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Enabling 30% Energy Savings with a Cloud-Based IoT Platform

Energy
Azure
CI/CD
Cloud-Native
Kubernetes

A provider of software solutions for the energy sector turned to Altoros to build a back-end system for tracking power consumption in real time, while ensuring high availability, scalability, and security.

Enabling 30% Energy Savings with a Cloud-Based IoT Platform

About the project

Brief results of the collaboration:

  • The company built a cloud-native system that monitors energy consumption in real time and onboarded 5 enterprises as customers, enabling them to save on energy usage by up to 30%.
  • Thanks to the delivered optimizations, the organization was able to save $10,000 per year on cloud resources.
  • By enforcing security, the provider eliminated the possibility of unauthorized access, minimized the chances of data breaches, and laid the foundation for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • With containerization and continuous integration/delivery pipelines (CI/CD), the company automated mundane daily operations.

The customer

Based in Norway, the customer develops software solutions for monitoring energy usage. In 2020, the company was acquired by a leading hydroelectric power provider with a revenue of $208 billion (2019).

The need

Commercial and industrial facilities account for about 40% of worldwide energy usage. According to Global Alliance for Building and Construction, the building floor area is expected to double by 2060, increasing energy consumption rates. Understanding how energy inefficient the building sector is, the customer recognized an opportunity to deliver a solution that would track power usage to identify overconsumption and develop saving strategies. For the purpose, the company purchased nonintrusive load monitoring devices (Qualisto, Elvaco, etc.) that measure energy usage and collaborated with a provider of data visualization software. At the time, the customer needed a robust back-end system to process energy consumption data collected by smart devices.

Aiming to expand to the global market, the company turned to Altoros to build a cloud-native system with a focus on high availability, scalability, security, and ease of maintenance.

The challenges

Under the project, the team at Altoros had to address the following issues:

  • ModBus—a standard data communications protocol utilized to connect smart devices in the industry—exposed the system to unauthorized access, creating a vulnerability point. As the system would store and aggregate sensitive information (energy usage metrics, facility location, etc.), security and compliance with such regulations as GDPR was crucial.
  • Smart devices were to measure power consumption in real time and send the results to the system. However, devices’ APIs were prone to unexpected behavior, causing data gaps and the lack of data consistency.
  • It is usually effort- and time-consuming to connect each device, as they have specific configurations of their own. To scale the system in the future, it was crucial to ensure a simplified way of pairing the system with devices.
  • To avoid system overload and poor performance, it was important to prevent parallel execution of the same background jobs (e.g., collecting data from devices, identifying data gaps) across different cloud instances.

The solution

Stage 1. Initially, engineers at Altoros built the system on Pivotal Web Services. However, the platform was deprecated in a year, and it was decided to move to Microsoft Azure. Since the project was already running in production, the developers worked out a step-by-step migration strategy to ensure no downtime. Notifying current end users about the ongoing migration, the team at Altoros switched Microsoft Azure to read-only mode until the transfer was complete. This helped to avoid interruption in service delivery. Developing the system as a set of independent microservices, the engineers ensured high availability, ease of maintenance, etc.

The developers at Altoros optimized the MongoDB database by reducing CPU load to save on cloud resource utilization.

Stage 2. One of the efforts to protect sensitive data was implementing Spring Security. In addition, the team delivered multifactor authentication and role-based access control. Using a ModBus gateway, the engineers eliminated the protocol’s vulnerabilities.

Stage 3. For information consistency, the developers at Altoros built an algorithm that checked real-time data at regular intervals (5 minutes, an hour, etc.), queried the missing data, and filled the gaps. The team also eliminated duplicates with validation scripts

Stage 4. Engineers at Altoros provided a unified and efficient way of pairing the system with new devices by enabling them to connect as adaptors.

Stage 5. To prevent parallel execution of the same background jobs, the developers utilized the leader election pattern to establish the proper process.

Stage 6. Finally, the DevOps experts containerized the system by using Azure Kubernetes Service and built a GitLab-based CI/CD pipeline to streamline operations.

The outcome

Partnering with Altoros, the company built a cloud-native system for monitoring power consumption in real time and onboarded 5 enterprises as customers. Now, it is possible to gain a consistent view of energy data consumption and develop a strategy to cut usage by up to 30%. With the optimizations in place, the software provider saved around $10,000 per year on cloud resource utilization. The introduced security measures protect the system from unauthorized access, data breaches, and also lay the foundation for the GDPR compliance.

Technology stack

Platforms

Pivotal Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Azure Kubernetes Service

Programming language

Java 17

Frameworks and tools

Spring Boot, Spring Security, Spring Web Flow, Spring Data MongoDB, Spring Session, Spring Cache, Spring Cloud Gateway, BuildingOS, GitLab

Databases

MongoDB, Redis

30%

less energy
consumed

$10K

saved on
resources

5

enterprises
onboarded

Contact us

Ryan Meharg

Ryan Meharg

Cloud Solutions Architect

ryan.m@altoros.com650 265-2266

4900 Hopyard Rd. Suite 100 Pleasanton, CA 94588