Many cloud providers offer IoT services that simplify the collection and processing of IoT information. However, the IoT infrastructure composed of sensors and actuators that produces this information remains outside the cloud; therefore, application developers must install, connect and manage the cloud. This requirement can be a market barrier, especially for small/medium software companies that cannot afford the infrastructural costs associated with it and would only prefer to focus on IoT application developments. Motivated by the wish to eliminate this barrier, this paper proposes a Cloud of Things platform, called VirIoT, which fully brings the Infrastructure as a service model typical of cloud computing to the world of Internet of Things. VirIoT provides users with virtual IoT infrastructures (Virtual Silos) composed of virtual things, with which users can interact through dedicated and standardized broker servers in which the technology can be chosen among those offered by the platform, such as oneM2M, NGSI and NGSI-LD. VirIoT allows developers to focus their efforts exclusively on IoT applications without worrying about infrastructure management and allows cloud providers to expand their IoT services portfolio. VirIoT uses external things and cloud/edge computing resources to deliver the IoT virtualization services. Its open-source architecture is microservice-based and runs on top of a distributed Kubernetes platform with nodes in central and edge data centers. The architecture is scalable, efficient and able to support the continuous integration of heterogeneous things and IoT standards, taking care of interoperability issues. Using a VirIoT deployment spanning data centers in Europe and Japan, we conducted a performance evaluation with a two-fold objective: showing the efficiency and scalability of the architecture; and leveraging VirIoT’s ability to integrate different IoT standards in order to make a fair comparison of some open-source IoT Broker implementations, namely Mobius for oneM2M, Orion for NGSIv2, Orion-LD and Scorpio for NGSI-LD.
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