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  • Scaling IoT solutions with Citrix ADC

    Hitesh Mistry
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    The growth in Internet of Things (IoT) devices has been tremendous over the last 10 years, with an estimated 10 billion to 15 billion IoT devices active as of 2022. Every major industry either actively uses or is considering using IoT technologies to better equip, deliver, manage, or monitor their solutions. Connected cars, smart home devices, smart warehousing, and human health monitoring are a few use cases for IoT, some of which are documented by the MQTT organization.

    There are several protocols to establish communication with IoT devices. At the application layer, Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT), Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) are among the most common options. MQTT is the most popular solution for secure IoT data communication because of its reliability, fast response time, and support for a large number of devices. The MQTT protocol provides a publish/subscribe model where clients (IoT devices) connect to message brokers over a network to either publish or subscribe to information under specific topics.

    With many devices active at any given time, each generating data, and a system that enables many-to-many communication, scalability is often a major challenge. Citrix ADC can help unburden message brokers by evenly distributing the load and offload TLS operations from the broker servers while ensuring secure communication.

    In a typical IoT deployment, the broker (the cluster of servers) manages the group of IoT devices (the IoT clients). The Citrix ADC appliance load balances the MQTT traffic to the brokers based on various parameters, such as client ID, topic, and username.

    Deploy MQTT solutions with Citrix ADC

    Customers using Citrix ADCs for MQTT configurations can leverage its advanced features to build more scalable IoT solutions. Key benefits include:

    • App Configuration: Customers can choose to configure an MQTT or MQTT_TLS vserver based on whether TLS operations need to be offloaded to Citrix ADC.
    • Improved Security: With MQTT security based on message parameters, you can block malicious clients sending large messages to overload servers or large number of connections.
    • Leverage Citrix ADC Policy Infrastructure: Advanced policy infrastructure enables you to make MQTT-aware decisions using policies and actions for MQTT-specific headers, types of connection, and quality of service (QoS) flags.
    • File Store for Bulk Operations: As the number of devices increases, Citrix ADC provides a method (file store) to define lists of identifiers outside the ADC that can be referenced through an HTTP callout. You can then use policy definitions and actions to perform bulk operations based on these identifiers.
    • Protocol-specific Logging: Citrix ADC can log MQTT-specific information at the application layer.
    • App Visibility: Citrix ADC provides you with MQTT-aware application monitoring.
    • Offload AAA Operations: You can offload authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) operations to the Citrix ADC.

    With such a wide range of options, Citrix ADCs can offer your organization a comprehensive solution to deploy and manage your MQTT app. Check out our Citrix ADC documentation for MQTT for details, and learn more about Citrix ADC.

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