Data-sharing platform adds low-latency DDS - Embedded.com

Data-sharing platform adds low-latency DDS

In a move to expand beyond the real-time Data Distribution Services (DDS) middleware it has been providing to military/aerospace and other high-reliability markets, PrismTech has put in place the final building block in its Vortex intelligent data-sharing platform for real-time Internet of Things applications.

That final building block is Vortex Lite, a 400 kilobyte-sized software module that can reside on microcontroller-based systems used in low-latency and resource-constrained Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as networked sensors, single board computers, embedded gateways and network edge nodes. Vortex Lite is an ultra-light weight implementation of the Object Management Group's (OMG) DDS standard that the company claims delivers deterministic data with an end-to-end latency as low as 30 microseconds over Gigabit Ethernet.

End-to-end latency between publisher and subscriber nodes for various packet sizes over a Gigabit Ethernet connection.

End-to-end latency between publisher and subscriber nodes for various packet sizes over a Gigabit Ethernet connection.

“Over a range of different platforms and operating systems and across a range of packet sizes, we believe that Vortex Lite has the lowest latency of any DDS implementation available on the market,” the company says on its website. This implementation also supports the OMG's Data-Centric Publish-Subscribe (DCPS) minimum profile and the company is already planning for add-ons content-subscription and persistency. And while it is easily portable to a wide range of hardware, board support and open-source operating system platforms, Steve Jennis, SVP Corporate Development, told EE Times that support for pluggable transports is planned for future releases.

While the performance of the Vortex Lite would certainly make it a candidate for many deterministic industrial IoT implementations, that alone would not be enough to set it apart from other offerings, Jennis said. What makes Prism’s implementation unique, he said, is that it is a part of comprehensive intelligent data-sharing platform the company has been developing for the last two years. Vortex Lite has been designed as one of several components that together will allow enterprises to move quickly into the IoT space:

  • Vortex Cloud, which extends the capabilities of Vortex Lite with support for data sharing over a Wide Area Network (WAN),
  • OpenSplice, a DDS implementation targeted for server-class (desktops, racks etc.) platforms and more specialized real-time embedded environments and operating systems,
  • Vortex Café, a “pure” Java DDS implementation specifically optimized for mobile phones and devices, as well as for cloud data sharing,
  • Vortex Web, a JavaScript DDS API to use with HTML5/Web-browser apps to send and receive data using the framework’s DDS data backbone,
  • Vortex Insight, a set of location independent monitoring and management tools to help configure, tune and test DDS-based IoT systems, and,
  • Vortex Gateway, an extensible and configurable protocol gateway framework with support for connectors to over 100 different protocols.

“This last building block is particularly important to enterprises who feel they have missed the IoT boat and are looking for a way to get up to speed quickly,” he said. “To that end, we’ve designed the gateway to be easily integrated with third party legacy applications that may use any number of different communication technologies.”

Where Vortex Lite differs in its “DDS for things” implementation from other publish/subscribe protocols such as AMQP, MQTT, JMS,  REST and CoAP is in its data-centric focus. “Most of these others are message-centric,” said Jennis.  “DDS on the other hand is a data-centric technology. They both can do similar things with respect to providing connectivity in a distributed system, however the way they do it is quite different.”


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