Dataflow and the Rifidi Edge Server

This is the first in a series of blog posts that give a technical overview of the architecture of the Rifidi Edge Server.

The most basic (and important) function of the Rifidi Edge Server is to collect data from sensors, filter them, and deliver them to systems that use the data for business processes.  This diagram gives a high-level depiction of how data are collected and flow through the edge server.  The data begin their journey as they are produced by sensors.  While these sensors are normally hardware RFID readers, such as an Alien 9800, Symbol XR400, etc, data might also be produced by a legacy barcode reader, a database, or even another edge server.  The Sensor Abstraction Layer provides a way for users to develop their own plugins for their custom sensors.

As data are collected from the sensors, they are pumped into a high speed internal message bus through which other internal edge server components can access them.  Because sensors have the ability to produce an enormous number of events, users normally want to filter them.  The Application Layer Events (ALE) specification from EPCglobal provides a standard API for collecting and filtering RFID data.  The Rifidi Edge Server has an implementation of the ALE 1.1 specification.  Internally, the ALE layer uses an event stream processor called Esper to collect data according to the ALE rules.

Some users will decide that they do not want to use ALE in their solution.  Because the Rifidi Edge Server is built on an extremely flexible architecture, they can create a custom data collection layer and hook it up directly to the internal message bus.

Future architecture posts will describe other aspects of the Rifidi Edge Server in more detail.

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