Microsoft Azure IoT Hub is now officially “GA” (Generally Available), meaning it can be used for production workloads and can be purchased as a service.
Azure IoT Hub is the back-end collection service for devices, sensors or other internet enabled machines that are sending messages to be collected, tracked and reported. Azure IoT Hub works with industry standard protocols for receiving readings from sensors and provides security to authenticate the devices sending you messages. Azure IoT Hub is bidirectional so it could be used to send notifications or messages to connected devices as well.
Azure IoT Hub has been designed to scale up to millions of messages per second and millions of devices sending messages simultaneously.
When messages are received, there are many different options to leverage them using other Microsoft Azure services. For example, they could be stored as data to be analyzed by either SQL or Hadoop. They could be streamed through Azure Streaming Analytics to provide real time monitoring of devices. They could be gathered and sent to Azure Machine Learning for analysis and prediction.
Pricing is based on the number of messages (e.g. sensor readings) you need to gather as a “service unit”. For example, the S1 service unit allows you to send 400,000 messages per day and the S2 service unit allows you to send up to 6 million messages per day. Each message maxes out at 4K per message. Each of these “service units” can be scaled up as needed and priced accordingly, e.g. if you needed to send 60 million messages per day you can buy 10 S2 units.