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Introducing RTI Labs and Connector for Connext DDS with Python

This week we are thrilled to announce RTI Labs, a free program that provides our customers with early access to new technology we are developing for the Industrial IoT. We are calling them experimental projects. Customers who take advantage of RTI Labs have the opportunity to leverage next-generation technology and influence our product roadmap by providing feedback on the experimental features. It’s a win-win situation!

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How IIoT Standards Can Make Smart Cities Even Smarter

World Standards Day is celebrated annually around the world to increase awareness of the role standards play in the global economy. This year’s theme is “Standards make cities smarter.”

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Healthcare IIoT: Ideas are Easy. Execution is Hard.

With each passing day, we find a new market or application where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are going to redefine life as we know it. I have high hopes for what the IIoT and AI/ML can do for transportation, smart grid, smart home, industrial automation, etc., but I don’t believe any of these applications will have as profound of an impact on the human race as the application of IIoT and AI/ML to Healthcare.

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Why You Should Switch to Connext DDS Secure

“Security should be built in, not bolted on.” True. You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it too. In fact, with the IIoT quickly becoming a reality, this phrase is being repeated so many times that I’m worried about it becoming a cliche that creates a sense of urgency without real potency. But why is security often bolted on to begin with? Will understanding the reasons help us avoid it? I hope so. There are many reasons, ranging from economic ones to regulatory, educational, and technical ones, which I cannot get into in this blog post in detail (see the IISF for additional details).

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How to Design Industrial IoT Systems with DDS and LabVIEW 2017

Two years ago I started to work on a really interesting project: "RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW". I was really happy because not only was I familiar with LabVIEW, but I loved working with it. While it was a good opportunity, I had to admit that I was a bit nervous because right before joining the team, I found out that the main developer of the RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW was going to be transitioning to a different department. On top of that, RTI had just won the NI Tools Network Product of the Year award. So, no pressure at all.

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Going Mobile with Connext DDS 5.3

As The Who sang in their 1971 hit, we are “Going Mobile”. No, RTI is not moving its engineers to camper vans, we are referring to an exciting feature available in the newly released Connext DDS 5.3!

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Your Historical Data, Now On-Demand

It is not always practical, or even possible, for an application to know what subset of data it will need access to as that data is being published. For example, imagine an application that subscribes to one subset of data during normal operating conditions, but then after an alarm is triggered all data from the past 24 hours is required. Does it make sense for the subscribing application to receive all data at all times just in case the alarm sounds, taking up bandwidth and resources in the subscribing application? Or does it make more sense for the subscribing application to be able to request the data it needs at the moment it needs it, saving bandwidth and resources in the common case? The second option is the most obvious choice, right? We thought so too, which is why with the introduction of Topic Queries in RTI Connext DDS 5.3.0, we allow DataReaders to do just that – send a request to all matching DataWriters for historical data that matches a given filter expression.

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Protecting Your Data Without Changing a Single Line of Code

RTI Connext DDS 5.3.0 is now live! I’m really excited to be back with a new blog post about one of the key new features of this release: the RTI Security Plugins. The reason I’m so excited about this one it is because this is our first release that is fully wire-compliant with the OMG DDS Security specification.

If you are looking for a high-level overview of OMG’s DDS Security specification, or you are wondering how can you can get started using it in your application, you are in the right place.

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Connext DDS 5.3 is Now Available to Help You Architect Your IIoT Systems!

On behalf of everyone at RTI, I am proud to announce the general availability of Connext DDS 5.3: the first connectivity software for architecting Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems of systems!

In this release of Connext DDS, we are launching several features designed to help our customers build secure and scalable systems reflective of the layered-databus architecture using the Connext Databus. Let’s tour these features and apply them to the layered-databus architecture as well as to actual industries implementing these architectural patterns using our technology.

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Is the IoT Beginning its Slide into the Trough of Disillusionment?

From approximately 2013 through 2015, the IoT has been at or near the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle. In fact, it was poised right at the top for two years in a row. However, I believe that in general, the IoT is now starting its slide down the backside of the hype peak into the trough. From layoffs in PTC's ThingWorx unit to industry analysts relaying that the large IIoT Platform providers like GE and others, are not happy with their growth, and other anecdotal indicators, it seems to indicate that we are heading into the Trough of Disillusionment. Of course, the IoT is a very diverse market – it includes both consumer systems and industrial systems, which then include healthcare, industrial automation, transportation, energy, cities and more. As a result, uptake and successes vary drastically from market to market.

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Stan Schneider Named Top IIoT Influencer

We’re excited to announce that RTI CEO Stan Schneider was named #8 in IoT ONE’s list of 100 top influencers in IIoT. He is in good company with leaders from GE, Tesla, Bosch and more.

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Summer 2017's Top IIoT Books, Videos, Podcasts and More!

It’s summer time – time to travel, hang out with friends and unwind. If you’re looking for summer reading/listening ideas and interested in the IIoT, we’ve compiled the ultimate list for you. RTI has a great mix of content that covers the hottest topics in the industry, such as the fundamentals of the IIoT, the challenges of securing systems, how to address communication requirements and more. Check out the top IIoT content your peers are loving so far in 2017!

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Who Is Chopping My Application Data and Why Should I Care?

As you probably know, DDS data is sent on the wire as RTPS messages. As such, these messages include a header and the data payload. The header contains useful information such as host ID, remote ID and sequence numbers; we’ll refer to the payload as ‘data sample’. For instance, in this Wireshark capture you can see the header and two submessages: INFO_TS, which contains the timestamp info, and DATA_FRAG, which is actually a data sample fragment.

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From 4 to 30: Growing the RTI Spain Team

Six years ago I crossed the doors of RTI’s headquarters in California for the first time. Another three people and I were chosen to be part of an important expansion of the company in Europe- a new development center in Spain. But before that, we stayed six months in HQ to learn not only about RTI DDS products, but also about processes and, most importantly, RTI’s culture.

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Women and Engineering: A Story for your Daughter

Recently, I got the opportunity to present to a group called, “Women Who Code (WWC),” a society for women in software engineering careers. I decided to start with a story that I made up for my daughter when she was little. The kid’s version is contained at the bottom of this post; if you have time, please check it out. But, since you’re likely a harried grown up, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: 

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Useful Tools to Debug DDS Issues

While developing an application using RTI Connext, DDS users may run into a situation where the publisher and subscriber are not communicating. In these situations, we will usually get the question: how can I figure out what the issue is and how to solve it?

There are several tools and features that can help you debug your DDS issues:

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Binge-Worthy Listening: Announcing the First RTI Podcast for the IIoT

If you knew there was a way to learn something new or be inspired in about 30 minutes, would you say no? What if it could make you better at your job? Keep that in mind.

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#TBT: From Predicting to Propelling the Industrial IoT

If you missed it, you should check out the recent press release about RTI’s growth in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It’s really a great time to be RTI! Sure, from a business perspective all the vectors point the right way. But for me, the most exciting things in that press release aren’t numbers.  I’m more amazed that we get to play with so many futuristic applications. Carbots? Renewable energy? Smart healthcare? Hyperloop? Flying cars? Wind turbines? CT scanners? We got ‘em all. And new things show up all the time.

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My Internship Ride at RTI

-Where talent meets innovation.

FRIDAY! It’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think about RTI. To almost everyone, Friday means the end of the week, the beginning of the weekend, late night parties and, of course, catching up on sleep. But for me, Friday and RTI have an entirely different connection, and I will explain why.

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Three Simple Steps to Achieving Peak DDS Performance

RTI Connext® DDS provides an order of magnitude performance improvement over most other messaging middleware. But occasionally we run into customers who are trying to improve the performance of their DDS communications. This performance improvement can be achieved in either throughput or latency. In this blog, I will go through the three simple steps required to assess the performance of your system and will also review some of the most common ways customers have improved performance of their DDS communications.

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Hey, Charlie Miller! Let's Talk About Securing Autonomous Vehicles

A recent Wired article on Charlie Miller (infamously known for remotely hacking and controlling a Jeep) claims that “open conversation and cooperation among companies” are necessary prerequisites to building secure autonomous vehicles. This seems rather far-fetched when so many companies are racing to dominate the future of the once-nearly-dead-but-newly-revived (remember the Big Three bailouts?) automotive industry. As naive as that part of the article sounds, what really blew my mind was the implication that the answer to re-designing security lies solely within the autonomous-vehicle industry.

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Mission: ace the initial screening call and get asked back for in-depth interviews

Congratulations! Hopefully the tips from Mission: score an interview with a Silicon Valley company were helpful, and you have been contacted to talk to the hiring manager. Here are a few tips on how to ace the initial call.

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Why Would Anyone Use DDS Over ZeroMQ?

Choices, choices, choices. We know you have many when it comes to your communications, messaging and integration platforms. A little over a year ago, someone asked a great question on StackOverflow: why would anyone use DDS over ZeroMQ?. In their words, "it seems that there is no benefit [to] using DDS instead of ZeroMQ.”

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Mission: score an interview with a Silicon Valley company

RTI’s engineering team is based in Sunnyvale, CA. We also have a smaller, yet rapidly growing team in Granada, Spain.

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Fog Computing: IT Compute Stacks meet Open Architecture Control

Fog computing is getting more popular and is breaking ground as a concept for deploying the Industrial IoT. Fog computing is defined by the OpenFog Consortium as “a system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things.” Looking further into the definition, the purpose is to provide low-latency, near-edge data management and compute resources to support autonomy and contextually-aware, intelligent systems.

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Getting Started with Connext DDS, Part Four: From Installation to Hello World, These Videos Have You Covered

I started my career at a defense company in the San Francisco Bay Area on a project that involved a distributed system with several hundred nodes (sensors, controllers and servers). All these nodes were networked over different physical media including ethernet, fiber optics and serial. One of the challenges we faced was ensuring our control systems could operate within their allotted loop times. This meant data had to arrive on time regardless if a node required 10 messages per second or several thousand messages per second. We needed a more effective method of communication than point-to-point or centralized server.

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Getting Started with Connext DDS, Part Three: The Essential Tool ALL DDS Developers Need to Know About

Before joining RTI engineering, I was a customer of RTI’s for quite some time. I started working with RTI products before Data Distribution Service (DDS) was a standard. I also happened to be one of the first users of DDS 4.0, when it was finally codified into the standard as we know it today.

