Migration to the Cloud: Best Practices for IoT

Last week, the Soracom team was in Tokyo for our annual conference, Discovery 2019. With roughly 3,000 IoT developers and executives in attendance, it’s become one of Japan’s premier IoT events. This year offered a full day of technical and business sessions and an expo floor covering IoT use cases from around the world.

In my session on applications of the Soracom IoT SIM, one of the cases that drew the most attention was Hortau, whose engineers used the SORACOM Canal and SORACOM Gate services to make a very elegant transition to Amazon Web Services from their previous on-prem system.

Based in Canada, with extensive operations in California, Hortau has a long history of IoT innovation. Since 2002, the company has applied patented irrigation management and automation technology to help growers improve crop yields and quality while reducing water consumption and waste.

Few (if any) companies in the world have as much experience as Hortau when it comes to working with cellular IoT, and their approach to cloud migration provides an excellent model for other organizations looking to make the change.

Hortau chose Soracom for their migration from on-prem system to AWS because our unique architecture let them build a secure, bi-directional cellular link between their edge devices and their AWS VPC, as shown below.

 

 

Hortau used SORACOM Canal to establish a private link between their AWS VPC and the Soracom platform, and then enabled SORACOM Gate so that their edge devices and EC2 instances can participate in a virtual private subnet. This allows secure, bi-directional communication using private IP addresses. (Yes, we can offer Direct Connect for Cellular connected devices!) Hortau also used the Custom DNS feature of SORACOM Air to let edge devices resolve private DNS host names.

Another important thing to note is that they have applied AWS best practices upon migration and built multi availability zone (AZ) setup for their backend. So even if one AZ goes down, the system keeps running.

In my time at AWS and at Soracom, I’ve had the opportunity to help many customers migrate successfully from on-prem systems to the cloud. From a technical perspective, Hortau has established an exceptionally clean model for any IoT developer ready to make the transition to a high-performance cloud architecture.