Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Exploring MQTT – Understanding Quality of Service (QoS) with DataHub

7 min read

By Connor Mason on Nov 30, 2023 2:00:00 PM

MQTT continues to grow in popularity and implementation within the industrial automation community. For those who are still new and learning about this protocol, MQTT is a light-weight transfer protocol built around a publish/subscribe architecture. In simple terms, MQTT can be compared to a mail envelope, providing structure and a common appearance with a supported delivery system, while the actual content of that envelope can vary widely.

Because of the ambiguity of message content, implementations of MQTT can be utilized for various needs across segments in our industry, though the varying message content presents its own issues that are outside the scope of this article. There are multiple solutions for providing structure and standards around the message content that we will discuss in future posts.

This blog will primarily focus on the reliability of message delivery based on the concept of Quality of Service (QoS). We will be utilizing the Cogent DataHub to showcase these options, as it can act as both the MQTT Broker & Client. It is important to note that this information can be applied to various MQTT implementations, including other Software Toolbox product offerings with MQTT, such as OPC Router or the TOP Server MQTT client driver.

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Did You Know Google IoT Core is Shutting Down? Start Preparing Now!

4 min read

By Zachary Parham on Oct 27, 2022 2:00:00 PM

If you have been following our blog for a while or have been exploring IoT platforms available in the market, you may know that the Google Cloud Platform combined with the Google IoT Core is a frequently used combination in the industry. Google has recently announced that it will be shutting down the Google IoT Core. In doing so, Google is forcing many of its Cloud Platform users to switch platforms.

In this blog post, we will review detailed information about the alternatives to the Google Cloud Platform that are available for use with all of the IoT capable products we provide, and how the change works.

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Video Tutorial: Using DataHub Advanced MQTT Parsing

4 min read

By Win Worrall on Aug 25, 2022 2:00:00 PM

Cogent DataHub® is a gateway that enables a wide range of connectivity interfaces for different data sources such as OPC UA, OPC DA, ODBC, DDE and so much more.  Included in those available interfaces is the ability to act as both an MQTT client and broker even including Sparkplug B support for enabling MQTT integration with many other types of systems that don't natively support MQTT.

A key facet of the MQTT specification that can sometimes be complex for our users and cause issues with compatibility between DataHub and other MQTT clients and brokers is how to handle the formatting of MQTT messages. As you may or may not know, while MQTT does specify how to construct a message header for routing by an MQTT broker, it does NOT specify the actual message content. This tends to be a challenge when MQTT clients from different developers need to work together, since they need to be using the same format for the message content.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to use DataHub V10's Advanced MQTT Parser capability to specify flexible formats that will work with virtually any other vendor's MQTT clients and brokers.

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Enabling Rapid Interoperability Between OPC UA & MQTT Sparkplug B

5 min read

By John Weber on Jul 21, 2022 2:00:00 PM

Ongoing digital transformation and operational visibility initiatives continue to demand the integration of different systems using different technologies. With increased adoption of secure OPC UA and MQTT Sparkplug B, it’s only to be expected that users will have systems that support one or the other technology but need to communicate with each other.

Although OPC UA supports a publish-subscribe mechanism with OPC UA PubSub, and adoption of OPC UA is strong and growing, the reality is there will be situations where the user is already using MQTT Sparkplug B and needs to integrate it with OPC UA or vice-versa, without writing custom code or going through complex configuration.

Software Toolbox was founded in 1996 on the principal of making data and device integration easy by using configurable off-the-shelf software to avoiding writing custom solutions and knowing the pros and cons of and ins and outs of many technologies. That mission remains strong, as you’ll see, as we discuss interoperating between OPC UA and MQTT in this blog post.

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DCOM Hardening & Your Alternatives to Eliminate Security Risk & Stress

10 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jun 16, 2022 2:00:00 PM

If you’re reading this post, you’ve almost certainly at least heard of DCOM. And, possibly, you’re one of many who have struggled over the years with the trials of configuring remote OPC Classic connections between machines where DCOM inevitably increased your time and difficulty for what should be a relatively painless task.

DCOM Hardening is Permanent in 6d 1h 34m 0s

DCOM hardening with no option to disable it is coming up fast - March 14, 2023. If you haven't already made a plan to either migrate away from DCOM communications entirely or address how to keep your process systems that will still rely on remote OPC Classic over DCOM working reliably, time is running out. Downtime is costly and a system that is using OPC Classic and hasn't been evaluated to determine the effects of DCOM hardening could be vulnerable to communication breaks.

This blog post discusses 6 types of options to relieve DCOM hardening pain. These include alternatives to DCOM that cover a range of use cases depending on what software you already have installed and your existing system architecture. We also have a comprehensive guide that you'll be able to request that addresses what DCOM changes will be needed if you're not in a position to migrate currently.  Our technical support team are also willing to discuss your specific requirements with you, so you're not on your own out there! 

Software Toolbox Products DCOM Readiness and Action FAQs

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How to Easily Integrate Your OPC Router Data with Google Cloud IoT

10 min read

By Zachary Parham on Apr 14, 2022 2:00:00 PM

The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is Google’s cloud solution that brings all of Google’s cloud computing services together. Google’s own services, such as Google Search and YouTube, run on the GCP, but end users can also use their cloud services.

Google Cloud Platform, for the Internet of Things (IoT) area, offers their “Cloud IoT Core” services, which provide the functionalities to connect large quantities of devices via an integrated MQTT broker. In this blog post, we will show the necessary steps for connecting this Cloud IoT Core to the different data interfaces supported by OPC Router.

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Top 6 Key Features in DataHub V10

8 min read

By Win Worrall on Jan 4, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Cogent DataHub is known for its extensive connectivity to OPC DA, OPC UA, OPC A&E, Databases, Excel, ODBC, DDE, Linux, Modbus.  The latest Version 10 release adds a huge amount of new or expanded functionality that further confirms our saying that "once the data is in DataHub, it can go anywhere".

In this blog post, I'll provide insight into key new features including support for OPC UA Alarms & Conditions, support for Sparkplug B for both the MQTT Client and Broker, support for reading and writing with multiple popular external historians and more. Not only will I cover what these new functionalities provide but how they can help you deliver secure, integrated connections within and between your plants, to the cloud and beyond, giving you the data and perspective you need to make critical decisions for your enterprise.

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How to Easily Integrate Your Data with Google Cloud IoT Core

11 min read

By Zachary Parham on Jul 8, 2021 2:00:00 PM

IoT, IIoT, MQTT, Connectivity of Things, Big Data, The Cloud - by now, you've heard these terms in some way, shape or form.  Perhaps you're working on a project requiring you to push and/or pull important process or business data to/from a cloud solution. Big data analytics applications ranging from predictive maintenance to "smart" manufacturing, amongst many other use cases, are becoming more and more common.

And Google© is a household name both in the private and professional world. Chances are, you got here using Google – whether through a Google search, or by using Google Chrome (or both). But did you know that Google has their own cloud solution called Google Cloud IoT Core©? Amongst many other things, Google Cloud IoT Core acts as an MQTT broker for storing and sharing important data in a secure cloud along with artificial intelligence and analytics and many other IoT services.

But how do you go from your data sources to Google Cloud IoT Core? In this second post in a series about connecting DataHub to IoT solutions (if you missed our first post on connecting to Amazon AWS IOT Core©, click here), we'll step through how you can configure Google Cloud IoT Core and connect it to your process and business data sources using the Cogent DataHub IoT Gateway©.

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