Automated Industrial IoT-Device Integration using the OpenPnP Reference Architecture

We published a new journal article in Wiley’s “Software Practice and Experience“. A preprint PDF is available. Here’s the summary: “The vision of plug-and-produce control systems has been pursued for more than 15 years, but existing approaches fell short regarding configuration tasks and vendor-neutrality. This paper introduces the standards-based IoT reference architecture “OpenPnP”, which allows largely automating the configuration and integration tasks of industrial commissioning processes. This paper demonstrates how OpenPnP can reduce configuration and integration efforts up to 90 percent in typical settings, while potentially scaling well up to tens of thousands of communicated signals.”

Architectural Decision Forces at Work: Experiences in an Industrial Consultancy Setting

New paper published at ESEC/FSE 2019 in Tallinn, Estonia: “The concepts of decision forces and the decision forces viewpoint were proposed to help software architects to make architectural decisions more transparent and the documentation of their rationales more explicit. However, practical experience reports and guidelines on how to use the viewpoint in typical industrial project setups are not available. Existing works mainly focus on basic tool support for the documentation of the viewpoint or show how forces can be used as part of focused architecture review sessions. With this paper, we share experiences and lessons learned from applying the decision forces viewpoint in a distributed industrial project setup, which involves consultants supporting architects during the re-design process of an existing large software system. Alongside our findings, we describe new forces that can serve as template for similar projects, discuss challenges applying them in a distributed consultancy project, and share ideas for potential extensions.”


OpenPnP: a Plug-and-Produce Architecture for the Industrial Internet of Things

Our paper at the ICSE 2019 conference in Montreal proposed a reference architecture for interoperable Industrie 4.0 systems:

“Industrial control systems are complex, software-intensive systems that manage mission-critical production processes. Commissioning such systems requires installing, configuring, and integrating thousands of sensors, actuators, and controllers and is still a largely manual and costly process. We introduce the vendor-neutral OpenPnP reference architecture, which can largely automate the configuration and integration tasks for commissioning. Using an example implementation, we demonstrate that OpenPnP can reduce the configuration and integration effort up to 90 percent and scales up to tens of thousands of communicated signals per second for large Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) systems. OpenPnP can serve as a template for practitioners implementing IIoT applications throughout the automation industry and streamline commissioning processes in many thousands of control system installations.”


Bottleneck Identification and Performance Modeling of OPC UA Communication Models

Several interesting performance measurements and models, published at ICPE 2019 in Mumbai, India: “The OPC UA communication architecture is currently becoming an integral part of industrial automation systems, which control complex production processes, such as electric power generation or paper production. We have carried out extensive performance measurements with OPC UA client/server and pub/sub communication and created a CPU utilization prediction model based on linear regression that can be used to size hardware environments. We found that the server CPU is the main bottleneck for OPC UA pub/sub communication, but allows a throughput of up to 40,000 signals per second on a Raspberry Pi Zero.”


IoT Challenges for Smart Manufacturing

Today, I gave a keynote at the IoT-ASAP 2018 workshop at ICSA 2018. Here are an abstract and the slides:
Distributed control systems for manufacturing are currently evolving towards Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) systems. Sensors and actuators get equipped with internet connectivity, which allows them to interface with cloud platforms. This potentially enables a number of application cases. However, industrial “things” may be much more complex and more resource-constrained than typical consumer space “things”. This talk provides an overview of Industrial IoT application cases and sketches various challenges for researchers and practitioners using the example of turning a level sensor for industrial tanks into an IoT device.

ICPE 2018 – Industry Track – Call for Participation


In April next year, software performance engineering experts from around the world will gather in Berlin for the 9th International Conference on Performance Engineering, ICPE2018. The conference will have a great industry track program with contributions from many companies, such as Cisco, IBM, Oracle, Bosch, and LinkedIn. Topics range from energy consumption benchmarking, microservices, virtualization, software containers, distributed profiling, and software-defined networks. It should be an exciting conference with the opportunity to share experiences across companies and between academia and practice. So, book your trip to Berlin!

Plug&Produce Paper Released by Plattform Industrie 4.0


The Plattform Industrie 4.0 has released a new paper on a standards-based Plug&Produce approach for industrial devices, which was mostly written by me. The paper is a contribution to the current working groups on Industrie 4.0 and focuses on a specific application scenario, where devices connect to each other with limited human interaction. Its purpose is to point to existing standards and reveal standardization gaps. Although a good fundament of standards exists, there is still the need to create more semantically standardized information models to realized this application scenario in a vendor-neutral way.