View on GitHub

zestdb

ZestDB

Introduction

ZestDB is a light-weight IoT database. It currently provides the storage component within the Databox Project. ZestDB is built using a CoAP inspired protocol implemented over ZeroMQ.

The current implementation supports POST/GET/DELETE of JSON, text and binary data with backend storage implemented on top of a git-based file system. In additional, the server allows clients to make an ‘observe’ request to receive any data POSTed to specific paths or receive audit information from API calls. Communication can take place over TCP or over Interprocess communication (IPC).

Data stored can be described and queried using a built in HyperCat.

An API exists to support key/value storage and retrieval as well as times series storage and retrieval which is specified as part of the path.

Access control is supported through macaroons which can be enabled using a command-line flag. A command-line tool is provided to help mint macaroons for testing.

The zest protocol is documented here.

Client library implementations are currently available in Go and Node.js.

Basic usage examples

You can run a server and test client using Docker. Each command supports –help to get a list of parameters.

starting server

$ docker run -p 5555:5555 -p 5556:5556 -d --name zest --rm jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/server.exe --secret-key-file example-server-key

running client to post key/value data

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo/bar' --payload '{"name":"dave", "age":30}' --mode post

running client to get key/value data

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo/bar' --mode get

General API

Hypercat

URL: /cat
Method: GET
Parameters: 
Notes: returns the hypercat

Uptime

URL: /uptime
Method: GET
Parameters: 
Notes: returns the uptime of the server in milliseconds   

Key/Value API

A value is uniquely identified by an id and key pair. For example, you might write a value to id=’lounge’ with key=’lightbulb’.

Write entry

URL: /kv/<id>/<key>
Method: POST
Parameters: JSON body of data, replace <id> and <key> with a string
Notes: store data using given key

Read entry

URL: /kv/<id>/<key>
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> and <key> with a string
Notes: return data for given id and key    

List keys

URL: /kv/<id>/keys
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with a string
Notes: return keys for given key id

Count keys

URL: /kv/<id>/count
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with a string
Notes: return number of keys used by given id    

Delete entry

URL: /kv/<id>/<key>
Method: DELETE
Parameters: replace <id> and <key> with a string
Notes: delete data for given id and key

Delete all entries

URL: /kv/<id>
Method: DELETE
Parameters: replace <id> with a string
Notes: delete all data for given id

Time series API

The time series API has support for writing generic JSON blobs or data in a specific format which allows extra functionality such as joining, filtering and aggregation on the data. The generic blob API is called using the ‘/ts/blob’ extension in the path. Otherwise it is assumed that the data consists of a value together with an optional tag. A value is integer or floating point number and a tag is an identifier with corresponding string value. For example:{"room": "lounge", "value": 1}. Tagging a value provides a way to group values together when accessing them. In the example provided you could retrieve all values that are in a room called ‘lounge’.

Data returned from a query is a JSON dictionary containing a timestamp in epoch milliseconds and the actual data. For example:{"timestamp":1513160985841,"data":{"foo":"bar","value":1}}. Data can also be aggregated by applying functions across values. This results in a response of a single value. For example: {"result":1}.

Write entry (auto-generated time)

URL: /ts/<id>
Method: POST
Parameters: JSON body of data, replace <id> with a string
Notes: add data to time series with given identifier (a timestamp will be calculated at time of insertion)

Write entry (user-specified time)

URL: /ts/<id>/at/<t>
Method: POST
Parameters: JSON body of data, replace <id> with a string and <t> with epoch milliseconds
Notes: add data to time series with given identifier at the specified time

Read latest entry

URL: /ts/<id>/latest
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier
Notes: return the latest entry

Read last number of entries

URL: /ts/<id>/last/<n>
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <n> with the number of entries
Notes: return the number of entries requested

Read earliest entry

URL: /ts/<id>/earliest
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier
Notes: return the first entry

Read first number of entries

URL: /ts/<id>/first/<n>
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <n> with the number of entries
Notes: return the number of entries requested    

Read all entries since a time (inclusive)

URL: /ts/<id>/since/<from>
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <from> with epoch milliseconds
Notes: return entries from time provided

Read all entries in a time range (inclusive)

URL: /ts/<id>/range/<from>/<to>
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <from> and <to> with epoch milliseconds
Notes: return entries in time range provided

Delete all entries since a time (inclusive)

