Microservices at home

Lately I’ve been playing around with the ESP8266 chipset which is an IoT (Internet of Things) platform which couples digital IO pins with a WIFI connection (I will make another post about this, and link it later on).

ESP8266 ESP-12

ESP8266 ESP-12

What I like about IoT, is that everything is connected and reacting upon each-other. The thing I dislike though, is that the trend seems to be that every piece of hardware has a callback to the mothership (the company selling the equipment).

For example, I have a Philip Hue lighting system. The Hue-bridge device provides a REST-API so you can configure your lights just the way you want automatically. On the other hand, whenever you link it to the MeetHue system, it creates a callback to Philips so you can control your lights using the app, outside your WIFI network. The Nest thermostat does something similar.

Philips Hue Lighting system

Philips Hue Lighting system

When I first came in contact with the ESP8266, it was running the alternative firmware called NodeMCU. This firmware enables you to run Lua code on the chip with a few libraries at hand, including an MQTT client.

This was the first time i’d heard of MQTT, but after a quick google found out that this is ‘just a’ Message Queue like I know from RabbitMQ. The presence of this client library opened my eyes to lots of possibilities for IoT applications inside my home without the need of passing my home internet gateway.

A few examples that I’ve been playing around with

  • Controlling a WS2812B LED strip (driver included in NodeMCU :D)
  • Reading a temperature and humidity sensor from different places in my house
  • Reading out gas and electra readings from my Smart Meter using the P1-data port
  • Controlling the air circulation system inside my house (which runs on an NRF-remote)
  • Controlling 433Mhz equipment like power outlets (now controlled by a remote)

If I can use the MQTT protocol as a layer on top of all API’s and hardware, this would be kind of similar to how Microservices work.

MQTT Sequence Diagram

MQTT Sequence Diagram

After setting up an MQTT server (I use Mosquitto, since it supports the MQTT-3.1.1 protocol in the latest versions on my RaspberryPi2), I’ve build some small microservices to start playing with this concept:

I think i’m only at the start of everything that is possible, but i’ll post updates on the expansion of my Microservice network at home.

Please let me know what you think, if you have any questions or feedback. I’m getting really excited about the subject!

Nginx unable to bind, address already in use.

Just now, I added a vhost to my nginx configuration on a machine I administer, restart nginx, and am baffled about the following error message:

Starting nginx: nginx: [emerg] bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)
nginx: [emerg] bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)
nginx: [emerg] bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)
nginx: [emerg] bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)
nginx: [emerg] bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)

This is weird… nginx was running just fine up until now, and suddenly won’t start. I tried checking if it was still running, which it wasn’t, tried looking at netstat to see if any other processes are bound to that port.

# netstat -platune

This is weird. Let’s see if I can bind to port 80 myself with ‘nc’.

# nc -v -l 80

It can bind to the port just fine, let’s see if I can connect.

# telnet example.com 80
telnet: connect to address Connection refused
Trying 2001:db8:c0ld:c0:ff:ee::1...
telnet: connect to address 2001:db8:c0ld:c0:ff:ee::1: No route to host
telnet: Unable to connect to remote host

This is weird, the port is open, but it won’t connect. This must be my firewall interfering. After stopping the firewall, the same behaviour persisted.

After trying out some of my google skills, I stumble upon the following post on StackOverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/a/15101745/359664

It seems that because of IPv6, the port is unable to bind.

After rewriting my nginx vhosts’s to the following format, nginx is willing to start and everything is online again.

This makes me wonder, what is happening with my IPv6 traffic?

My IPv4 address is assigned through a DHCP server, and my IPv6 is assigned by a similar concept, namely SLAAC.

I can ping the outside world, and I can ping the machine from the outside.

# ping ipv6.google.com

Let’s check the same things on IPv6.

# ip6tables-save

This looks fine to me… oh wait… Port 80 is not allowed in here… I must have only allowed it in the IPv4 configuration.

After configuring the IPv6 firewall correctly (which you should always do, don’t forget about it is a lesson 😉

I’m still baffled why the IPv6 isn’t working…