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Case Study: Myriota uses AWS Transfer for SFTP to unlock the power of IoT

19 May 2020


Myriota, an Internet of Things (IoT) company based in Australia, helps organizations overcome their network connectivity challenges by offering low-cost, reliable IoT connectivity with a long battery life—even in remote locations thousands of miles from cell towers or access points. Using Myriota technology, customers can connect their IoT devices directly to the Myriota network of nanosatellites. “Whether it’s a buoy in the middle of the ocean that’s used to measure the ocean’s health, or analyzing water levels in remote tanks to provide farmers with peace of mind around livestock water supplies, our customers can get access to data using our devices on the ground to communicate directly to satellites in our network,” says Julia Johnson, director of marketing and communications for Myriota.

Myriota has been an Amazon Web Services (AWS) customer for several years, using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store raw spectrum data captured from satellites. As Myriota grew and the data from its ground stations, satellites, and product maker partners became more diverse, the company needed to find a simpler, more secure way to transfer data from those partners to Amazon S3. Myriota previously used REST APIs to generate pre-signed URLs enabling partners to upload data to Amazon S3. “The process was inflexible and it required us to maintain additional REST APIs,” Johnson says. As a result, Myriota began to look for an alternative solution such as Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) transfer technology. “SFTP was an obvious choice for us because it is universally accepted and easy for our customers to understand,” says Andrew Beck, director of service delivery for Myriota. “However, we didn’t want to manage such a service ourselves.”

AWS Transfer for SFTP is a powerful managed service, and I can sleep better knowing I don’t have to worry about an SFTP server failing. This technology enables us to deliver on our promises to our customers.”

Andrew Beck, Director of Service Delivery, Myriota

Using AWS Transfer for SFTP to Ingest Satellite Data

As the alternative solution, Myriota chose AWS Transfer for SFTP, a fully managed service that enables files to be transferred directly into and out of Amazon S3 using SFTP. “When AWS introduced this service, we were quick to adopt it because we knew that we didn’t want to manage an SFTP transfer service and that AWS is able to operate such services with high availability,” Beck says. “We want to focus on our core business of getting small amounts of high-value data from anywhere in the world to our customers in the cloud.”

Myriota satellites upload raw spectrum files and other telemetry data via ground station partners in Antarctica and other locations to Amazon S3 buckets via AWS Transfer for SFTP. Once the data is stored in Amazon S3, a largely serverless, event-driven data pipeline processes the data and authenticates messages before sending them to customers. Using Amazon S3 and AWS Transfer for SFTP, Myriota can easily ingest the satellite data, which is extremely “bursty” because the store-and-forward system architecture involves sending information to an intermediate station where it is kept and sent to a final destination at a later time.

Simplifying Satellite Data Transmission

Using AWS Transfer for SFTP, Myriota has an easier way to ingest data to Amazon S3 from its unmanned ground stations. “We depend on Amazon S3 as a critical staging area where we hold data for processing,” says Beck.

“AWS Transfer for SFTP has helped us simplify the security and transfer of sensor data coming from our customers’ remote devices over the Myriota network of satellites. Having AWS manage our SFTP server means we can focus on our business: giving our customers low-cost, reliable IoT connectivity wherever they are.”

Andrew Beck, Director of Service Delivery, Myriota

Providing More Security for Sensitive Data and Greater Reliability

By using AWS Transfer for SFTP, Myriota can issue separate identities to its ground station partners using a standard protocol, making it easy to administer on a daily basis and ensuring the proper controls are in place to help safeguard data. “We can better secure our customers’ highly sensitive data by relying on AWS Transfer for SFTP,” says Beck. “That means, for example, we can help customers securely monitor climate change in Australia.”

In addition, Myriota can deliver more reliable services to its customers. “AWS Transfer for SFTP is a powerful managed service, and I can sleep better knowing I don’t have to worry about an SFTP server failing,” Beck says. “This technology enables us to deliver on our promises to our customers, and it also enables us to add new features to our service like device and network analytics.” Myriota expects to add more customer use cases in the coming months. “We are expanding our use of AWS Transfer for SFTP all the time, and we are confident we will use it to continue simplifying secure satellite data transmission, storage, and analysis.”