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We're heading to Munich!

London Connext Conference 2014 and 2015 events brought power DDS users together from a wide range of industries to share experiences, applications and expertise. For those of you who were unable to attend but curious about what you missed, head over to Community and view a list of the presenters and some of the presentations (2014 and 2015). For our third year, we wanted to switch things up a bit, and the first big change to the event is the location: we'll be hosting our two-day event in Munich!

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Getting Started with Connext DDS, Part Two: Use Shapes Demo to Learn the Basics of DDS Without Coding

If you’re building Industrial IoT (IIoT) systems, then you’re probably investigating the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard. DDS is the only connectivity framework designed specifically for mission-critical IIoT systems.

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Getting Started with Connext DDS - ELI5, please.

One of my favorite subreddits is r/ELI5. For those of you who might not know, ELI5 is a forum, dedicated to offering up explanations of user-submitted topics and concepts in a very specific way – explaining it in a way that even a 5-year old would understand, hence ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5).

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Standards vs. Standardization: How to Drive Innovation in Self-Driving Cars

Authors: Bob Leigh & Brett Murphy

There was a great article in the NY Times recently that suggested self-driving cars may need some standards to foster innovation. This is certainly true, but the article confuses standards and standardization, suggesting that standardizing on a common automotive platform may instead stifle innovation. It is important to understand the difference between the decision to ‘standardize’ on a platform, and the very powerful impact an interoperability standard can have on an industry.

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Industrial Internet Connectivity Document Evaluates Core Standards: DDS, OPC-UA, WebServices

The Industrial Internet Consortium has released an important part of its Reference Architecture guidance: its Connectivity Framework document. This is actually pretty important; this document dives into the detail on connectivity for IIoT systems, establishes criteria for evaluating connectivity technologies/standards and puts forward some likely technologies for core connectivity standards, including DDS, OPC-UA and WebServices. In other words, there is some really valuable guidance here.

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Use MATLAB to Leverage Your Live IoT Data

If you have ever done any data analysis from a sensor or other type of data source, you have most likely followed a process where you collect the data, you convert the data and then use MATLAB to process and analyze the data.  Using  MATLAB to analyze the data is a very well known tool to accomplish that task.  Collecting and converting the data, so that it is usable in  MATLAB, can take an enormous amount time.  Thanks to an integration that was completed by MathWorks, it is now possible to easily connect  MATLAB up with live data that is being published and subscribed to on DDS.  With  MATLAB being one of the top tools used to analyze data and DDS quickly becoming the data communications middleware of IIoT applications, this integration will enable some very rapid prototyping and test analysis for developers.  This blog post will walk through a few examples of how to publish DDS data and also how to subscribe to DDS data using  MATLAB.

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Well Being over Ethernet

One of the larger commercial vehicles present at CES 2017 was the NXP® Smarter World Truck – an 18-wheeler parked right outside the Convention Center.  It contained over 100 demonstrations making use of NXP products showing some of the latest innovations in home-automation, medical, industrial and other fields.  Mentor Embedded, together with RTI, worked with NXP to set up a medical demonstration that showed data aggregation in real-time from medical sensors.

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2nd Version of the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture is Out with Layered Databus

A year and a half ago the IIC released the first version of the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) – now the second version (v1.8) is out. It includes tweaks, updates and improvements, the most important or interesting of which is a new Layered Databus Architecture Pattern. RTI contributed this new architecture pattern in the Implementation Viewpoint of the IIRA because we’ve seen it deployed by hundreds of organizations that use DDS. Now it’s one of the 3 common implementation patterns called out by the new version of the IIRA.

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A Foggy Forecast for the Industrial Internet of Things

Signs on I-280 up the San Francisco peninsula proclaim it the “World's Most Beautiful Freeway.” It’s best when the fog rolls over the hills into the valley, as in this picture I took last summer.

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2016’s Most Valuable Content for Connext DDS Devs and Engineers

Whitepapers, eBooks, blog posts, eLearning videos, tutorials, and on-demand webinars - oh my! We know your time is valuable, so we took it upon ourselves to crunch some numbers and curate this collection of our most viewed content for 2016 for you! Drumroll, please...

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Top Five Webinars of 2016

The year may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean your inspiration should! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top five webinars of 2016 - just for you! From Autonomous Cars, Cybersecurity, to Robotics, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list below and dare to be inspired  :)

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RTI Perftest 2.0 is Now Available!

I am proud to announce the release of RTI Perftest 2.0! We developed it to test the performance of RTI Connext® DDS 5.2.x. This release is packed with tons of important changes and features. Let's take a look at the most notable ones below.

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Security for IoT: What can Industrial IoT learn from the recent DDoS attack?

The Mirai DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack last Friday revealed a fundamental weakness of current IoT deployments and showed the absolute necessity of new security models. The DDoS attack was against consumer IoT device, but there are many parallels between Consumer IoT and Industrial. This attack involved 10s of millions of IP addresses[i], a massive and unprecedented number of devices. Unfortunately, it seems like it was fairly easy to carry-out, especially since the source code for the Mirai botnet is easily accessible. The primary tool to hack into an array of consumer IoT devices (internet enable cameras, DVRs, etc) was a set of default, manufacturer-set passwords. [ii] How many have run into default passwords on operational industrial devices? Or perhaps it would be better to ask, how many have ever run across a password that has been changed? The latter would probably be easier to count.

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Join RTI and Mentor Graphics to Discuss System Security and the Industrial IoT

On November 2, 2016, Warren Kurisu, Director of Product Management at Mentor Graphics, and I will be discussing how to implement reliability and security in Industrial IoT (IIoT).  We know these qualities are important for IIoT, but the scale of the problem, and the scale of the networks involved, can present a challenge to anyone trying to implement real-world solutions. Although nothing is easy in this new hyper-connected, innovative, data-driven world, when you understand the right approach, the problem isn’t nearly so daunting.

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Upcoming Events You Don't Want to Miss!

Come meet us at our next industry event! Why? It’s a great opportunity to explore the latest innovations within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and to engage with RTI experts. If you’re in the Healthcare, Energy, Transportation, Industrial, Communications or Defense industry, we have compiled a list of events for you. Believe me, you don’t want to miss them!

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ISO 26262 Certification for Software Components

The automotive industry has adopted ISO 26262 as its functional safety standard for electronic systems. The current version of ISO 26262 was published in 2011, with a second edition scheduled for release in 2018. The increased use of software in automotive systems such as driver assist, brake control and engine and systems management has placed a greater scrutiny on ensuring the software is safe. Modern vehicles now contain millions of lines of software and software quality is more important than ever. While automotive designers and suppliers have 5 years’ experience using ISO 26262, the bar for software compliance is now higher due to increased complexity, integration and automation. Moreover, one can expect regulatory oversight to increase in the future due to changing policies. In September 2016, the U.S. DOT issued a new federal policy for safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles. This new policy seeks to strike a fair balance between innovation and regulatory oversight but will require additional effort from vehicle makers and suppliers who wish to use forms of automation in their future designs.

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The Industrial Internet Security Framework: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems connect and integrate industrial control systems with enterprise systems, business processes, and analytics. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Industrial Internet will be hugely transformative; it will change the basis of competition, redraw industry boundaries, and create disruptive companies[1]. Hugely improved operational efficiency, emergence of an outcome economy, and new connected ecosystems -- that blur traditional industry boundaries -- are among key business opportunities. There are, of course, significant hurdles to overcome, chief among them are security and interoperability based on the same report.

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5 Great Dev Resources You Need to Bookmark Right Now!

Despite Google being as amazing as it is, sometimes locating the exact thing you  need becomes a challenge. In these frustrating moments - which seemingly always occur when you're under a time crunch! - the struggle becomes all too real. If you're looking for technical resources for Connext DDS (or our other products), this post is for you! We've pulled together the only five bookmarks you'll need to be sure you can always find the technical resource you need in a timely fashion. No struggle required.

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6 Industrial IoT Communication Solutions - Which One’s for You? [Comparison]

To say that the task of selecting your Industrial IoT (IIoT) communication infrastructure is a very complex undertaking would be an understatement. The evaluation of the myriad of commercially available solutions is both time consuming and expensive. Try downloading and evaluating multiple solutions of each type of infrastructure and you will quickly find yourself in the midst of a project that will take several engineers a good six months to complete. We’ve all been there, and I want to help you save yourself some valuable time!

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7 Things You Can Do With RTI Shapes Demo

Think it’s time to dust off your RTI Connext® DDS skills? Do you want to impress your boss and co-workers with all of the cool things Connext DDS can do for your projects, quickly? We know that showing the power of infrastructure tools can be challenging, but we have a solution: RTI Shapes Demo. Matrix, an RTI partner, has created some amazing videos that we’ve compiled into one, which is sure to get your creativity flowing!

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Robots on Wheels - By 2021, This May Be the New Normal

If you drive a car, I suggest you read this post by Mark Fields, CEO of Ford Motor Company. Ford is staking their claim in the driverless car market, and it is a bold one. Ford expects to mass-produce driverless cars in 2021 for ride-hailing and ride-sharing services. And this isn’t an advanced autopilot or car with self-driving capabilities; this is a “No steering wheel. No gas pedals. No brake pedals. A driver will not be required.” fully driverless car.

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How to Integrate RTI Connext DDS Micro with Container-Based Applications [tutorial]

Container-based microservices are all the rage as software architects and engineers work to bring the flexibility and scalability of the cloud to the edge. To support real-time communication between those microservices with a guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS), DDS makes the perfect companion. This post covers the steps necessary to integrate RTI Connext DDS Micro with container-based applications. The steps required and benefits of the technology will be described in the context of a simple publisher/subscriber example.

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Secure Your IIoT System with the Cryptography Library of YOUR Choice!

By now, you might have read about the OMG DDS Security Specification which enhances the existing DDS standard with a security architecture and model. Version 1.0 of that specification is about to be finalized by the OMG. This means that a data-centric security model will now be natively integrated into the DDS standard - the only open communications standard that was designed to deliver the flexibility, reliability and speed necessary to build complex real-time applications, including many types of Industrial IoT systems.

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5 of the best on-demand webinars to inspire your IIoT and system designs

Ever feel like your work could use an infusion of inspiration, stat? We hear you.