URL: /ts/<id>/since/<from>
Method: DELETE
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <from> with epoch milliseconds
Notes: deletes entries from time provided

Delete all entries in a time range (inclusive)

URL: /ts/<id>/range/<from>/<to>
Method: DELETE
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier, replace <from> and <to> with epoch milliseconds
Notes: deletes entries in time range provided

Length of time series

URL: /ts/<id>/length
Method: GET
Parameters: replace <id> with an identifier
Notes: return the number of entries in the time series

Join

A join is an extension of the API path to support combining multiple time series together in the format of /ts/<id1>,<id2>,../... and can be used for both GET and DELETE operations. This feature is not available for ‘/ts/blob’ data.

Filtering

Filtering is an extension of the API path applied to tags to restrict the values returned in the format of /ts/<id>/.../filter/<tag_name>/<equals|contains>/<tag_value> where ‘equals’ is an exact match and ‘contains’ is a substring match. It can be used for both GET and DELETE operations. This feature is not available for ‘/ts/blob’ data.

Aggregation

Aggregation is an extension of the API path to carry out functions on an array of values in the format of /ts/<id>/.../<sum|count|min|max|mean|median|sd> It can be used on a GET operation. This feature is not available for ‘/ts/blob’ data.

Complex queries

By combining both filtering and aggregation it is possible to produce more complex queries. For example:

$ client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/ts/sensor/last/100/filter/room/equals/lounge/max' --mode get

The above might provide the maximum value of a sensor located in a specific room based on the last 100 entries. This query suggests we have a design where we are writing data from multiple sensors to the same time series. An alternative way to achieve this would be to have each sensor write to its own stream. We can then carry out a join operation to aggregate the data. For example we might do something like the following:

$ client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/ts/sensor1,sensor2/last/10/filter/serial/contains/SN00' --mode get

which could return the last 10 values from both sensor1 and sensor2 that begin with a specific serial number.

Performance

ZestDB has been designed to provide fast writes but can also support fast reads depending on the API call and whether or not data was cached in memory.

Hypercat

The hypercat provides a standard way to describe what data might exist within the database.

To add an entry to the in-built HyperCat:

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/cat' --mode post --file --payload item1.json

To query the in-built HyperCat:

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/cat' --mode get

Observation

One benefit of the Zest protocol being built on top of ZeroMQ means that it is easy to support features such as observing data written or read from the server in real-time. There are three types of observation modes: ‘data’, ‘audit’ and ‘notification’ which provide data in a simple space-separated meta-format. Observing data is used to get a copy of what is POSTed to a specific path, whereas an audit request can be used to provide meta-data containing information such as the hostnames involved and the type of query etc. Observing notifications is used in conjunction with notification requests which are described later on.

A typical use case for observation might consist of multiple deployed servers that you need to monitor from a single client. The client could make individual observation requests to each server and collate the data received in real-time to display on a dashboard.

running client to observe data POSTed to a resource path

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo/bar' --mode observe

The above will produce data written in a format such as:

#timestamp #uri-path #content-format #data
1521554211213 /kv/foo/bar json {"room": "lounge", "value": 1} 

running client to observe audit information at a resource path

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo/bar' --mode observe --observe-mode audit

The above will produce data written in a format with response codes based on the CoAP protocol:

#timestamp #server-name #client-name #method #uri-path #response-code
1521553488680 Johns-MacBook-Pro.local Johns-MacBook-Pro.local POST /kv/foo/bar 65

As well as observing exact paths it is possible to use wildcard paths to receive information on a range of paths.

running client to observe audit information using a wildcard path

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo/*' --mode observe --observe-mode audit

The example above is similar to the previous example but this time we will also receive audit information on any path that starts with ‘/kv/foo/’.

