor decided to sunset its platform. Traeger faced a time crunch to migrate customers and rebuild its solution, without disruption to current customers. With the help of AWS IoT Partner, OST, Traeger migrated over a hundred thousand devices to AWS IoT Core in just three months, and with zero downtime.
Reduced costs: Customers like Centrica with their Hive product line, and Kemppi have all seen reductions in the cost of running their IoT solutions after migrating to AWS IoT. Kemppi saw 50% cost savings on developing and delivering IoT software.
Enhanced security: Customers like Rachio and SolarNow rely on AWS and AWS IoT services to achieve a high level of IoT security without building their own security infrastructure.
Improved reliability: AbiBird migrated their IoT solution from a third-party service provider to AWS IoT to achieve better reliability and performance at scale.
Increased agility: Customers have been able to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions when using AWS IoT managed services, which ensure you have the capacity you need at the time it is required. BISELL migrated their legacy IoT platform to AWS to support their agile business expansion strategy with the ability to scale features and connect nearly 1 million devices rapidly and reliably.
Continuous Innovation: AWS IoT continues to innovate and offer the latest features in the industry. In the last twelve months, AWS IoT has rolled out over 50 updates, announced price reductions to drive cost efficiencies, and launched new services such as AWS IoT ExpressLink, AWS IoT TwinMaker, and AWS IoT RoboRunner.

Simplifying your migration with AWS IoT Core

AWS IoT Core, launched in 2015, is a managed cloud service built to support connectivity for billions of devices, process trillions of messages, and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely. AWS IoT Core includes a wide variety of capabilities that help reduce your development time but allow unlimited flexibility to simplify your IoT migration process:

Multi-layered security that is proven at scale: AWS IoT offers services for all layers of security, including preventive security mechanisms like encryption and access control to securing device data at rest and in transit. Further, with AWS IoT Device Defender you can audit configurations, authenticate devices, detect anomalies, and receive alerts to help secure your IoT device fleet at scale.
Flexibility to define your own authentications and authorizations: AWS IoT Core offers custom authorizers that give you the flexibility to define and retain your own authentication and authorization. For example, if you are migrating existing devices in the field to AWS IoT Core and these devices use a custom bearer token or MQTT user name and password to authenticate, you can migrate them to AWS IoT Core without having to provision new identities for them.
Retain your existing domain names: In 2021, AWS launched Configurable Endpoints with Custom Domains for AWS IoT Core, which makes it simpler to onboard IoT applications with existing devices in the field. Configurable Endpoints can help you maintain a consistent interface for existing devices as you transition your IoT applications to AWS IoT Core, and reduces the need for you to perform software updates on them.
Scalable MQTT broker: AWS IoT Core supports MQTT message broker that securely transmits messages to and from all of your IoT devices and applications with low latency, and scales automatically with your message volume without requiring you to run any infrastructure. If you plan to migrate to AWS IoT Core, bridging your legacy MQTT broker to AWS IoT Core represents an easy transient solution that you could deploy quickly.
Remotely managing devices at scale: With AWS IoT Device Management you can onboard your device information and configurations, organize your device inventory, remotely monitor and manage your fleet across many locations, and easily perform over-the-air updates.

Moreover, AWS IoT Core offers you an entry point into the world of services provided by AWS. Using AWS IoT Core, you can interact with over 200 additional services provided by AWS in areas such as Databases, Analytics, and Machine Learning. Or, you can easily create serverless applications using AWS Lambda services. Regardless of your use case, AWS has services to help with your development and provide you with the innovation you need for the future.

Figure 1: A representation of how AWS IoT acts as a gateway towards additional AWS services.

The migration process with AWS and AWS Partners

AWS makes it easy, cost-effective, and quick to migrate your existing connected devices from your homegrown or legacy platforms. You can either migrate using a do-it-yourself approach, or with assistance from AWS Professional Services or AWS IoT Partners.

However, all IoT platforms are different with varying business requirements, geographic reach, connectivity options, and device hardware. There is no one-size-fits-all migration, so AWS provides multiple options to help you migrate your devices to AWS IoT.

1. IoT platform migration ideation workshops led by AWS IoT Partners can help you define your migration objectives, select migration targets with clear paths to production, and ensure business owners are bought-in to the idea and understand the value of investing in a move to AWS. These workshops are broken down into incremental steps to provide you structured guidance and outcomes throughout your migration journey. These steps include, initial assessment of your migration scope, a detailed plan towards your future state, options to build and operate your solution using managed services, and optimization through AWS IoT platform insights.

Figure 2: An overview of support provided by AWS IoT partners towards your migration journey.

You can work with System Integrators (SIs) to get hands-on end-to-end application support. For example, AWS IoT Partner, Klika Tech, offers a phased migration approach based on a shared understanding of your project goals, objectives, and success criteria to help derive the right fit for your organization. Similarly, TensorIoT offers an IoT Performance Testing solution to help evaluate your IoT fleets at scale, and understand fleet performance before deploying live devices. Or, if you simply want to connect your devices to a ready-to-go tested platform, then you can leverage Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to access pre-built solutions that can help accelerate your time to market. For example, EdgeIQ delivers a fully-baked, scalable DeviceOps platform with a natively integrated on-ramp to AWS that simplifies management, integration, and orchestration of your connected products. Likewise, ThingLogix offers a ready to deploy IoT and event driven application framework for AWS. Access the full list of AWS IoT Partners and their capabilities here.

2. IoT migration discovery and design workshops from AWS Professional Services are a multi-day deep dive with you to perform a Migration Readiness Assessment that helps scope your proof of concept and migration plan. The AWS Professional Services organization uses a methodology based on Amazon’s internal best practices, obtained through years of experience, to help complete projects faster and more reliably, while accounting for evolving expectations and dynamic team structures along the way.

Figure 3: AWS Professional Services methodology and offerings to support IoT migrations.

3. AWS Migration Acceleration Program is a comprehensive and proven cloud migration program based upon AWS’s experience migrating thousands of enterprise customers to the cloud. The program offers tools that reduce costs and automate and accelerate execution, tailored training approaches and content, expertise from AWS Professional Services, a global partner ecosystem, and AWS investment. Moreover, for qualified migration projects, the program offers AWS promotional credits and other incentives to help offset some of the costs incurred during the migration.

4. AWS Solutions-Focused Immersion Days are hands-on sessions with AWS products and services, such as IoT and migration, that help you develop the skills needed to build, deploy, and operate your infrastructure and applications in the cloud.

Getting started

We understand that migrating to a new IoT platform is not an easy decision, however with AWS experts and AWS Partners you can offload some of the heavy lifting, and access a level of support that can help formulate and implement a successful migration plan in line with your critical business needs. Through a comprehensive repository of over 800 qualified partner devices and 60-plus pre-validated IoT uses cases, AWS and the AWS IoT Partner community is committed to help you drive success from edge to outcome and accelerate your IoT projects. To learn more about AWS IoT migration, listen to this online tech talk, and to get started, contact our team to schedule a time to walk through your use case.

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