Control plane

Device registry

The device registry stores the configuration of applications and devices.

While the system has a single sign-on system for the user facing services, devices, especially embedded devices, are more limited and using OAuth tokens might not be a good fit. In general, devices have different usage patterns when it comes to authentication and authorization. Open ID connect and OAuth are designed with a strong focus on HTTP. Which is great, when it comes to authenticate users using browsers and REST clients, but becomes a burden when embedded systems and protocols like MQTT and CoAP come into play.

Drogue Cloud tries to make it as easy as possible for devices to connect to the cloud side, and so we believe that technologies like pre-shared keys, X.509 client certificates, or simple "username/password" credentials are a better fit for devices. Still, for user/application facing application we use Open ID connect, as you can read in Single sign-on.

A PostgreSQL compatible database is used to persist the information. The device registry component consists of several services, which provides internal and external APIs to access the data stored in this database.

Control plane overview

Provided services

(Device) Management API

Allows external access to the application and device information. This is a REST API, which allows using management tools and applications to create, edit, delete, and view data stored inside the device registry.

User Auth Service

Allows internal applications to check if a user has access to a requested resource.

This is for example used by the web frontend, to ensure a user may use the "message spy" to access messages of this application. Or by the management API to check if a user may perform the requested operation on a resource.

This service works with read-only access to the database, and can work with a ready-only slave replica.

Device Auth Service

Allows internal application to authenticate and authorize a device.

For example, this service is being used by the protocol endpoints, to grant devices access for publishing data to the system. Validating credentials like passwords or X.509 client certificates. Once authenticated, it also reports backs additional device configuration for the endpoints, like core mapping information for the LoRaWAN "function ports".

This service works with read-only access to the database, and can work with a ready-only slave replica.

Change events for integration

In addition to the management API, which allows getting/reading information out of the registry, the registry will also send "change events", when resources get modified.

This is again built on top of Knative eventing, and allows services to act on the modification of applications and devices. Using this concept, it is possible to implement "controllers" (or "operators"), which reconcile the desired state of a resource.

One example of this, is the "The Things Network" (TTN) controller, which detects a TTN specific section in the device configuration, and then tries to create an appropriate device in a linked TTN instance.

Currently, this functionality is considered "internal", and such change events cannot be consumed from outside the system.

Single sign-on

Drogue Cloud has a single sign-on (SSO) service, which by default is implemented by Keycloak. As mentioned before, the SSO service is used to authenticate users and applications, not devices. It is also used internally, to manage access between the internal services.

The authorization however, the check if a user has access to a device or application, is handled by the "user auth service", which is backed by the device registry.

The SSO service is also used in order to integrate other services, like the Eclipse Ditto based digital twin service, or the example Grafana Dashboard.