Developing for IoT? Take this Eclipse survey

Calling all IoT developers–your learnings can benefit your peers who are at different states of IoT adoption. And the more information you share about your development approaches and programming preferences, the better communities and companies can understand your requirements.

The third annual IoT Developer Survey, hosted by Eclipse IoT, is your chance to share your experience. Please take the time to complete the 5-8 minute survey.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/iotsurvey2017redhat

The survey runs until March 17, 2017.

You can take a look at last year’s results here: https://ianskerrett.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/profile-of-an-iot-developer-results-of-the-iot-developer-survey/


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How to build a containerized IoT solution with OpenShift

For businesses looking to build scalable Internet of Things (IoT) solutions using containers, here is a sample project built on the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. This project implements an intelligent IoT gateway on the OpenShift Container platform. The IoT Gateway is critical for enterprise IoT as it brings intelligence, and enables key services, at the edge. In this project, the gateway application is deployed as a set of microservices inside containers on OpenShift.

Continue reading “How to build a containerized IoT solution with OpenShift”


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For more information about Red Hat OpenShift and other related topics, visit: OpenShift, OpenShift Online.

The Open IoT Challenge Is On! Submissions now due November 30

Have you been tinkering with sensors and beacons and hooking them up to a Raspberry Pi? Maybe you’ve just made the most sophisticated cat toy? You know you have more ideas about how some of this “gadgetry” could address important problems. Move them forward with the Open IoT Challenge hosted by Eclipse.

deadline-extended

The deadline for proposed solutions is November 30th. You have until February 26th to complete your project. Get more information at https://iot.eclipse.org/open-iot-challenge/


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How to Build an Intelligent IoT Gateway in 7 Easy Steps

In previous blogs, I talked about the the critical role of the IoT gateway in the enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) as it enables real time decision-making at the edge, secures downstream devices and optimizes network utilization. So how does one go about building this gateway? In this blog, you’ll learn how to build an intelligent IoT gateway in a few simple steps – you can find the code at  GitHub.

To automate the gateway provisioning, we’ll using Ansible by Red Hat. Why? Because it is the simplest and best tool out there for this job. Besides, it can also be used for configuration management and application deployment. Once you’re ready to provision and deploy thousands of gateways in a production environment, you can use this same Ansible tool. This is how IT departments provision the systems securely across the network.

Continue reading “How to Build an Intelligent IoT Gateway in 7 Easy Steps”


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Download and learn more about Red Hat JBoss Fuse, an innovative modular, cloud-ready architecture, powerful management and automation, and world class developer productivity. It is Java™ EE 7 certified and features powerful, enterprise-grade features such as high availability clustering, distributed caching, messaging, transactions, and a full web services stack.

Looking inside open source innovation

James Kirkland is one of the architects involved in the new open source Kapua project on Eclipse.org. In this blog post he discusses how innovation happens when industry leaders collaborate to make their customers successful.

Over the years, I’ve seen the beginning of a lot of open source projects, but the thing that excites me about the new Kapua project is that until now Eclipse IoT has been a set of individual projects that didn’t interrelate or even interoperate. (Read the Eclipse Foundation’s press release.)Kapua is the first attempt to create an ecosystem of projects that come together to provide functionality that is exponentially greater because of that integration. It’s an example of the sum being greater than the individual parts. The contributors came into this collaboration with the clear intention of solving broader IoT challenges in a unified way rather than each re-inventing the wheel on their own.

The higher goal of this project was to come up with a working IoT platform that would be able to meet the challenges of enterprise IoT. Previously you could take some of the Eclipse IoT projects and put them together with a lot of effort and additional coding to build out an IoT platform. This first release of Kapua code delivers a minimalistic IoT cloud-based management platform for managing IoT devices. This first step was to ensure that you could set it the device management platform, get it working and test it out. The Kura project used the same approach, of quickly getting to the first code release and to something that could be installed on a Raspberry Pi so that developers could easily get to a proof of concept stage for their own IoT gateway projects.

The functional goal was to use Kapua as the integration point for all the services under the Eclipse IoT banner. And to do it in such a way that the solution was not monolithic–that services could be plugged in and out according the needs of a given use case or the technology preferences of the developer.