Consistently keeping up with all of the latest best practices, updates to standards, and new trends can be hard, but we've got you covered! Grab your laptop and headphones, and spend some time on YOU. Click on the links below to view our Top 5 on-demand webinars from the first half of 2016.

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Databus vs. Database: The 6 Questions Every IIoT Developer Needs to Ask

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is full of confusing terms. That's unavoidable; despite its reuse of familiar concepts in computing and systems, the IIoT is a fundamental change in the way things work. Fundamental changes require fundamentally new concepts. One of the most important is the concept of a "databus".

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Running RTI Connext DDS Micro on Hercules TMS570 MCUs [tutorial]

Is your product based on Hercules TMS570 MCUs? Do you need to enable scalable, real-time, reliable, high-performance and interoperable data exchanges in your system? Are you really into tutorials and learning how to do new things on small devices? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this blog post is for you!

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More Reasons to Love Eddy

If you follow RTI blogs, you would remember Eddy was our project code name for Connext DDS Professional version 5.2.0. And you would remember how much we loved Eddy when it was released in summer last year. During the cold winter and spring, we spent a great amount of effort to make Eddy even better. Now Eddy has matured into version 5.2.3, which we are announcing this week!

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Compiling RTI Connext DDS Micro For The Raspberry Pi IoT Device

RTI Connext DDS Micro is RTI's product targeting small footprint devices, and it was also the basis for RTI Connext DDS Cert, a product for small footprint, safety critical use cases. While Connext DDS Micro is distributed with binaries for a few common architectures, it is also distributed with the full source-code since we anticipate that the majority of our users will compile, and even port, to their specific platform.

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Visualizing Data in Micro Sensor Applications

I can't believe I have been at RTI for more than 12 years now! In that time, I have seen the evolution of the OMG Data Distribution Service from its early days, as well as the realization of RTI's mission to create the best DDS implementation available.

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Is Your Security Tail Wagging Your Architecture Dog?

Recently, as a leader in the IIoT, I seem to get a lot of questions from insurance company executives. Their common question: where is the risk in the IIoT? Their theme seems to be: connecting things is just too risky. We don't understand the security or safety risks, so It Can't Be Good.

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How OPC UA and DDS Joined Forces

It all started, appropriately, at National Instrument’s annual show called NIWeek in Austin, Texas. There, Thomas Burke, President & Executive Director at the OPC Foundation, approached me and asked if I was interested in helping build a partnership between the two most important connectivity solutions in the IIoT. Because of RTI’s leadership at the IIC and within DDS, we were well placed to lead.

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The First Smart Healthcare Testbed at the Industrial Internet Consortium

Today, Infosys, RTI, PTC, and Massachusetts General Hospital’s MD PnP Lab launched the Industrial Internet Consortium’s (IIC) entry into smart healthcare.

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Unprecedented Achievements in Connected Systems: How 3 companies used DDS to achieve inspired results.

As cheesy as it may sound, it's the truth: our customers build things that are downright inspiring. They tackle the hard problems, seemingly preferring to run head on into a challenge as opposed to shying away from it. As a result, many of them have built systems and architectures that are saving lives, improving the quality of our experiences with technology, and pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible.

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Why I Joined RTI

With a fresh perspective, I thought I could write about this small company in Silicon Valley that you probably haven't heard of: Real-Time Innovations, Inc. (RTI). RTI has been quietly working on a technology called DDS that could be one of the most important and fundamental tools for the industrial internet revolution. If you haven't heard, the industrial internet, or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is going to change the world in ways we haven't seen since the industrial revolution. My grandparents saw communications technology change from horse and cart, to the proliferation of the automobile and internet. This next revolution is going to be a much bigger deal.

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Achieving Interoperability is HARD! Here’s a Strategy that Works.

Any system engineer, architect, and integrator can attest to this: achieving interoperability is hard, and integrations are usually not straightforward.

We can chalk this up to a variety of reasons, but here are my personal favorites:

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Autonomous Vehicle Tech Meetup

Last week at RTI, lots of good discussions buzzed around during the Autonomous Vehicle Tech Meetup. The event was a lot of fun; a good mix of attendees and everyone seemed to really enjoy the presentations and conversations.

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25 Partners, the IIoT, and a Smart Grid Demo at Distributech 2016

At DistribuTECH 2016, the second week of March in Orlando FL, Duke Energy and 25 partners demonstrated a distributed microgrid application scattered across 12 booths on the show floor. As the culmination of Duke’s Coalition of the Willing Phase II (COW II) project, it demonstrated near-real-time microgrid use cases like optimization, islanding and grid resynchronization. Each booth was connected via wireless networks and running a part of the overall microgrid demonstration, all based on the new OpenFMB (Open Field Message Bus) distributed device interoperability framework using open Industrial IoT protocols. DDS was one of 3 IoT publish-subscribe protocols utilized in the simulated demo and underpinned the SCADA control messages between OpenFMB nodes.

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Where Is My Data?

A few weeks ago I ordered something from Amazon.com. Something that I needed soon-ish. I am a loyal Amazon customer and Amazon Prime member, and I've never experienced a problem with timely delivery of my order. Unfortunately, my experience with this order was different. It was a mess.

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Looking for the Next Jedi Knights

Graduating in 2016 must be exciting. This is especially if you graduate with a computer science degree. You are at the cusp of the next best thing - the internet of things (IoT).

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DDS Proof Points for Autonomous Cars

While implementation details for autonomous cars are still tightly guarded design secrets, deployment examples in adjacent markets provide a wealth of information about DDS and its ability to solve the most challenging connectivity problems.

The following use cases have one or more connectivity issues in common with autonomous cars. Autonomous car requirements span three main areas: performance, safety, and integration. Systems must ensure performance to successfully connect components, optimize safety at every level of a fully autonomous system, and make it easier to reliably integrate complex software from diverse components.

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Automatic QoS Enforcement with DDS & Software Defined Networking

Good abstractions drive progress in computing. The first turing-complete computers such as the ENIAC exposed a register-level programming abstraction enabling programmers to reconfigure the machines for different tasks. In the 1950s - 1970s the maturation of compiled languages enabled programmers to more easily port software from one machine architecture to another. From 1980 to the late 1990s saw the development of modularity abstractions (e.g., object oriented programming) making it easier to distribute the development of large software across large teams. Throughout the 2000s to the present we've seen the development of programming abstractions designed to make it easier to build distributed and concurrent software systems. DDS is a perfect example and its success proves how useful and necessary good abstractions are.

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Speed Your Time to Market with Connext Pro Tools

It was two weeks until the demo.

We had this single opportunity to build a working microgrid control system that needed to:

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Enabling Autonomous Cars

An autonomous car is a great example of a highly distributed dynamic system, where component objects continuously make real-time local decisions based on system-wide constraints and approximate global state. DDS evolved to specifically address this type of system, and RTI has become a trusted expert assisting the innovators of future autonomous cars.

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RTI’s 2015 and a Peek at 2016

Hello RTI Customer,

I will always fondly remember 1999 ... at the peak of the dotcom boom. Our company, then focused on tools, was one of the fastest-growing in the frothy Silicon Valley market. The dawn of The Internet age was exciting, and we were along for the ride.

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Now is the Time to Migrate from PrismTech OpenSplice to RTI Connext DDS.

With the recent acquisition of PrismTech by the Taiwanese company ADLINK, we are seeing increased demand for porting from OpenSplice to RTI Connext DDS.

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Best of RTI: Do You Like to Watch?

As we head into the new year, we'd like to take a moment to highlight some of our top webinars. After sorting through 20 webinars and ranking each based on attendance, we bring to you our top five webinars of 2015.

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Modern Asynchronous Request/Reply with DDS-RPC

Complex distributed systems often use multiple styles of communication, interaction patterns, to implement functionality. One-to-many publish-subscribe, one-to-one request-reply, and one-to-one queuing (i.e., exactly-once delivery) are the most common. RTI Connext DDS supports all three.

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“See” what is going on with your DDS System

Have you ever had to figure out what is going on inside of your DDS-based system and had no idea how to begin?

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An Industrial-Grade Connectivity Architecture

The Industrial IoT introduces new requirements for the velocity, variety, and volume of information exchange. Connectivity must be real-time and secure, and it must work over mobile, disconnected, and intermittent links. It must efficiently scale to handle any number of things, each of which may have its own unique requirements for information exchange, such as streaming updates, state replication, alarms, configuration settings, initialization, and commanded intents. These requirements are above and beyond the requirements commonly handled by conventional connectivity solutions designed for static networks.

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Rapid Data Transformations Are Moments Away!

When I started college, everybody was talking about “Information Technology.” At that point I had been programming for quite a while and it wasn’t clear to me what coding had to do with that fancy terminology. After a few more years of coding, I realized the connection: all I do, day in and day out, is move bytes (information) from one memory location to another. Copying the contents of a struct into the socket buffer and sending it out; getting the bytes from the socket buffer and deserializing them into a structure to pass them to the application logic. Well, that’s part of what communication middleware does for you!

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RTI Services Delivery Partner (SDP) Program

Core values are critical. They shape how and why we do what we do, both personally and professionally. Here at RTI, we do our best to make decisions that are informed by our values, which ensures our strategic goals are consistent with our mission – to enable and realize the potential of smart machines to serve mankind.

Our Services Delivery Partner (SDP) program is no exception. It’s the realization of one of our core values: valuing the importance of working as a team.

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Data-Centric Stream Processing in the Fog

It has been almost an year and a half since my last post on reactive stream processing with RTI Connext DDS. A lot has happened since then and I've a lot of interesting updates to share with you.

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TCP Scalability Improvements

I’m excited to talk about new stuff we have added to our latest release, RTI Connext 5.2.0. In particular, I’ll talk about scalability improvements we added to the RTI TCP Transport Plugin.

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Architectural Mapping within the Industrial Internet

by RTI

Based on location and function, the right connectivity solution must be evaluated and selected for the various scenarios:

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We love our new Launcher

For the new RTI Connext DDS 5.2 release, we have re-implemented the RTI Launcher application. We love it! We love the new native OS look and feel, we love the new functionality, and we’re confident you’ll love it, too.

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A Taxonomy for the IIoT

Kings Play Chess On Fine Glass Stools. Anyone remember this?

