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Vmware launches Liota (Little IoT Agent), a vender-neutral open-source SDK

LIOTA

Little IoT Agent (liota) is an open source offering for IoT solution developers and resides primarily on IoT gateways. Liota has been generalized to allow, via modules, interaction with any data-center component, over any transport, and for any IoT gateway. It is easy-to-use and provides enterprise-quality modules for interacting with IoT Solutions.

Design

The primary liota design goals are simplicity, ease of use, easy install, and easy modification. Secondary design goals are generality, modularity, and enterprise-level quality.

The Basic Layers of Liota

Board Layer

The board layer is the base layer of liota and provides an abstraction for IoT gateway hardware. Items one might put in here are unique i/o architecture, communication physical interfaces, and any other features particular to the system board.

Gateway Layer

The gateway layer is a sub-module of board and abstracts both the system board and the operating system. The gateway is defined using the following parameters make, model, and the current OS version installed on them. The functions provided by this layer are used to configure i/o endpoints, read data from endpoints connected to sensors, or pass commands to the endpoints of connected actuators as well as any unique OS features.

Things Layer

This layer (after the ‘Things’ in Internet-of-Things’) allows developers to create representative objects in liota for devices that will be connected to the gateway, e.g., as USB temperature sensor connected to the gateway.

Transformer Layer

This layer defines the base structure for creating representations of metrics in liota. A metric is the term for a stream of numeric values. Metric is a class that abstracts and represents this stream of values collected from, typically, attached sensors but can be collected from anywhere. Within the definition of metrics we support SI units are in order to provide units-based typing for values collected from a sensor. This meta-data can be passed to the data-center component in a format defined by that component.

Transport Layer

This layer abstracts the network connectivity between a gateway object and a DCC (Data center component). Currently, liota supports WebSocket and plain old BSD sockets. In near future it will support MQTT and CoAP. Both are ‘Session’ or layer-5 protocols. MQTT is a pub-sub system using TCP and CoAP implements reliable UDP datagrams and a data format specification. These protocols are capable of satisfying most use cases for transferring data from IoT gateways to data-center components. With the current implementation the gateway acts as either a WebSocket client, establishing a connection with the server using the WebSocket protocol. e.g.

wss://host:port/path 

or a traditional socket endpoint.

DCC (Data Center Component)

This layer takes care of supporting DCC’s, which can be hosted anywhere; on-prem, public or private cloud. It is potentially the most important and complex layers of liota. It provides flexibility to developers for choosing the data-center components they need and using API’s provided by liota. With help of this layer developers may build custom solutions. The layer implements basic API’s and encapsulates them into unified common API’s required to send data to various DCC’s. Graphite and vROps (vRealize Operations) are currently the data-center components supported by the first version of liota. New DCC’s can easily be integrated in this layer as it follows a plug in-plug out design.

Liota – Sample Code Below is a sample code developed using liota for a representative IoT gateway. A temperature metric is defined and its values are collected from a USB-temperature sensor connected to the USB-1 port of the gateway. The metric values are streamed to vROps;

from liota.boards.gateway_de5000 import DellEdge5000 from liota.things.USB-Temp import USB-Temp from liota.dcc.vrops import Vrops from liota.transports.web_socket import WebSocket # DCC Component vROps vrops = Vrops(vrops_login, vrops_pwd, WebSocket(URL "secure")) # GW creation gw = DellEdge5000("Demo Gateway") # Device definition temp = USB-Temp(parent=gw, 'Temp', READ, usb-1) # Register the Gateway and associated device vrops.register(gw) # Property creation on Gateway gw.set_properties("Location", "Palo Alto Prom:E") # Creating Metric temperature = vrops.create_metric(temp,'Room Temperature', SI.Celsius, sampling_interval=10) # Publishing value to DCC component temperature.start_collecting()

Liota – Future Enhancements

Toward the goal of ubiquity for liota we plan to include the following enhancements:

  • Full support for SI Units specification (possibly with enhancements specifically for IoT)
  • Full support for IEEE 1451, Electronic Transducer Data Sheets
  • Support for MQTT and CoAP as transports
  • A mechanism for IoT gateways to create planet-wide unique identifiers (possibly based on the blockchain mechanism)
  • Support for an actions framework for gateway-defined actions initiate either locally or by data-center components
  • Support for popular IoT ingestion engines
  • Language bindings apart from Python, starting with C, C++, Java and Lua

Installation and Testing

In general, liota can be installed with:

$ pip install liota

It requires a Python 2.7 environment already installed.

Liota.conf

Right now there is only one item in the liota.conf, where to find a file called logging.json which holds the dafault initialization parameters for logging. When initialing, liota looks in the current working directory, ‘.’, the user’s home directory ‘~’, a LIOTA_CONF environment variable, and finally the default location for every install, /etc/liota/conf for liota.conf.

Here is the default, v0.7, liota.conf file

[LOG_CFG] json_path = /etc/liota/conf/logging.json

Feel free to modify liota.conf and loggin.json as appropriate for your testing.

Examples

Post-installation the sample codes for publishing the data to DCC can be found at following location;

/etc/liota/examples

Please look through the example code noting especially the files sampleProp.conf and vrops_graphite_dk300_sample.py

Then as an initial test you could bring up an instance of Graphite using the docker instructions (found here),

https://github.com/hopsoft/docker-graphite-statsd 

set the appropriate values in sampleProp.conf,

GraphiteMetric = <a dot separated string> "Mymetric.foo.bar.random" GraphiteIP = <The IP address of the graphite instance you just brought up> GraphitePort = <typically 2003> # You can test easily be sending directily to carbon

and execute

$ nohup python graphite_simulated.py &

If you would like to test against an instance of vRealize Operations Manager please send an email to us at:

liota@vmware.com 

and we’ll work with you to get one set up and help with the necessary values in the properties file.

Log Location

The default location for log files generated during Liota operation can be found at following location;

/etc/var/log

If the above directory is not available or is not writeable modify the log location in the file logging.json (find it as described above in the section on liota.conf)

Contributing to Liota

Want to hack on Liota and add your own DCC component? Awesome! Just fork the project in order to start contributing the code.

Licensing

Liota is licensed under the BSD 2-Clause License.

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