To jumpstart the project, the companies involved contributed code they had developed within their own walls and proven out with their customers IoT deployments. Whenever you take a project and set it free you always run the risk of someone running with it and pushing it into the direction they prefer. We all had to build trust by doing small things together at first, like integrating just two projects, Camel and Kura. We became comfortable with each other’s work styles and that we were all going to live up to our commitment to collaborating. Then everyone does contribute within their individual areas of expertise. Even if the contribution is not code, but QA or test cases or documentation, it’s still expertise that an individual company might not have access to. Once you do that you’re able to build something bigger than any one company could build on their own–or even two companies.

Visit the Kapua project page and start participating.


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Lessons learned from using IoT devices in the real world

As a consultant, I’ve spent a decent amount of time working on a full stack development project in the realm of IoT. Over the years, our teams have run into a lot of avoidable issues. Here are some lessons I learned from using IoT devices in industry.

I define IoT as “connecting a device to a larger system with the goal of that device providing information to the system that is then leveraged in some way”. This can range from something like a FitBit to a Tesla to a smart fridge — all of which connect and report information to a cloud or back end, making them “internet of things” devices.

Continue reading “Lessons learned from using IoT devices in the real world”


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Logging in Open vSwitch

Open vSwitch (OVS) is a virtual switch used in production from small to large scale deployments. It is designed to provide network automation along with support for a number of management interfaces and protocols.

However, the developer or the administrator might need to understand more of what is going on under the hoods and OVS does a good job providing a very good logging facility which is the subject of this article.

Editor’s note: Red Hat Knowledgebase – “What Red Hat products provide support for Open vSwitch?

Continue reading “Logging in Open vSwitch”


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Intel Joule Debate: A maker platform ready for widespread IoT use?

This article is written as opinion. The opinions expressed within are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of Red Hat.


Intel Developer Forum 2016 (IDF) produced quite a few announcements this year, including the Joule, a powerful IoT dev kit. Although targeted at makers, Intel and partners spoke about how this Joule can be used for industrial IoT use cases — cases like augmented reality safety glasses for manufacturing environments from PivotHead.

This spawned an interesting debate in geek circles — Is Intel Joule just a maker’s tool, or does it have a place in the hands of the IoT professional/enterprise.

Here is how the exchange went amongst three Red Hat IoT aficionados: Rich Naszcyniec @naszcyniec, Paolo Patierno @ppatierno, and Ishu Verma @iot_ishu):

Paolo: “Building IoT devices for production takes a lot of more sweat and blood than a Maker project.”

I  come from the embedded devices world. I wrote code during the time when maker platforms like this didn’t exist, and the cheapest evaluation kits cost hundreds of dollars … today we have products that cost just dozens of dollars

I don’t like it when people consider these platforms to be ready to use  as an embedded device for IoT without re-engineering them first… and trust me … there are a lot of people who think like that out there.

A lot of software developers are moving to the IoT space not only on the cloud side but on the devices side as well.

We should be  worried about that and what the world could be with such devices not being developed from scratch by an engineering team with both hardware and software knowledge thinking about all the concerns related to the environment.

These new developers are helped by the “huge” amount of resources they have on devices today (or something similar). These are more like “little” servers … not like devices with a few KB of RAM and Flash.

I only hope that all these boards are for a makers’ market or at least used by enterprises for fast prototyping (validating an idea), demos and POCs.

It’s also true, at least as far as I’m aware, that current industrial products are not based on Galileo, Edison, Raspberry Pi …. isn’t it?

Rich: “Maker approach works for new markets like IoT”

Serious question. What is the harm you are concerned about? I am sure amateur board makers and teams will put some items on the market with flaws. But honestly, it won’t be the first time I have seen that happen. Even with devices I installed prior to the maker movement. I have boxes of purchased but now dead items I keep thinking I will scavenge a part or two from.

Personally, I am thrilled by the maker movement. It revitalizes interest in science and specifically electronics. I see it more and more often in the schools which is fantastic. Our kids see that it is ok to believe they can make gizmos. Heck, it even gets software “veterans” like myself interested in the hardware side of the business. A side that for a long time I felt was not approachable since I don’t have an electrical engineering background. I’m just a guy with a degree in marketing with an unrecognized minor in computer science.

Another factor to consider is that todays mantra for software development is build fast and fail fast. With maker kits, the same mantra can be adopted for IoT. There are just so many possible uses for IoT it is hard to know what new idea will stick in the market. Don’t cheap maker kits make it easier for a person or team with an idea give it a try?

