Fred George is an industry consultant, and has been writing code for nearly 50 years in (by his count) over 75 languages. He has delivered projects and products across his career, and in the last decade alone, has worked in the US, India, China, and the UK. He started ThoughtWorks University in Bangalore, India, based on a commercial programming training program he developed in the 90’s. An early adopter of OO and Agile, Fred continues to impact the industry with his leading -edge ideas, most recently advocating Micro Service Architectures and flat team structures (under the moniker of Programmer Anarchy). He travels the globe speaking and consulting on these topics. Oh, and he still writes code!
YOW! 2017 Hong Kong
IoT and MicroServices
IoT, the prevalence of specialized interconnected devices, has invaded business and home. The myriad of devices, hubs, and APIs has created a Tower of Babel that makes the Android phone scene seem mild. Such devices are inherently less network reliable than previous products, primarily due to the casual attachment (convenient outlets). Add to this heterogeneous soup the security exposure that has already been exploited in DDoS attacks, and you have an environment begging for technical solutions.
We propose Asynchronous MicroServices as a solution. Borrowing a page from historical J2ME thinking and more recent implementations using IFTTT, we introduce small bridging MicroServices for the various devices. Further, also consistent with MicroServices, we keep these services very simple: They broadcast device status to an event bus, or listen for action commands to relay to the devices from the same bus. Interaction among the various IoT devices is delegated to yet another set of MicroServices.
One exemplary composite application would accept signals from motion detectors to turn on appropriate lights, or alternatively alerting the owner of unauthorized intrusion. Using the same motion detectors, lights can be dimmed and eventually turned off. Room temperatures and even audio/video gear could be adjusted as well. Using Asynchronous MicroServices, we can also set up controlled access from the outside world, rather than exposing each device with its own vulnerabilities.
Finally we wrap up talking about the challenges of implementing this in my own flat using Hue lights, Amazon Alexa, and 4th generation Apple TV. We run these MicroServices in local containers attached to the same home network. Docker support of ARM devices enables low cost redundancy as well.