Visual Self-healing Modelling for Reliable Internet-of-Things Systems
João Pedro Dias, Bruno Lima, João Pascoal Faria, André Restivo and Hugo Sereno Ferreira
Internet-of-Things systems are comprised of highly heterogeneous architectures, where different protocols, application stacks, integration services, and orchestration engines co-exist. As they permeate our everyday lives, more of them become safety-critical, increasing the need for making them testable and fault-tolerant, with minimal human intervention. In this paper, we present a set of self-healing extensions for Node-RED, a popular visual programming solution for IoT systems. These extensions add runtime verification mechanisms and self-healing capabilities via new reusable nodes, some of them leveraging meta-programming techniques. With them, we were able to implement self-modification of flows, empowering the system with self-monitoring and self-testing capabilities, that search for malfunctions, and take subsequent actions towards the maintenance of health and recovery. We tested these mechanisms on a set of scenarios using a live physical setup that we called SmartLab. Our results indicate that this approach can improve a system’s reliability and dependability, both by being able to detect failing conditions, as well as reacting to them by self-modifying flows, or triggering countermeasures.