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Code Generator: Experiment with New Features

In previous posts we explained how RTI’s new code generator saves you time with faster code generation. It’s now the default code generator in RTI Connext DDS 5.2.0, and it includes a number of other new features we think you will like.

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Unbounded Support For Sequences and Strings

When we first designed Connext DDS, deterministic memory allocation was on the top of our priority list. At that time most of our customers used small data types such as sensor and track data. We decided to go with an approach in which we pre-allocated the samples in the DataWriter and DataReader queues to their maximum size. For example:

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Visualize your data!

Ok, I have to admit right from the start that I’m very excited about this feature. I’ve wanted a high-performance, platform-independent visualization for DDS data for more than a decade. When I was an RTI customer (we started with the 3.x version), I built a small UI to display data. It used generated code and was quite basic but still useful. Just the other day I heard from a person working on that project that they still use it! I can’t wait to show them what we now ship with Admin Console!

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Replication and persistence features of RTI Queuing Service

There are many queuing services available, but few support both persistence and replication. If preserving data integrity is vital to your business and you also need high performance or a full remote administration, RTI Queuing Service may be just what you need.

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A new family member: RTI Queuing Service

Hey, have you heard the news? RTI is glad to announce a new member in the Connext family: RTI Queuing Service. It brings a bunch of cool new features to satisfy more use cases.

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Where to Find Things in 5.2.0

In Connext DDS 5.2.0, we've made some changes to simplify our directory structure, make our file size smaller, and make your downloads shorter. In that process we've moved some files around, so here's what you need to know:

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On the Floor at NIWeek: Presentations, Demos, New Technologies and Best Product Award!

From the in-depth presentations, interactive panel discussions, technical training sessions, to the abundance of networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders, the 21st annual NIWeek conference is alive and kicking!

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Modern C++ is here!

We are thrilled to announce that the Modern C++ API for RTI Connext DDS is complete and publicly available now with RTI Connext 5.2 (data sheet). A lot of our customers have already experienced a new way to write DDS code through our preview version—we hope you'll enjoy it too!

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I love Eddy

Our releases are named after mountains. These internal project names sometimes are shared with our users. This can create for some consternation, as we learned with our 5.1.0 release. This release was named for a local Bay Area mountain: Mt. Diablo. Mount Diablo is a wonderful state park, with beautiful hikes in Rock City and breath taking vistas from the top. If you drop the “Mount” from the project name, folks get weary about your software.

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The Industry-First Vendor-Backed FACE ™ 2.1 TSS Reference Implementation is Here!

A few weeks ago, we released a new version of our Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Transport Service Segment (TSS) Reference Implementation. This new release is based on the FACE Technical Standard, Edition 2.1.

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Reaching for the Stars

Listening this morning to an interview with science writer Brian Clegg, I got to thinking about how the smallest things can have the biggest impact. Clegg just published his latest book, The Quantum Age: How the Physics of the Very Small has Transformed Our Lives. In the interview, he noted that around 30% of the GDP for a developed country like the United States stems from inventions based on quantum physics, including lasers, microprocessors, and mobile phones.

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Data Connectivity in the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture

Today, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) released the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA). The IIC is the largest of the Internet of Things (IoT) consortia with over 170 members (iiconsortium.org). More importantly, it’s the only one focused on industrial systems. The first public release of the IIRA is a formal overview of the systems architecture from a high-level perspective. It covers everything from business goals to system interoperability. The architecture establishes many key technical guidelines. Critically, it also eliminates many approaches; an architecture is as much about what you can't do as what you can do.

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RTI Connext on Snappy Ubuntu

Snappy Ubuntu Core is a brand new version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system with transactional updates. Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, introduced Snappy during his keynote presentation at the 2015 Internet of Things (IoT) World conference in San Francisco. There he highlighted efforts to create an open platform that supports developer innovation and opens new markets to device and software creators. Snappy applications (Snaps) are isolated from one another completely, just as on the Ubuntu mobile phone, making it much safer to install und upgrade applications independently from each other and Ubuntu Core. RTI Connext is the perfect communication platform for applications that can evolve and be upgraded independently. Here’s why:

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Data Centricity vs. Message Centricity

In this blog post, I would like to clarify the difference between data centricity and message centricity when it comes to middleware solutions.

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Day Two at IoT World: Using DDS to Make Smart Window Shades Even Smarter

The second day at IoT World was as busy and exciting as the first day. We had good traffic at the RTI booth and many interesting conversations with people of different backgrounds on a range of topics: semiconductors, sensors, energy, telecommunication, robotics, automotive, embedded software, mobile devices, testing, management software, data storage, and on and on. Though only a small percentage of people knew about RTI prior to the show, most of our booth visitors had no problem quickly understanding the role of RTI in the world of IoT and the value DDS brings to the IoT community.

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Sneak Peek: Internet of Things World Conference in SF!

Today is the opening day at Internet of Things World Conference in San Francisco. RTI is excited to bring to the event two live product demonstrations. Both will be shown in the RTI booth at the conference expo by RTI product manager Burcu Alaybeyi.

Here is the sneak peek of what you will see.

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A Connectivity Architecture for the Industrial Internet of Things

Over time, conventional connectivity solutions can dramatically multiply development costs for your industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

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Why Attend RTI's Connext Conference 2015?

If the history of technology tells us one thing, it’s that standards are most effective when they are outside the control of any one organisation. Effective standards require the cooperation of strongly competing companies that work towards their mutual interest. This is because, by creating a standards framework that provides scope for innovation coupled with interoperability, more usable products are provided to the market, customers have the confidence to invest, and as a result the total available market revenues become much larger.

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Why DDS? Let Us Tell You!

DDS just might be THE solution to meet your needs. How can you tell? Easy!
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The Industrial Internet Consortium Takes on the Green Energy Challenge

Today, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) decided to take on the smart grid to enable large-scale efficient use of green energy. The power system is perhaps the central infrastructure of industry. Modernizing the grid is critical to building an integrated Industrial Internet of Things. Our first goal: deliver on the promise of renewable energy.

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The Industrial Internet Consortium Turns 1 This Week!

I remember my daughter’s first birthday. I remember she really enjoyed her cake. And I remember spending at least 30 minutes scrubbing it out of her hair that evening.

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The Future of Live TV

The Future of Live TV Production and Broadcast needs to be defined by the expectations of the consumer. This is not just about content access. It’s about the content experience itself.

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Implement Your Own Industrial IoT Strategy with FastTrax

What is the Industrial Internet of Things FastTrax program and why do you need it? Mark, our Director of Professional Services, answers this question in our latest 2 Minute Topic.

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The Best Programming Language for Industrial Internet of Things Applications

Recently, RedMonk released the January 2015 version of their programming language rankings. Here are the top 10 languages from their list:

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The Future of Medical

The fundamental premise of a 5-year research program that we at BK Medical are undertaking, focused on next generation ultrasound imaging systems, can be summed up in 6 words: The future of medical is distributed.

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Building Connext Applications Using Android Studio

Android Studio is the official IDE for Android application development, based on IntelliJ IDEA. The first stable build was released in December 2014, starting from version 1.0. Android Studio is designed specifically for Android development and it is available for download on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux at http://developer.android.com/tools/studio/index.html. This section will describe how to use Android Studio to build a Connext application. It assumes that Android Studio is correctly installed.

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The Future of Automotive

We're working with our customers to share with you their stories and insights, to offer you a rare glimpse into the future of systems from some of the world’s most exciting and innovative industries and development teams. Enjoy!

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The Future of Robotics

The future of robotics is distributed. Any complex robot is a distributed set of modules and systems, some autonomous, some semi-autonomous and some human controlled, all closely operating together to form a single cohesive system of interoperating parts. In telerobotics we seek to enable teleoperation of a robot and give the operator a human sense of being where the robot is being deployed, by providing video and forces of interactions back to the human operators.

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Building Flexible Manufacturing Systems for Industrie 4.0

Many discussions on the industrial internet of things (IIoT) describe how all kind of sensors will be connected to the cloud, where the big data analytics beast will consume lots of data to provide you with efficiency optimizations. Huge cost savings are especially promised in the energy and transportation sectors. The medical industry, on the other hand, sees an opportunity to provide better and safer care, by integrating patient monitoring devices, and correlating the data or by merely reducing the amount of erroneous alarms.

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From College Students to Entrepreneurs

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Connecting Your DDS Apps to Web Services Using Javascript and Node.js

One of the benefits of the Industrial Internet for manufacturers and OEM's is the access to live data for more and more applications. This data availability enables performance analytics, more robust business metrics, predictive maintenance analysis, and various other capabilities to be realized by end users and equipment manufacturers alike. In the enterprise, Web Services dominate the typical access to data. On the manufacturing floor or in deployed systems, real-time data delivery is a requirement. DDS is one of the primary infrastructures used to share large amounts of data in very low latency delivery times.

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A Noteworthy and Newsworthy 2014

2014 was an especially busy year here at RTI. We continued our dedication to innovation in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), celebrated wins with some great new customers, hosted events all over the world, and more. A lot more, really!

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IIoT for Oil and Gas Applications in 2 Minutes

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Will Work for User Feedback!

We just attended a Connext DDS Users Group meeting in Chengdu, China on November 14. Most of the conference was conducted in Mandarin Chinese, and neither Edwin (RTI VP of Sales) nor I spoke the language.

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An IIoT Sensor to Cloud Gateway Solution

One of the primary use cases for the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is to collect sensor data and deliver that to an enterprise cloud for enhanced real-time visibility in to remote operational systems. This is very important for applications such as Oil & Gas, Manufacturing Plant Production monitoring, Healthcare Patient Monitoring and Power Substation Monitoring. With advances in network infrastructure and the promise of higher bandwidth WAN (Wide Area Network) connections, the ability to pull raw sensor data across the WAN to a backend enterprise cloud where data processing and predictive maintenance solutions can be implemented, and monitored. Enabling this type of architecture provides great agility for organizations to respond and react to changing conditions for their deployed systems.

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Baker, bake me a cake!

Fall is typically when US students in their final year at university, start looking for a job for when they graduate in May. (In Spain on the other hand, students start looking for a job closer to their graduation date.) For some students it will be the first time they apply for a job. You can tell by their flip flops during the on-campus interview session, or the lame "Sorry I am late, I just rolled out of bed" excuse, or lack of preparation all together about the company ("Who are you again? What does your company do?"). Luckily these examples are more and more the exception. Many students prepare well and often ask in advance what to expect from the initial interview.

