Reducing File Size and Transmission Cost with Delta Updates
In addition to supporting the development of secure IoT devices, NervesHub reduces IoT admin costs with delta updates.
Basically, this means that we only send the parts of the code that we changed to the device, instead of duplicating information over the wire and being wasteful. Therefore, we can reduce the costs that we incur pushing to our fleet, and we can push more frequent updates.
This reduction of file size is critical because, in IoT, data transmission costs can seriously add up.
It’s not a big deal transferring 300MB for an update on a desktop computer that’s running an OS like Ubuntu or Windows if it’s on a local network because the costs are so trivial.
Many IoT devices, however, run on cellular networks in the field, and so that same update would cost $120 at $.40/MB.
When you multiply those costs across your entire fleet, it’s not hard to see why IoT firmware is so often neglected. Delta updates solve this problem by dramatically cutting patch sizes.
Blue-Green Deployments Add Another Layer of Security
The final way that NervesHub optimizes OTA firmware updates is with blue-green deployments.
This means that each device has two firmware slots, one with the current firmware version and one with the second most recent deployment as a backup.
Once we send an update, the new code overwrites the older firmware, and the previous code then becomes the backup as the updated firmware version takes over.
This is a major safeguard that gives us even more leverage to push frequent updates. Without blue-green deployment, patching firmware poses a serious risk, as even a small misstep can render a device useless, and fixing broken firmware is laborious, difficult, and expensive.
NervesHub bypasses this issue by guaranteeing that there’s always a working firmware copy on hand.
With the right safeguards in place, your device can automatically make the choice to be able to fall back to the known good version that it was on before, preventing bricks and allowing you to continue pushing firmware updates in the future.
Minimizing risk opens the door to innovation and prevents failures. That translates to direct ROI.
Ultimately, NervesHub takes the fear out of firmware updates. The security and redundancy safeguards reduce the attack surface and give us more control over our devices, while simultaneously granting one of the most valuable assets in the IT world: peace of mind.
On top of that, smaller delta updates are the perfect solution for IoT devices that lack easy access to affordable data links.
The last takeaway that I want to emphasize is how important it is to build all these systems into your project from the very beginning.
You shouldn’t just consider these things down the line; you should consider them early and often. You should always be questioning what costs you might incur by making certain decisions or by choosing certain technologies earlier in the project because they can have a large impact on your project moving forward.
That’s why Very takes a holistic approach to IoT development that plans ahead for firmware updates and integrates security best practices from the onset.
Ready to join us? Learn more about our NervesHub IoT Development Services today.