If we’re to build a massively scalable internet of things, we’re going to need tools that can handle hundreds of thousands of devices and a massive throughput of data. That’s hard to deliver with on-premises systems, but one that’s eminently suited to the scale and scalability of the public cloud.

While there’s a Windows for IoT hardware, the heart of Microsoft’s IoT platform is its Azure cloud, with a suite of tools and services that can build massive scale industrial IoT applications. One key element of that suite is IoT Hub, a routing service that sits between your devices and gateways and your back-end cloud services.

Inside Azure IoT Hub

manages messaging connections to and from your devices, either directly for devices with IP connectivity or via gateways for hardware that uses proprietary or low-power protocols. It sits in Azure, behind edge computing services, providing a management layer and the ability to ingest significant amounts of data from a large number of connected devices.

Microsoft markets it as a key component of an industrial IoT platform, supporting the applications, services, and hardware that go into automating industrial applications, whether on a single site or distributed around the world. Connections are secure, and you can provide declarative rules to route messages to specific applications and services running on Azure. There’s a close relationship between IoT Hub and Event Grid: messages routed by IoT Hub are a source of events for .

. The resulting on-demand architecture treats messages from devices as events and processes them appropriately, working with pretrained machine learning models and with functions that handle alerts to implement an effective industrial control system for only a few hundred dollars a month of per-second Azure billings.