Paolo: “IoT/embedded products need be production grade”

Absolutely… the maker movement revitalizes interest and as you said it’s great for schools… it’s fantastic for me… however was the Raspberry Pi born for this reason ?. My son is 4 years old and I’m waiting to start teach him something using these boards.

It’s also true that you can just set up an idea in a short time validating it before starting the real development

The problem is … if it’s done by “professionals” then they know very well that in order to have the final product they need to move to a solid platform that is not leveraging on the maker board. Even in the past, the “professionals” already knew about starting to develop on evaluation kit but then moving to a re-engineered board for production and not selling the dev kit as a final product.

If it’s done by “a non professional” … it could become the final product! Trust me … this happens today.

There is a quite interesting article, “makers and professional”, which explores the way these different figures are related to each other and can work together– over the years some great ideas were born thanks to makers but then the actual working product came with professionals.

On moving from the idea stage with a fast prototyping and validation step to an engineering phase, the AgileIoT manifesto and related framework are quite interesting. These define how it’s possible to apply Agile methodologies for developing and deploying a complete end-to-end IoT solution.

A lot of non-embedded developers are moving into the IoT world … it doesn’t seem so positive  to me because they don’t have the full background for doing this. As I said, they are driven by cheap boards and great tools and languages … but making a device work 365/7/24 is a different thing.

I don’t like to think that my self driving car could be based on a Raspberry Pi with an application developed in NodeJS 🙂

Of course it’s a limit … fortunately in some markets … the “things” are taken more seriously and built from production-grade components.

Ishu: “Don’t forget the things need to be integrated with enterprise systems”

I agree with Paolo that the production-quality criteria are essential for mission critical systems or widely deployed systems. The QA requirement for these systems is much more stringent but the downside is that it takes a long time to develop, test and deploy these systems. Once deployed, these systems continue to provide the same functionality they’re designed for for a long long time so it’s ok to have a long design cycle. This is similar to how enterprises design and deploy their current systems. In order for IoT devices to be integrated with existing enterprise systems, these devices need to follow the same stringent criteria for deployment or they’ll put the entire system at risk (being the weakest link).

Rich: “Fail fast approach allows for a short shelf life”

Thanks for the great reply. I thought that was the point you were making but wanted to make sure.

It is interesting that you have concerns about “sloppy” hardware that can stem from quick prototyping and result tools available for use. I have similar concerns about software and people who take software microservice ideology to the extreme. I sense there is a rush to produce but not ensure the microservice is efficient, secure, etc.. You can get away with “sloppiness” easier with software than hardware. Especially now with microservices that can be deployed to run once with all its inefficiencies, get destroyed, and then a new instance takes its place. Why worry about a runtime that runs in a timespan potentially measured in seconds or less?  I guess the parallel with cheap hardware could be who cares if it only lasts X months/years/etc. A new one is easy and cheap enough to replace it with.

But is that a healthy direction? I think you have the same type of question/concern.

Paolo: “IoT products need to meet stringent industrial-grade criteria”

It’s true what you say … that it can happen even in the software-only industry with microservices, for example.

When I said 365/7/24 I didn’t mean only problems with a maker board which can’t satisfy the requirements but the software as well. In the embedded/IoT world, your software enables the device to interact with the surrounding environment; code mistakes can be catastrophic even in terms of human lives.

Regarding the hardware, it’s not so simple to replace it … let’s consider an IoT solution for a tanker in the middle of the ocean 🙂 It’s better to have a rugged device which will run for 10 years and avoiding having to reach the tanker for substituting the Raspberry Pi every month.

Just to be precise and avoid misunderstanding … when I say that maker boards are not so good for real products I mean the board themselves, but not the modules on them

For example, regarding Intel Joule … I don’t think that having the entire board as a final product could be good but having the Joule module on a re-engineered board could be just the right thing,  … of course, if the module itself is good 😀

Regarding the software, the cheap boards and high-level languages usage allows other “types” of developers to approach the embedded/IoT world … where there are a lot of other concepts not related to the software (hardware protocols for example) … they can make a lot of mistakes having a poor result.

