Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Janakiram MSV, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

IoT Software Releases | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #BigData #InternetOfThings

Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges

Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges.  Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues.  In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software updates for IoT more problematic.  How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when your IoT product is updated?

Getting IoT to Flow
Electric Cloud helps our customers solve software delivery problems at a very large scale. Our integrated, end-to-end, DevOps platform - ElectricFlow - has proven to be a natural fit for orchestrating the complex pipelines that are common with IoT.

Pipelines
ElectricFlow 6.0 introduces Pipelines to allow you to automate end-to-end software development and delivery processes, enabling Application Release Automation (ARA) and Continuous Delivery (CD).  You can easily manage the software delivery of one or more applications using pipelines.

electricflow pipeline1

A pipeline is a series of high-level re-usable steps that run automated processes. Pipelines consist of one or more stages. Each stage has a stage plan with one or moretasks, an entry gate, and an exit gate.

Tasks are used to run automated build, test, and deployment processes.  The tasks within a stage plan are run in sequential order.

An entry gate and an exit gate exist for each stage. A gate may consist of one or more automatic or manual approvals.  When the tasks for a stage are completed and an exit gate requires approval before going to the next stage, the approvers are notified by email.

Pipelines provide several benefits:

  • Orchestration - determine who (or what) is working on the release process, what part they are doing, what is the status of that part, and what is the next step.
  • Visibility - determine how the software is performing, whether it is ready for beta or production, where there are performance issues, and what versions are available within the release process.
  • Control - determine whether the software is ready for integration, beta, preproduction, or production and whether the software passes the quality criteria at stage gates and has been approved by the appropriate users or groups.

Pipelines in Action
Let's walk through a real use case to see how ElectricFlow is used to coordinate an IoT release.

The Pieces
In our example, there are three teams that work on the major components of a car-based IoT product:

  • The embedded team develops the software deployed to electric cars. This software collects vehicle-specific information (battery charge, MPGe, etc.) and uploads it to the data center.
  • The backend data team develops the software deployed to the data center. This software collects, analyzes, and provides visualization for the data uploaded by the vehicles.
  • The mobile team develops the app deployed to the app store. This mobile app shows car owners real-time information about their vehicle, such as battery utilization.

For the demo, we assembled the following pieces running "v1" of the product:

iot-dem-vehicle-sw

The vehicle - the embedded software in the vehicle is simulated by a Raspberry Pi with a Blink(1) light indicating the battery charge and pushing information to the DB

iot-demo-backend-sw

The data backend- simulated by a database running in AWS EC2, and a Dashing dashboard to visualize the data

iot-demo-mobile-app-sw-1

The mobile app - an iOS application running on an iPhone and showing real-time data from the DB in EC2

Working in Isolation
Each team uses the appropriate automation mechanism to build, test, and deploy their software in isolation from the other teams.

The vehicle and backend data teams:

These teams use ElectricFlow to:

  1. Model their applications' tiers and components
  2. Define their processes used to build, test, and deploy their applications
  3. Define and run pipelines to execute these processes across the various stages of development.

application-model-iot

The backend data application model

deployment-process-iot

The vehicle deployment process

backend-app-pipeline

The backend data pipeline

The mobile application team:
Using Ship.IO, the mobile team builds, tests, and deploys their solution to various test devices as well as to the App Stores.

mobile-app-builds-ship1

The mobile app jobs - build triggered automatically with each commit to Git.

mobile-app-ship2

The mobile app build/test/deploy process

Bringing it all together
While lower environment development and testing is done using isolated pipelines, all three applications must converge, and be tested, before the final push to production. ElectricFlow manages this Release Pipeline.

release-pipeline

The Release Pipeline stages and gates in ElectricFlow

For the purpose of the demonstration, we update each one of the three components comprising the IoT service to form a "v2" of our product. Once all three updates have passed their pipelines, we are ready to stage our coordinated release.  To do that, we run the Release Pipeline.

run-pipeline

A run-time instance of the Release Pipeline

The applications use snapshots to deploy the exact same bits and processes in each stage of both the individual team pipelines and the coordinated Release Pipeline.  The exact same applications are deployed and tested from Development through to Production.  This ensures repeatability and consistency, and greatly reduces the risk of failures when deploying to Production.  When the applications converge, a successful deployment to the Staging environment is followed by a successful deployment to Production.

pipeline-success

A successful Release pipeline

The ElectricFlow environment inventory shows the version of each component that is currently deployed.  This visibility is powerful both when debugging failures and providing data for audit reports.

release-inventory

The inventory for a Staging environment

Automate everything
This example represents the moving parts that are typical of an IoT service.  Coordinating the software delivery for these moving parts poses a challenge, particularly when cross-teams integration is required, and especially at scale.  While manual coordination is typically used to address this, manual tasks are slow and extremely error-prone.  Automation is the key to high-quality software being delivered at a rapid pace.

automate-the-internet-of-things

In the above demonstration, we see how ElectricFlow models an entire end-to-end IoT delivery lifecycle.  Pipelines orchestrate the development and subsequent convergence of multiple applications - from commit through test and deployment to production.  The simple and intuitive UI, along with the scalable automation of CI and deployment processes, makes ElectricFlow a natural solution for IoT software delivery challenges.

More Stories By Anders Wallgren

Anders Wallgren is Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud. Anders brings with him over 25 years of in-depth experience designing and building commercial software. Prior to joining Electric Cloud, Anders held executive positions at Aceva, Archistra, and Impresse. Anders also held management positions at Macromedia (MACR), Common Ground Software and Verity (VRTY), where he played critical technical leadership roles in delivering award winning technologies such as Macromedia’s Director 7 and various Shockwave products.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...