AWS Expands Internet of Things Suite With GreenGrass Service For Real-Time Edge Applications

Amazon Web Services on Wednesday lifted the curtain on AWS GreenGrass, a new service it says will bring better compute capabilities for Internet of Things devices.

CEO Andy Jassy said during the company's Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas that GreenGrass will allow IoT devices to respond to local events in real time, operate offline, and reduce the cost of running IoT applications.

"While it's relatively easy to take advantage of the cloud to supplement the lack of disk and compute of those devices, there are going to be times you don't want to make the round trip to the cloud," he said. "This is a software capability that embeds into devices… and allows you to have Lambda embedded in those devices. So [it means] more compute and encryption at every communication point."

[Related: 10 IoT Takeaways From HPE's Discover Conference That Partners Need To Know]

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GreenGrass builds off AWS IoT and AWS Lambda – a "serverless" compute service that enables users to run "stateless" code on servers - so that it isn't attached to any particular infrastructure and will always run when triggered.

The newest AWS service will allow developers to write Lambda code that can run straight from devices, and is built for offline operation so that IoT data can continue to be processed even when connectivity to the cloud is temporarily unavailable.

GreenGrass is made from two parts: the Core, which is designed to run on devices that have at least 128 MB of memory and an x86 or ARM CPU running at 1 GHz or better; and an IoT Device SDK that's used to build applications running on the devices.

AWS, which launched a limited preview of GreenGrass on Wednesday for customers, said each customer will be able to use up to three devices for one year at no charge. But beyond that, the monthly cost for each active Greengrass Core is $1.49 per year for up to 10,000 devices.

Scott Udell, vice president of IoT Solutions at Boston-based Cloud Technology Partners, an AWS channel partner, said GreenGrass is "critical given how data operates in the real world," especially with IoT applications such as connected cars that need to process data immediately at the edge.

"GreenGrass is the piece that's been missing in the AWS suite of offerings," he said. "This is software that runs at the edge independently and communicates when there are connections – but also operates when there aren't any connections."

AWS has continued to outline its strategy around the Internet of Things market at Re:Invent, on Tuesday unveiling a new IoT competency for partners as an incentive to double down on IoT.

Joseph Tsidulko contributed to this article.