What are we looking for?

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The Attack of the DDS C++ APIs

If you are currently developing Connext DDS applications in C++, you have a single API option: Use a "traditional" DDS API that is derived from the DDS interface definition defined in the OMG IDL language.

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As American as Tapas and Apple Pie

Every morning, double decker bus after double decker bus shuttles engineers from all over the Bay Area to the GooglePlex, the Facebook compound, the Apple spaceship or the Yahoo campus. Yahoo infamously ended its work from home privilege. Google pulls out all stops to bring engineers together in the same and crowded place, showers them with perks, all to make magic happen.

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RTI in Condition-Based Maintenance Showcased at NIDays

It’s been a while since the last NI event in Austin, NI Week 2014, where RTI made a splash with its easiest to use and learn DDS offering, RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW. RTI demonstrated its Python DDS bindings working with RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW and Lego Mindstorm NXT robots simulating a closed loop control system. During NI Week 2014, we heard and engaged in many discussions on condition-based maintenance (CBM), especially in energy vertical markets. CBM has become such a hot topic, promising huge amounts of cost savings both for industry and government. Upon returning from Texas, one thing we knew was that we wanted to explore it further.

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Web Enabled DDS, The IoT, and The Cloud

Web Enabled DDS, The IoT, and The Cloud all made an appearance this Halloween at RTI HQ. Notice that the IoT has a net with things connected and RTI is underlying the whole net of things. Very clever, Stan...

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It's ALL About the People

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Understanding RTI Connext DDS Secure

Our Connext DDS Secure product is generating unprecedented interest. We rarely see so much demand for, and curiosity about, a product. It's especially unusual because the product is still in Beta yet customers are nonetheless planning to ship it asap. I thought I'd answer a few of the most common questions.

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Connext DDS + Android

Android is the dominant operating system in mobile, for both phones and tablets. As mobile eats away at the traditional desktop/laptop market, Android rivals Windows, Linux and Mac OSX as an operating system of major importance. Fueled by its application development eco system, Android is recruiting new developers at an unprecedented rate and those developers are innovating, creating novel application and taking Android into new places.

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Scaling Down: DDS into Sensor Networks

Connext Conference 2014 is taking place 8-9 October in London.

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DDS, Security, Smart People, Great Leadership, Fun Lunches, and James Gosling = Magical Internship

I was at an NBA Orlando Magic game when I received news confirming the summer internship offer from RTI. I knew from the first time I learnt about the company through my doctoral research on fault tolerance in distributed systems that RTI would be an awesome place to gain hands-on experience in my field of research. The internship far exceeded my expectations in giving me ample opportunities to learn, contribute, and grow both professionally and personally. The people, the work culture, and the profound impact RTI has in the fast emerging field of Internet of Things make it among the coolest places to be. Come along as I reminisce over my experiences as an Intern.

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Leveraging W3C Org Documents (XML, etc) in RTI Connext DDS

This is an abstract of a demo that RTI plans to have available at the RTI Connext Users Group meeting, to be held in London next month.

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Service Provision and Discovery

This is an abstract of a demo that RTI plans to have available at the RTI Connext Users Group meeting, to be held in London next month.

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Connext Conference London!

Connext Conference London is going to be held on October 8th and 9th and we'd love to see you there!

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Let Your LabVIEW VI Go Mobile.

My smartphone has become an essential part of my life. Not only do I have my phone with me wherever I go, but it provides me with capabilities that touch all sorts of aspects of my day to day life. My current favorites:

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Replacing ZeroMQ with RTI Connext DDS in an Actor Based System

Scalability is one of the key properties of modern software that allows for applications to adapt to changes in the context where they're operating. Nowadays, distributed architectures, cloud computing, and multicore processors change the development of concurrent programming such that they help to fulfill scalability requirements. In these scenarios, the traditional shared state programming has shown its limit: threads must be able to synchronize to guarantee concurrency. This can be a complex, tricky, and expensive operation that if it is not done correctly, can easily lead to race conditions, deadlocks, or starvation; possibly compromising the overall performance of the system.

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Simplifying the use of DDS

The specification for DDS provides great capability for applications that want to leverage the distribution of state data in a very customized efficient manner. I say customized here because not only can you specify the unique type of data but you can also specify the behavior of how that data will be delivered, persisted, filtered and stored within the middleware. Actually, the capabilities provided by DDS are not unique to data communications between systems. However, what DDS provides is all of this functionality within the middleware, thus eliminating the need for your applications to provide the same. No coding necessary...

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Create A P2P Distributed Application In Under 35 Lines Of C++11 Code!

If I had to give you one reason why C++ is king (and this isn't changing anytime soon) it would be this: C++ lets you create very powerful abstractions with zero or minimal runtime impact. Few languages can offer both. When designing your API, it's critical that you take advantage of what the language has to offer — leveraging its strengths to enhance, among other things, its usability.

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Improving Efficiency & Quality of Patient Care With Connext DDS

Interoperability between medical devices can improve both the quality and efficiency of patient care, saving lives and money. Fortunately, with the help of FDA's recent recognition of medical device interoperability standards and advent of the Industrial Internet of Things, interest and investment in medical device interoperability are increasing.

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Guest Post: Accelerating the IoT - Adding Security in Legacy Systems

This post, penned by Geoff Revill, was originally published on linkedIn (here). We liked it so much that we wanted to share it with you all. Thank you, Geoff!

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A Secure System Is A Happy System.

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Make Your Distributed System Cyber-Secure

How do you approach such a challenge? The larger your distributed system is, the more attack points you require to secure and defend it against hackers, and yet at the same time, the more varied your authorized access levels need to be. You may need to facilitate maintenance, updates and upgrades, monitoring and many other system-wide tasks, each requiring differing access rights to many overlaid sub-elements of your distributed system.

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RTI and the Industrial Internet Consortium

We're pretty excited to be members of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). How excited? Well, apparently excited enough to make this video — enjoy!

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How PNNL and RTI Built a Secure Industrial Control System with Connext DDS

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is located in the beautiful wine country region of Washington state. Their cyber-security research team and I just pulled off a flawless demo for a new secure solution for interconnecting commercial devices and applications used in the electrical power grid. The amount of effort it took was quite intense.

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Connext DDS, Robotic Limbs and the Borg

 Has our CTO been assimilated by the Borg and given new fancy limbs for becoming part of the collective?

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One Admin Console To Debug Them All!

Better RTI Connext® DDS debugging is now available with Admin Console!

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IoTDevCon 2014

Did you happen to attend IoTDevCon and catch Stan's talk on IoT Protocols? We hope you enjoyed it and took away some valuable insights. If you couldn't attend, you don't need to miss out on the fun! Here's what you might have seen if you were in the audience:

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UPDATE: Connext DDS 5.1 & Heartbleed

The Heartbleed bug is serious, with the potential to expose user passwords and other sensitive information.

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When RTI Staff Bring Children To Work...

... they proceed to show us how it's done!

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Free as in freedom or free beer? ... how about: gratis to use, build and research!

When I was in college (Was it that long ago?), I was able to download free (or super inexpensive) software suites. I once bought MATLAB and LabVIEW - with the signal processing and communications toolbox! - for less than $150. These were not only valuable as education tools, but also, once I became proficient, as skills on my resume and then as skills in programs I worked on. Being able to use a robust software package proved to be invaluable. Being able to use one that enables communication between disparate heterogeneous systems and applications could be a game changer once you enter the workforce or are faced with large-scale system and data challenges.

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We've Got the Golden Ticket!

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate…Golden tickets? Yes. The newest Case + Code example is probably the tastiest that we've built so far. This DDS use case example illustrates how to use RTI Connext DDS to build a chocolate factory. More specifically, this example shows a chocolate batch that is acted on by a series of station controllers according to a recipe. The batch moves along the workflow, and the station controllers add the right ingredients to turn the batch into milk, dark, or white chocolate. A manufacturing execution system (MES) controls the process by deciding how many batches to produce, and whether each batch will be dark, milk, or white chocolate. The MES also monitors the progress of each batch as it is processed by the station controllers. Delicious.

This use case can apply to more than just a chocolate factory, of course: this use case represents a class of problems where a series of applications or controllers must process an object, and update its state as they process it. These applications are usually described as discrete processing or workflow applications, and they include a broad range of industries, including:

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Reactive Programming using RTI Connext DDS and Microsoft Rx

Reactive Programming is perhaps among the top few technologies rocking the dev world recently. See ReactConf, InfoQ, and Gartner Hype Cycle. The titans of software technology are pushing reactive programming for mobile and cloud applications. I think this is simply an expansion--a major one--of proven techniques into new classes of applications, i.e., the applications joining the club are new, but the principles are really not.

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Code Generator 2: Generate Code Faster

Are you tired of waiting for all your code to be generated? Would you like to customize the generated output? Code Generator 2 is your solution. This new code generator is already available in your RTI Connext DDS 5.1.0 installation as an Early Access Release (EAR).

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RTI RefleX: Reflection-based Type Modeling for DDS Topics

Data-Centricity—a design approach that places the data first and foremost in the thinking, construction and operation of a system—is perhaps the most salient feature of DDS. Data-centric systems are everywhere: databases, for one, REST is another. Similar to databases, DDS is aware of the structure of the data used by the applications to communicate. Naturally, DDS needs a way specify the structure.

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Recording Service 5.1: Faster, More Scalable and More Concurrent than Ever!

You’re facing a problem in your DDS system: you want to use Recording Service 5.0 to record high throughput data coming in from sensor networks. The database has to be accessed by other applications while Recorder is continuously recording. Your topics are updated frequently and Recorder has to write at such speeds that it locks some of your other applications out of the database. When you open the database, you realize that although your types are small, the tables are big and full of columns you don’t really need. What can you do??

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RTI Challenges Tomorrow’s Engineers

RTI and the University of Granada have a long-lasting relationship. Not only have several of our engineers studied there, but we are also actively collaborating with the University on research and educational projects.

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Features and Enhancements and Support - Oh My!

As engineers we all know that product releases are no joke. The making of a great product is fueled by hard work, and lots of it. It takes teams of people working together to make something bigger and better than any one of them could do alone. The results generated by all of that hard work can be downright inspiring and impressive. But do you know what my favorite part of the release is? It's the feeling when we ship it to the public. When all of the ducks are in order. Every person in the company, irrespective of their group, has contributed something necessary to getting the product to that point. Seeing it all come together? That's my favorite part. I love it.

