What is Ardexa?

Ardexa is a ready-made app to rapidly and securely connect your device to the cloud, without needing to become a security professional or lock yourself in to a specific vendor.

By deploying our agent on-site, you can gain access to your data, issue commands to control remote devices and more in a straightforward and secure manner. No SDK, no protocol debates, no security nightmares and no APIs to wrangle.

Architecture

To achieve this, Ardexa provides three core components: the Ardexa Agent, Broker and Cloud.

  • Agent: a binary installed on the edge device. Collects data via plugins, enables remote access and maintains connections with the Ardexa Broker and Cloud

  • Broker: a secure message broker that routes messages between Ardexa Agents and the Cloud

  • Cloud: hosted service that manages devices, stores collected data; also serves an API and web interface. Able to be hosted in the cloud or on-premises

The diagram below provides an overview of the Ardexa Agent, Broker and Cloud. This is how Ardexa gains secure access to edge devices and provides all its services.

Ardexa agent, broker and cloud overview

Agent

The Ardexa Agent comes as a pre-compiled, ready to use binary. By default, Debian packages are available for ARM and Intel. Each agent is given a digital certificate for identification and encryption purposes by the Ardexa Cloud.

The Agent can be configured to run commands according to a defined schedule to collect data from the local network. Log files can be monitored, with new entries sent to the Cloud. Ardexa provides a number of Machine Plugins which simplify extracting and mapping data from specific machines and/or data protocols such as modbus. If the network connection is unavailable, the Agent will cache events for back-filling once the connection is restored.

The Agent also enables full remote control of the device, and file transfers with the Ardexa Cloud. This makes it easy to connect and control on-site cameras, for example.

Cloud

The Ardexa Cloud provides all the tools to manage devices, store and access data.

  • It hosts a certificate authority containing a certificate for each device

  • Stores device identities, configuration and metadata

  • Hosts a data store to store and retrieve events captured by Ardexa Agents

  • Allows secure, real-time communication with Agents

  • Hosts an intuitive web interface to allow you to interact with your devices and data, including data queries, charts and dashboards

  • Serves an API allowing straightforward integrations with your systems

  • Monitors devices and data via near real-time alerting, with optional notifications

Broker

The Broker enables secure communication between Ardexa Agents and the Cloud via message queue. Messages can also be accessed directly by creating Consumers.

Consumers

Normally, data that is sent to/from the edge device traverses the Ardexa Broker and the Cloud, that is, the top right hand part of the above diagram. Users are also able to bypass the Ardexa Cloud and access data directly from the Broker by creating one or more Consumers. Consumers enable the client to consume messages from the broker. This is different to accessing the data from the Ardexa Cloud API.

Using a data consumer involves extra responsibilities, including when to consume messages, how to do it, why to do it, managing metadata data, etc. This is a complicated undertaking, but gives you access to the live stream of data from all of your devices. If you think you need to consume messages directly, please contact your Ardexa Account Manager for more details and access to sample code.