Thursday, 6 April 2017

New Windows 10 IoT Core Images Available!

Today Microsoft has released a set of images for running Windows 10 IoT core on the Rasberry PI, DragonBoard, and MinnowBoard MAX. The announcement had me interested in what the capabilities of the platform would be since I usually end up managing devices through Configuration Manager and/or Intune.

First, let's start off with what this version of Windows is meant for. The Windows 10 IoT Core edition is the smallest footprint of Windows 10 available for devices. If you look at the infographic below, you can see that Windows 10 IoT comes in many flavors with different levels of functionality. Essentially the Windows 10 IoT Core version of Windows 10 is intended for single purpose use cases. There is no Windows shell and no command prompt, but you do get the ability to run Universal Windows Platform applications. Win32 applications are still supported, but they will not output to the console.
Many may wonder what is the point to running Windows under such limited circumstances, but I believe there are some very valid use cases that should be considered. There obviously is the hobbyist market, and though Linux is currently the dominant platform, some developers may feel more comfortable using a pure Microsoft stack to build out their custom creations. The other side is the business market where you want an IoT device that leverages existing developer expertise in the Microsoft stack and has integration into Intune or System Center Configuration Manager to provide updates and management of these devices.

When I first started looking IoT, I saw management and security taking a back seat, but as I've witnessed in the news, this lack of care and feeding has created security and operational issues. IoT was overlooked at being too basic and non-business critical to be on the radar for many organizations but now that these devices are being infected with malware, spyware and participating in BotNets all of a sudden the need for management has become a clear requirement for not just businesses but consumers as well.

It will be interesting to see where the smallest of the Windows 10 IoT editions finds itself in the marketplace but I am hesitant to write it off as a hobbyist product because of the integrated management, the ability to continue using Visual Studio and integrate your solution with Azure's IoT Suite. If you are looking for the latest releases of IoT core I've put a set of links below so you can start downloading them right away!

Rasberry Pi 2 & 3


MinnowBoard MAX

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