Did I mention that RTI Connext DDS 5.1.0 was released 2 weeks ago? It was!

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Build a Multi-Location Temperature-Monitoring System using Connext DDS & RTI Prototyper with Lua

Some employes in the northwest corner were feeling colder than the engineers on the south side of the building. The engineers, of course, thought it was simply because they were hotter than anybody else, but they took up the challenge to discover whether there was really a problem. In fact, we attempted to use our own RTI Connext DDS and a bunch of other technologies to prove how easy it is to integrate different systems together.

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Filter Propagation: Because Efficiency is Golden

Considering the fact that limited resources are simply a reality, learning to be efficient is key. Unfortunately, we run into many situations in our daily lives where resources are wasted due to poor utilization.

We throw away tons of advertising papers from our mailbox just because we didn't ask for them. But what if we had a mechanism to specify whether we were interested in specific advertising? Then, only the exact amount of resources — paper, manufacturing, delivering  would be consumed.

RTI began supporting this premise long ago with the addition of content filters. Subscribers use them to select which information they are interested in, and with writer-side filtering, publishers only send selected information, saving 3 precious resources: CPU utilization, memory and bandwidth.

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XTypes: Taking Type Evolution To The Next Level

RTI Connext DDS 5.0.0 provided limited support for type evolution by implementing Extensible type extensibility as defined in the "Extensible and Dynamic Topic Types for DDS" specification, commonly referred to as the DDS-XTypes spec.

With Extensible type extensibility, the types in a DDS system can evolve by adding new elements at the end.

For example, let's assume a GPS vehicle tracking system. In a first implementation, the VehicleData type may provide position information such as latitude and longitude:

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Built-in QoS Profiles

One of the great things about DDS is the variety of Quality-of-Service (QoS) settings that are available to a user. These QoS settings help to fine-tune any DDS application to fit a use case's every specification. With all of this choice, however, comes great responsibility… and possibly a few headaches along the way. QoS configuration has historically been an obstacle for DDS users and I'm happy to announce that with our latest release of RTI Connext DDS 5.1.0 we have introduced built-In QoS profiles that will help to alleviate those initial aches and pains.

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In the Age of Machines, We'll All be Programmers

How many of you know how your car engine works well enough to fix basic issues? How many of you have a parent or kid that knows how to do these things? It wasn't long ago at all that this was pretty common knowledge in much of the US, at least for folks with an engineering bent, even if they never worked in the auto industry. I still have a rather tremendous number of tools, jacks and stands, and even an appropriately greasy Chilton's Repair Manual cluttering up my garage. However, the reality is that my current car is so reliable that it's not productive for me to be prepared to fix or tweak it. To get where I'm going these days, I just need to be able to drive it.

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The Machine Revolution Needs YOU!

"Computers" have rapidly worked their way into every corner of our lives. I put computers in quotes, because I think that the term evokes an image that understates the extent of their pervasiveness.

The reality is that a huge percentage of modern electronics on the market contains a computer of some size these days, at least by the most generic functional definition. You likely have a hundred of these devices in your home hiding in audio-video equipment, thermostats, remote controls, gas and electrical meters, phones, kitchen appliances and so on. There are 30-100 computers in a modern car. When we get to the fundamentals of life (internet, power, water and food) or to how to keep society ordered (traffic lights and emergency services) the number of devices is even greater.

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DDS and Delegated ... Durability?

Implementation requirements seem to come in waves, where several different customers will come forward with the same specific requirement. Sometimes this is driven by a government RFI, so they are working from the same blueprint. Sometimes the companies might be in different industries looking at different required results, and stumble upon the same solution set requirements. One example of the different source, same result request was "How do we enable load balancing using RTI Connext DDS?"

Several recent customers had a specific need that wasn't directly addressed by our configuration options or documentation. Thinking about the implementation requirements afterwards, I came up with a neologism that describes what they were looking for.

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Introducing Case + Code Solutions

I am excited that we have released and announced Case + Code, a new set of solutions to help developers to build distributed systems using RTI Connext DDS. Each Case + Code solution consists of three parts:

  • Description of a real-world distributed system use case
  • Explanation of essential design, code and configuration
  • Working code example
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A Day in Your Life with the Internet of Things

Good morning, Irving. It's 6:40am on October 8, 2023. Let's follow you today, a day in the Internet of Things.

First, you wake up a bit early because your clock realized there's more traffic than usual on the way to work. Your coffee is ready, your house is warmed up, and your dog is waiting for his walk.

However, your bedside health status monitor tells you that your heart was erratic last night. It's been communicating with your cloud-based health analytic service, and the algorithm asks you how you feel. Unfortunately, your chest feels heavy. The monitor notes a disturbing anomaly and recommends you call 911. (We didn't say this was going to be a good day in the Internet of Things.)

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DDS Entry for DEBS 2013 Grand Challenge

Earlier this year, the Research Group at RTI supported graduate students from Vanderbilt University developing a real-time event-based system to distribute and analyze high-velocity sensor data collected from a soccer game case study used in the DEBS 2013 Grand Challenge. Sensors were located on the feet of all players, the goalies' hands, and the ball. Data was being generated from each of these sensors at a rate of 200 times per second (2000 times per second for the ball). The challenge required developing four algorithms that processed the data in real-time to produce interesting statistics for the game. The high-level architecture is shown above.

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The Internet of Things or Many Internets of Things?

The hot topic in the world of computing and technology these days is clearly the Internet of Things (IoT). We will surely hear and learn more about IoT over the months and years to come, as the concept has serious staying power. Why? Because the IoT holds the promise of doing for devices what the Internet has done for people: realizing the enormous value that is unlocked when entities (people, devices) can freely share information and easily exchange services.

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Programming Lego Mindstorms using RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW

National Instruments provides “LabVIEW For Lego Mindstorms,” an Add-On specifically designed for programming the Lego NXT brick. It works great if you are a LabVIEW user. But what if you want to integrate it with other applications, written in popular programming languages such as Java, C or C++? RTI DDS Toolkit for LabVIEW provides an additional set of blocks that you can use to easily share data between the NXT brick and applications written in other programming languages.

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Send Us Your Search Terms

We've been working hard on the RTI Community site to quickly provide you with the information you want, and answers to the questions you ask us.

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The Path to Semantic Interoperability (Part 2)

What are Syntactic and Sementic Interoperability, and how do you achieve them? 

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The Path to Semantic Interoperability (Part 1)

For systems to interoperate, they must integrate. Integration is an activity that can be trivial (the interfaces match!) or challenging (umm... which side is up and what is that?). When integration isn’t straightforward, a component must be used to adapt the systems to one another.

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The Future of DDS

One of the really satisfying things about working with DDS is the diversity of applications where it finds traction. As we approach the half way point in 2013, RTI is fortunate to be experiencing a record number of DDS design wins, and the breadth of markets continues to amaze me. This year, we've been designed into systems as diverse as medical instrumentation, industrial automation, manufacturing, process automation, and a variety of defense and homeland security systems.

As these systems scale in terms of fan out, physical distance, and sophistication of data exchange, DDS becomes more and more relevant. Complexity is truly our best friend!

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Dynamically Scriptable Distributed Components in Lua using DDS

At the RTI Labs we are excited about the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have been working on a new component model that makes it really easy to construct sophisticated distributed systems without needing to compile or generate a single line of code. Furthermore, the code can be changed on the fly, without having to restart components. The global state of a component is preserved between executions while its code can change, thus allowing for component behavior to change dynamically. The wiring of the components is specified in a separate configuration file. A container loads the configuration file, binds the communication resources to the logical I/O ports on the component, and runs the component code.

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Community: A Major RTI Initiative

RTI launched a major community initiative this year. Our goal? To enable dynamic and powerful community collaboration. Founded on the best ecosystem in the real-time middleware industry, the RTI Community will ease communication and sharing between our customers, employees, and partners.

Many resources are already live on community.rti.com! The forum is energized, with many of our engineers in active conversations, offering solutions and advice to customer queries. And you won't want to miss the new offerings:

  • New and expanded knowledge base
  • Best-practices guide
  • Glossary of domain terms
  • Examples library
  • File exchange
  • Searchable documents and media
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Internet of Things: Collect Device Data with MQTT & Use Device Data with DDS

As David Barnett points out in his recent blog, the Internet of Things needs many protocols. Two of them, MQTT and DDS, are rapidly becoming the best ways to connect large numbers of devices. The confusion is understandable; the high-level positioning is similar. Both can connect thousands of devices into real-time machine to machine (M2M) networks.

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eLearning Provides Affordable, Easy Access to Service Engineer Expertise

Our service engineers are incredible resources. They not only know our products inside and out, but they also stay informed about complementary technologies and integration points.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that they’re accomplished communicators in their own right, able to function smoothly in various work environments, and comfortable with small teams and in front of large audiences. They evangelize, negotiate, and perhaps most importantly, teach our customers how to get the most out of Connext DDS and our related services.

We absolutely wish we could clone them. But since that technology isn’t available, our service engineers sat down and recorded their expertise on video. They made a wide range of information publicly available, from a basic introduction to DDS, to walking through Connext DDS capabilities, to advanced debugging techniques.

RTI has made a number of these video training modules available completely free on YouTube. These free titles include:

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Streaming Video via Satellite with DDS

Much research and many demonstrations establish the viability of streaming video with DDS. Both the University of Granada and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid pioneered work in this field.

But it’s a whole other issue to deploy it in a live system, and for that system to be using a satellite link. This is what Rheinmetall achieved for the European Defence Agency Future Interoperability of Camp Protection Systems (FICAPS) program.

In early 2012, Rheinmetall demonstrated a video feed that used DDS for both video control and content. The company delivered a 25Hz screen refresh rate for 600x800 displays over an IntelSat connection. The content was encoded using H.264/MPEG4 (the same format used by YouTube and Vimeo), which resulted in an average packet size per frame of about 5Kbytes.

Was this a difficult task?

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RTI Connext DDS Best Practices on the Community Portal

We’ve been working busily away this year on trying to make it easier to get started with RTI Connext DDS. Anybody who uses RTI Connext DDS knows that it’s a powerful tool - but, like any powerful tool, you can do amazing things when you use it effectively or you can cause yourself trouble by using it the wrong way.