Notification

Notifications support communication between two nodes interacting with a zest server through a ‘/notification/request’ and ‘/notification/response’ endpoint. A client node can issue a request to a server node which can obtain the necessary information from an observation to respond back asynchronously with the result. An example interaction might look like:

running client to observe notification requests

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/notification/request/sensor/*' --mode observe --observe-mode notification --max-age 0

This observation result contains the information needed to be able to respond back to a request. For example:

#timestamp #client-host #callback-path #content-format #request-data
1534675126283 Johns-MacBook-Pro-3.local /notification/response/sensor/on/id/1000 json {"active": true}

contains a callback path which will be required when constructing a response. Note, if there are no observations setup and a client issues a notification request this will result in a service unavailable response.

running client to get notifications of responses

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/notification/response/sensor/on/id/1000' --mode notify

will produce something like:

#timestamp #uri-path #content-format #data
1534527855931 /notification/response/sensor/on/id/1000 json {"result": true}

running client to issue a request

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/notification/request/sensor/on/id/1000' --mode post --payload '{"active": true}'

running client to issue a response

$ docker run --network host -it jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/notification/response/sensor/on/id/1000' --mode post --payload '{"result": true}'

Interprocess communication (IPC)

Interprocess communication (IPC) can take place between Docker containers. As with TCP communication, the server uses two endpoints. One for request/replies and one for broadcasting messages to observing peers.

starting server

$ docker run -v /tmp:/tmp --ipc=host -d --name zest --rm jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/server.exe --secret-key-file example-server-key --request-endpoint 'ipc:///tmp/request' --router-endpoint 'ipc:///tmp/router'

observing

We need to use both endpoints when observing a path.

$ docker run -v /tmp:/tmp --ipc=host jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode observe --request-endpoint 'ipc:///tmp/request' --router-endpoint 'ipc:///tmp/router'

posting

We only need one endpoint to post or get data.

$ docker run -v /tmp:/tmp --ipc=host jptmoore/zestdb /app/zest/client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --payload '{"name":"dave", "age":30}' --mode post --request-endpoint 'ipc:///tmp/request'

Security

All communication is encrypted using ZeroMQ’s built-in CurveZMQ security. A client and server require a key pair which can be generated as follows:

$ docker run -it zeromq/zeromq /usr/bin/curve_keygen

However, access to the server can be controlled through tokens called macaroons. A command-line utility exists to mint macaroons which restricts what path can be accessed, who is accessing it and what the operation is. For example to mint a macaroon to control a POST operations you could do:

$ mint.exe --path 'path = /kv/foo' --method 'method = POST' --target 'target = Johns-MacBook-Pro.local' --key 'secret'

In the above example we are allowing POST operations to the path ‘/kv/foo’ for a host called ‘Johns-MacBook-Pro.local’. Wildcards are supported in caveats so we could, for example, specify any host using ‘target = *’ instead of the exact host. Wildcards are useful also for giving access to a range of paths. The output from this command is a token which can be specified on the command-line as follows:

$ client.exe  --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode post --format text --payload 'hello world' --token 'MDAwZWxvY2F0aW9uIAowMDEwaWRlbnRpZmllciAKMDAxN2NpZCBwYXRoID0gL2t2L2ZvbwowMDE2Y2lkIG1ldGhvZCA9IFBPU1QKMDAyOWNpZCB0YXJnZXQgPSBKb2hucy1NYWNCb29rLVByby5sb2NhbAowMDJmc2lnbmF0dXJlIJKloR0-WbbJBV1gXPWGimpo_eTByptDAIZ2wh1bZfKMCg=='

If we started our server using the same token key we will be able to verify the above request as being a valid operation. So in this case we would have started our server as follows:

$ server.exe --secret-key-file example-server-key --token-key-file example-token-key --enable-logging

In the above example, we have turned debugging on which is useful option if you want to write your own client. A client can also be run in this mode.

Additional features

You can write a binary such as a image to the database:

$ client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode post --format binary --file --payload image.jpg

Reading an image from the database:

$ client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode get --format binary > /tmp/image.jpg

When you observe a path this functionality will expire. By default a observation will last 60 seconds. To change this behaviour you need to specify a ‘max-age’ flag providing the number of seconds to observe for. For example to observe a path for 1 hour you could do the following:

$ client.exe --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode observe --max-age 3600

To carry out some performance tests we can use the ‘loop’ flag with POST and GET operations to control how many times they repeat. We can also add a ‘freq’ flag to control the frequency of the loop:

$ client.exe  --server-key 'vl6wu0A@XP?}Or/&BR#LSxn>A+}L)p44/W[wXL3<' --path '/kv/foo' --mode post --format text --payload 'hello world' --loop 10 --freq 0.001

Raspberry Pi 3 (aarch64)

$ docker run -p 5555:5555 -p 5556:5556 -d --name zest --rm jptmoore/zestdb:aarch64 /home/databox/server.exe --secret-key-file example-server-key

The client and server binaries are in /home/databox