I personally know a lot of developers (here in Italy) moving from Web and mobile applications to embedded devices … just to have more business thanks to the buzz word … I saw some code … (silence)

Of course it’s true that there are other good developers who start on this path studying from scratch and improving their knowledge seriously on the hardware perspective.

Rich: “Fast prototyping with maker and then switching to production with industrial grade”

What people do in the makerspace is great … these boards allow them to get in touch with new technologies and that’s awesome!

If someone really wants to make a commercial product, I can see using these boards for fast prototyping and demos … before jumping to commercial hardware.

Ishu: “We’re all saying the same thing…..”

I think we all agreeing that we need to have both approaches as they solve different problems.

For areas where the technologies and standards are still evolving, the maker approach would serve the needs better as the traditional embedded product development takes too long and is not suited for devices that need to be modified frequently. Once a winning solution emerges that is ready for wide deployment then it can then be hardened using the traditional embedded methodologies that Paolo describes. In addition, these products also need to follow the enterprise best practices for security, management, etc.

Conclusion:

IoT is a huge area with dozens of use cases. We need to have both approaches as they solve different problems. For production systems, whether mission-critical systems (e.g. system for an oil rig in the middle of ocean, health care equipment, etc) or widely deployed systems (e.g. RFID card readers), the stringent quality criteria need to be met.

This means the IoT solution needs to be built with industrial-grade hardware and software components (e.g. Eurotech ReliaGate 20-26 IoT Gateway).  These systems are built right and it takes time to develop, test and deploy these systems but they stay in operation for a long, long time.

For IoT use cases that are still evolving, the fast prototyping offered by the makers’ style design approach would serve the needs better. These systems are used for development/testing and are repeatedly updated, upgraded or replaced.  The traditional embedded development model is not suited for these use cases where product features, standards and architectures are still evolving. Once a winning solution emerges that is ready for wide deployment then it can then be hardened using the traditional embedded methodologies.

Are you having similar debates with your colleagues? We would love to know what you think.


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A-MQ 7 Alpha is ready!

I am sure this is the moment we have all been waiting for a long time, JBoss A-MQ 7 is finally out and is currently in Alpha. A-MQ is a fast and flexible messaging platform that reliably delivers information and easily integrates the various components in your application environments.

A-MQ 7 consists of several new components and features, it is base on Project Apache ActiveMQ Artemis. The code base was donated by HornetQ. Having high performance journal base on NIO implementation, allows A-MQ 7 to become a fast , high performance and reliable messaging platform.  Rather than relying other persistence storage it is very highly optimized for general message use cases. The message broker as always allows you to balance load across a cluster of brokers, the balancing of the message not only distributed the incoming message to brokers sequentially but also takes into the account of the number of consumers and selectors in the broker so the performance can achieved even distribution of the load.

Continue reading “A-MQ 7 Alpha is ready!”


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DevNation CodeStarter – a evening of IoT hacking with Eurotech

On Tuesday night at DevNation, Eurotech sponsored an evening of IoT hacking. The object was to create a laser tag-style game. Participants were given a TI SimpleLink SensorTag development kit and a laser pointer. The sensors use Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) to communicate with the Eurotech IoT gateway running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

There were a number of tables of developers with their laptops. Each table had an IoT gateway on it that the developer’s sensors communicated with. The gateways used Eclipse Kura to report the data to a central server that was able to show statistics for the whole room. Earlier in the day, Red Hat’s Henryk Konsek gave a talk describing this architecture: Building open source IoT gateways using Eclipse Kura and Apache Camel.

Developers pulled down code from GitHub in order to register their tags with the gateway and run a JavaFX application to test their sensors. Each developer needed to complete a number of steps in Java and then compile and run the application. There was also a browser-based dashboard display that was shown on the main screens in the room.

You can get the code at the Red Hat Internet of Things Research GitHub repository (RHioTResearch).  The game is RHioTTag (pronounced riot tag).  The github repos are:

Thanks to Eurotech for sponsoring this fun hacking session, providing the hardware, food, and drink. Red Hat is partnering with Eurotech to make it easier for organizations to build scalable and secure IoT systems.

eurotech-hacking


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More about DevNation:  DevNation 2014 was our inaugural open source, polyglot conference for application developers and maintainers. View some of the DevNation 2015 session recordings here.  DevNation 2016 will be in San Francisco, USA, the week of June 26.  Be sure to follow its status and register at www.devnation.org.