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MQTT and DDS for M2M: Disparate Approaches to the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been getting a lot of attention lately. The impetus behind some of this is the recent announcement of an OASIS initiative to standardize the IBM MQTT protocol as a means for “Things” to communicate. This New York Times blog post provides some background on MQTT and the announcement.

If MQTT gives you a sense of déjà vu, then you’re likely familiar with the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) standard. Like MQTT, DDS was designed specifically to address machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, the foundation for the IoT.

However, while they may share common aspirations, MQTT and DDS are very different standards. Each is optimized around different assumptions about how the IoT will be composed:

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Dirty Little Secret of Software Pricing

RTI has been selling software for two decades, and in that time we’ve learned that software is a very strange beast.

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Integration vs. Interoperation

As a systems engineer, I hear people talking about system integration and interoperation a lot, and it's not surprising. Achieving interoperation of disparate system components is no small feat. And system integration? When it's done well, system integration is almost an art form - the devil is in the details.

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DDS Programming using Modern C++

Resurgence of C++ is spreading in many industries. International computer system standards that target C++ for application portability, are quickly adopting modern C++. At the Object Management Group (OMG)—an international standards consortium—the DDS-PSM-Cxx and the IDL2C++11 standards have been ahead of the curve. The DDS-PSM-Cxx is among the family of standards around the core Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard for developing high-performance distributed real-time systems. The DDS-PSM-Cxx standard, officially known as the "ISO/IEC C++ 2003 Language Platform Specific Mapping (PSM) for DDS", was finalized in December 2012. DDS-PSM-Cxx provides a portable C++ API for DDS programming, which is modern, idiomatic, STL-friendly, expressive, safe, and efficient. DDS-PSM-Cxx targets C++03 and makes special provisions for ensuring portability in C++11 environment.

Eager to learn more on how this shiny new way of programming DDS looks like and so cool about it? Read on...

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Breaking Stovepipes -- Agile Battlefield Systems Integration for SIGINT/COMINT

There are times when we at RTI get deeply involved in the problems our customers face when they are trying to solve their customer's problems. We especially love it when we work on deep engagements with companies like Plath GmbH and present a jointly-authored article to the august audience of the JED (Journal of Electronic Defence).

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Keeping Today's (and Tomorrow's) Networks Safe with DDS

Recent Ars Technica articles covered these topics:

Headlines like these scream security-Security-SECURITY!

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A Compelling Business Case for DDS

We are constantly espousing the technical advantages of the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard. It is truly far more technically capable than alternative middleware systems such as AMQP, JBOSS, MQTT and internally-developed efforts. However, we don’t spend enough time discussing the financial advantages of DDS solutions.

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RTI Support Corner: Say Hello to Our New Knowledge Base!

We recently rolled out our new knowledge base located at http://community.rti.com/kb. I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss the reasons we decided to move to a new knowledge base and the benefits users will see.

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Multicast and Other Magic

Many of our customers evaluate our products after having built and maintained their own networking middleware. Their middleware efforts typically started as an interesting side project. Over time, as more and more applications needed to communicate, and different types of protocols and applications joined their network, maintaining this software became cumbersome and expensive.

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Bug Days

Inspired by Atlassian’s ShipIt Days and admiring the enthusiasm of the hackathon all-nighters at Facebook, we recently hosted our first Bug Days event at RTI.

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Mixing Return Codes and Exceptions in the RTI Connext C++ API

Happy New Year!!

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Free Licensing of RTI Connext Messaging for universities and IR&D groups

You've probably heard by now that RTI has a new RTI Open Community Source distribution of our DDS software. But that's not all we offer for free. We still give away licenses to our full RTI’s Connext DDS Messaging software suite to universities and independent research and development (IR&D) groups.

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RTI Support Corner: The right tool for the job

As a member of the RTI support team, I have learned how invaluable our tools can be while investigating customer cases. I'm hoping that this short introduction to our tools suite will be informative and persuasive enough to get you excited about going out and integrating our tools into your RTI Connext application development workflow.

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Managing the life cycle of resources in Java 7: the new try-with-resources block

Java 7 includes a small language change to handle the destruction of resources in a try statement. The new code block, known as try-with-resources, looks like this:

try (MyResource myResource = new MyResource()) {
   // use myResource
}

MyResource is a class that implements java.lang.AutoCloseable. The Java Virtual Machine will call myResource.close() whenever the program leaves the try block (whether it exits normally or after throwing an exception).

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JAUS over DDS

Many of you have expressed interest in using DDS as an interoperable transport for JAUS. I am pleased to report that RTI is participating with the AS-4 Unmanned Systems Committee--the JAUS people--to explore the possibility of JAUS over DDS. The AS-4 JAUS/DDS task group has drafted ARP6227, a recommended practice that describes how JAUS Service Interface Definition Language (JSIDL) specifications can be mapped to the OMG standard DDS Interface Definition Language (IDL). Future work will investigate transport issues relevant to a common approach to JAUS over DDS, and that work could lead to an AS-4 standard.

For the latest news and official updates on AS-4 JAUS/DDS task group progress, follow @jausdds on Twitter.

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Achieving fault tolerance by replicating DataWriters

DDS is often used to build mission critical systems consisting of multiple components executing simultaneously and collaborating together to achieve a certain task. In such systems, there are usually several components that are critically important for the overall functioning. Those components require extra attention when designing the system to ensure that the likelihood of them failing is minimized.

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RTI Connext Messaging @ 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp

There are many good reasons to live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, I found another one. There are 100s of technology events in this area every year. Counting meetups and special interest groups, it will be in 1000s. Among the best and the biggest conferences is the Silicon Valley Code Camp (SVCC). SVCC is an annual conference on a variety of software technology topics. The best part is that it is an absolutely free (as in "free beer") event organized by developers for developers. Yes, free talks, free food, free coffee, free t-shirts (for speakers)! All you have to do is register and show up. This year over 2000 developers/speakers/volunteers gathered @ Foothill College on Oct. 6th and 7th to attend nearly 220 sessions.

What a great opportunity to talk about all the exciting technology RTI is developing! So RTI came, RTI saw, RTI conquered! RTI presented "Communication Patterns Using Data-Centric Publish/Subscribe." Here is a short summary and the slides for the same.

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Practical Freedom and Open Business - As applied to DDS and Open Source

The open source movement, and notably the Free Software Foundation, rightly positions its value proposition as really about freedom. Their lofty ideals, such as guaranteed access to source, unrestricted sharing, and open collaboration, drive the success of many key works. “Free speech” software is a beautiful concept.

Unfortunately, these lofty ideals are often not enough in practice. Open source software (OSS) famously struggles to find successful business models. Without financial support, many projects languish. Users, especially users of emerging core infrastructure software, need more. They need the practical freedoms and open policies that ensure a healthy supplier relationship and mutual success. These freedoms are no less profound.

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Now available: RTI Connext 5.0 "Big Pine"

We are very proud to announce that RTI Connext 5.0, here at RTI better known as "Big Pine", is now available for download! As Jan already pointed out in his blog post earlier this summer, we like to name our product releases after mountains. And with over 70 new features Big Pine is true to its name; it's the most feature-loaded release we've ever done.

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Introducing RTI Administration Console

In the Connext Tools 5.0.0 release, we added a brand new application, the RTI Administration Console. There are many great features in this new tool, and here are a few highlights:

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An introduction to building collaborative finite-state machines with DDS

If you are a software developer, you have probably used or are familiar with the concept of finite-state machines (FSMs), or state machines for short. Wikipedia has an article about it that explains the basics. The state machine can be a powerful technique to model the behavior of a software component. However, extending that concept to a distributed environment, with multiple components participating in the machine simultaneously, is not trivial. This article is the first in a series that describes how DDS can help you building collaborative FSMs in a fault-tolerant and scalable way.

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Stable as a rock

At RTI we track when issues were introduced in the code base. In addition to a few new features and the experimental XML-based application configuration and RTI Prototyper, RTI Connext 4.5f included a number of bug fixes.

A lot of extra time was spent to make RTI Connext 4.5f rock solid. After about 4 months since its release, here is an update on where we stand. More than 50% of our customers have downloaded RTI Connext 4.5f. Understandably not everybody is upgrading to the latest release, as some programs have already passed (flight) testing and are quite happy with the version of RTI Connext DDS they have deployed in production.

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RTI Experimental Products: LabVIEW Integration and Application Instrumentation

If you are an early adopter who enjoys living on the cutting edge, RTI's experimental or prototype products are for you! The main goal of sharing these products is to gather early feedbacks from interested users, and these feedbacks will be used to help drive our products' future requirements.

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Climbing Mountains

As a California company many of us love the outdoors. Our computers are named after national or state parks: Mammoth, Tioga, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, El Capitan, Kirkwood or Pipestone to name a few. (Although more recent machines have been named after the Big Bang Theory: Bazinga!) Also, most of our releases are named after big mountains: Sawtooth, Lassen, Mammoth, etc.

Last quarter we released RTI Connext 4.5f, internally named Aneto after the highest mountain in the Pyrenees and Spain's third highest mountain. It was also a tribute to our new Spanish Development Center in Granada.

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XML-Based application configuration and prototyping

RTI Connext® opens a new horizon to make life easier for users. Proof of that is the new and experimental XML-Based application creation feature that allows defining the static part of a DDS system in a XML configuration file. By means of a new set of APIs, all the entities defined in the configuration file can be created automatically at run time so that they can directly be retrieved and used.

For example, let's consider the following Participant configuration:

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When Charisma and Vision Are Not Enough

I attended the Inc. Leadership Forum last week. One of the speakers, Samuel B. Bacharach, Cornell University professor and published author, gave a presentation titled: When Charisma and Vision Are Not Enough: From Ideas to Execution. His talk hit home with me.

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RTI Support Corner: Welcome to the new series!

Welcome to the first of many blog postings from our Support team. The Support team members are excited to begin this new series which will give us an opportunity to informally present common situations our customers face in addition to tips and tricks that can help readers just starting out with RTI Connext. The postings in this series are not meant to be as detailed as our Solutions in our knowledge base but they will contain enough information to be beneficial to the end user. If you have any questions on what’s presented in the postings, please feel free to leave comments and we’ll respond. If you have an actual support question, please contact us directly using one of the channels mentioned below.

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Top 10 Ways to Improve your IA Business

In the industrial automation industry, it is estimated that only 1 in 10 employees have the information they need to do their jobs effectively. How can you give your plant managers and operators the data they need, when they need it? And can you do this while increasing ROI, reducing complexity and freeing yourself from vendor lock-in?

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Reliability isn't just for getting everything that was sent....

I got a email from a user that basically stated that "as a general rule, sending data with BEST_EFFORT Reliability qos (i.e., using nominal UDP semantics) should provide better performance than sending data with RELIABLE Reliability QOS on a stable, clean and thus relatively lossless network".

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RTI Goes Parallel

Micro-processors, throughout their history, have tenaciously delivered on their promise of doing more with less: less time, less space and now less power. The ways to do that, however, have changed profoundly in the last decade or so. Modern processors are not faster but fatter and denser. Chances are you are reading this post on a dual core if you’re using a handheld or half a dozen cores if you are on a desktop. The web-server that is serving this content probably has cores in the range of high teens, if not more. Soon, 100s of cores will cease to be a novelty – welcome many-cores!

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"Extensible Types" Spec Finalized at OMG

I'm very pleased to announce that the much-anticipated "Extensible and Dynamic Topic Types for DDS" (DDS-XTypes) specification has finished its finalization process at the Object Management Group (OMG) meeting that just completed in Reston, VA. As the lead author of the spec and chair of the finalization process, I for one am excited by what we've accomplished and where we're going with this technology.

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TCP Transport for DDS

As a lot of you know, the DDS-RTPS interoperability protocol for DDS most frequently runs on top of UDP/IP. DDS implementations, RTI Data Distribution Service included, provide support for a number of other lower-level transport protocols. But UDP provides the greatest flexibility in terms of both reliability and timing, and it's the transport that the OMG mandates that vendors support in order to claim interoperability.

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New Video: Data-Centric Integration Demo - Android

A data-centric approach simplifies integration significantly, and this video provides a great case in point. RTI's Shapes Demo application currently runs on Linux, Windows, and also in a web browser through RTI's Web Integration Service (available as a preview release). This demo shows how a native Android application can integrate with all of these existing Shapes applications without modifying any existing code!

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New Video: DDS in a Nutshell

A data-centric architecture helps you build and integrate systems efficiently and effectively — I've written about that before. And it's all around you even microblogging services like Facebook and Twitter depend upon it.

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The Data-Centric Modus Operandi: Part 2

An earlier post of mine, The Data-Centric Modus Operandi, has garnered a couple of good comments recently. I was in the process of responding to one of them when it occurred to me that (1) a response longer than the WordPress comment field probably didn't belong there and that (2) more readers might have the same question, and an answer in the comments wouldn't be very visible. So here it is, my feature-length response:

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DDS Interoperability Demo

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week's Object Management Group (OMG) technical meeting included a four-vendor Data Distribution Service (DDS) interoperability demonstration. This was an impromptu dry run for the next demo, scheduled for the March 21-25 OMG meeting in Arlington, VA. Reserve your tickets now to see it live!

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DDS Update: New C++ and Java APIs, Security Enhancements

The Object Management Group (OMG) held its quarterly technical meeting this week in Santa Clara, CA, just a few miles from RTI’s headquarters. I am pleased to report progress on several significant Data Distribution Service (DDS) related standards:

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The Data-Centric Modus Operandi

DDS stands for "Data Distribution Service." Data distribution is not messaging, and it is not eventing. However, data distribution subsumes messaging and eventing as use cases to a large extent, and as a result it often gets lumped into those categories.

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Highways in the Sky

On cool and clear afternoons in the San Francisco Bay Area, I often see jet contrails going north to south. I imagine passengers jets from East Asia or cargo jets from Anchorage, Alaska flying to Los Angeles (LAX). While it would be logical to assume these lines trace straight line paths between airports, aircraft fly slightly crooked paths through a series of predetermined way points. These airways are analogous to a highway system crossing the continent by linking major cities along the way.

Like the U.S. Interstate Highway System, air traffic control systems are based on 50-year old technologies, in the case of air traffic control, ground-based radars and voice communications over radio.

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Independent analysis quantifies ROI of RTI Data Distribution Service

Embedded Market Forecasters (EMF) just announced the availability of valuable new research that analyzes the Return On Investment (ROI) of different middleware approaches. I'm happy to report that RTI Data Distribution Service outperformed both commercial and in-house alternatives in nearly every category EMF measured. Given this, it is not surprising that EMF also found RTI was the most widely used embedded middleware supplier.

This broad-based research provides the first independent quantification of the reduction in integration time, cost and risk you can expect from RTI Data Distribution Service. Findings include:

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NASA HRS Program and RTI

Yesterday’s press release on RTI’s success with the NASA Human Robotics Program is a great occasion for my first blog entry.

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RTI Routing Service for DDS

The Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard is now five years old and has enjoyed very rapid adoption. RTI alone has about 400 commercial customers (a sampling of which are listed here) and is supporting nearly 100 other research projects.

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Mutexes and Semaphores

This post doesn't contain any new information or clever opinions. It simply points out a few articles published elsewhere that this humble author suspects his readers will find relevant. (Members of the Embedded group on LinkedIn may have seen some of these articles already, but they have relevance to any multi-threaded system, embedded or not.)

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Persisting data in a Real-Time distributed system

Most of the distributed systems we deal with at RTI have performance constraints at their core. Either the system is pushing the limits of the available resources, or the action-reaction timing is critical for a given event. In other words the constraint might be on throughput or latency (or increasingly latency vs. throughput). In these kinds of systems persisting data is a real challenge. In many systems it is becoming a requirement that the distributed data is persisted. Take for example flight systems and automated trading systems, where persisting data is necessary to adhere to regulatory demands. At RTI we have set out to make persisting distributed data as minimally intrusive, performant and configurable as possible.

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Thinking Differently About Messaging

You may have heard system architects talking about "data-centric design," or you may have attended an RTI training class and heard one of us use that term. Is data-centricity just a new buzzword to make messaging seem cool again? No indeed!

Message-centric design and data-centric design are similar, but they also differ in important ways. Let's start with some terminology. There's a reason why DDS (Data Distribution Service) says "sample" where JMS says "message": those words are intended to suggest a different mental model to you.

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Complex Event Processing – Making sense of all your data

So you have a distributed system and you’re happily sending data between nodes in your system. The consumer applications are consuming the data your producer applications are producing, and everything is running smoothly. Now, that doesn’t sound like any system you know does it? Distributed systems are by nature complex. Nodes and applications are not straight producers or consumers; they’re a bit of both. And there’s always some resource contention. This is where Complex Event Processing (CEP) comes on the scene. CEP allows you to run queries on streams of data in real-time, either transforming the data or triggering alerts based on data content. Let me explain by talking about a couple of use cases.

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Getting Started: The Easy Way

Anyone who has obtained a software product knows that there will be a learning curve that needs to be traversed before they can become proficient at using that software. This is also sometimes called the "Out of box experience". And different software products have very different "Getting Started" practices for their software.

For infrastructure software, this "Out of box experience" can be a challenging task because a developer has to learn how to take this generic software that can do many things and apply it to solving his/her problems. For software products that provide access through an Application Programming Interface (API), this usually occurs with a general program called "HelloWorld".

In the realm of a distributed infrastructure this "HelloWorld" basically shows how to publish and receive a simple text message that contains "Hello World!". Using an application like this is very useful because it shows a developer what the basic minimum steps are to getting an application that can communicate. And this does provide a little context on how to use their new API. What this doesn't do, however, is that it doesn't show them how to get their application specific messages

Here at RTI, we take the concept of "Getting Started" to a new level with our Data Distribution Service (DDS) product.

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Tim - the network tool man - Taylor

When I moved to the US a decade ago, Home Improvement was a popular television sitcom, starring Tim Allen as Tim the tool man Taylor, a host of a made up home improvement show.

Among the support team, when we learn about a new debugging tool, we frequently joke about 'our network debugging tool belt'. Over the years, this tool belt has grown to a nice variety of debugging tools, especially when you include platform specific debugging tools. We currently support a great variety of platforms: from the enterprise platforms (Linux, Solaris, Windows) to various embedded platforms, (including VxWorks, LynxOS and Integrity).

Below is a list of the tools we frequently use on support. I am leaving out platform specific tools, tools to monitor how a particular network stack is processing network traffic (e.g netstat) and general operating system debugging tools (vmstat, cpustat, lsof, gdb, strace etc.).

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Reconsidering Your Priorities

A lot of people who have never used RTI's infrastructure ask, "How do I prioritize my messages so that more important messages arrive before less important ones?" Yet almost no one worries about that once they've actually used our software. Why is that?

The reason is that people coming from competing solutions are used to having lots of intermediate hops in between data producers and data consumers. When the producing application sends data, maybe it goes to a per-node messaging daemon, maybe it goes to a central server; the process is then reversed on the way from the daemon or server to the final subscribing application. All these extra message queues have to be ordered somehow, and people want to know that the ordering is under their control. That makes perfect sense.

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Be your support engineer's best friend

In my previous post, I detailed two resources for answers to commonly asked questions or to look up specific known issues. Of course that requires you to at last know what to ask or look for. Before getting there you probably want to find out more about how the middleware is doing, or in the event of a defect, contextual information to provide to the RTI support team. Other than a reproducer, the following configuration, error and status information makes life for a support engineer so much easier.

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Throughput Performance: Comparing Apples to Apples

If you're serious about the performance of your distributed system, you probably read with interest the performance claims made by network middleware vendors. And if you're a network middleware vendor, you've probably published your share of performance claims. (RTI has comprehensive performance numbers available for both our DDS and JMS APIs.) But in order to know which claims are meaningful -- and more importantly, which are useful to you -- it's important to understand what you're reading. In the words on one of my coworkers, "many apples are compared to rhinoceroses."

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Solutions! Solutions! Solutions!

Leading the support team at Real-Time Innovations, I get to experience first hand how our customers are using our middleware. The type of questions range from simple how-to questions to more involved inquiries on recommended ways of implementing a particular communication pattern. And of course there is the occasional defect. In my maiden blog post I wanted to highlight existing resources to get answers to some of these questions.

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