Devops Glasgow: Farming in the Cloud

Farming in the Cloud

Gordy Wills - Head of Software Engineering • Intelligent Growth Solutions -

When is a farm not a farm, when it is a factory that produces food from seed to packet. Our product is a totally controlled environment agriculture machine that is built in a warehouse not on traditional farming land. The machine is supper clever, but only works when it is given the right commands by its OS. Customer facilities have up to 40 of these machines so they also need production planning, task management and maintenance planning. The volume of data produced by each machine is huge; biology is messy and is not an exact engineering process, but the information in the data can show patterns which we can feed in to ML models to enhance the value of our sensors - or even in to AI models to run experimentation on how changes in environmental factors can increase crop yield or improve flavours.

Sounds exciting; a little over 12 months ago I was asked to start building the OS, the production planning, and the data streams; and actually, it is terrifying. We are a long way away from realising it all, but we just launched version 0.18 to our experimental farm and are deploying to our first paying customer by the end of the year. I want to tell you where we are, what we have done, things we know were a mistake and things we still think might be right. Our tech stack is C#.Net microservices with an Angular frontend served up in a K8s cluster with SqlServer backing, all sat in Azure, communicating to the farm using OPCUA and protected by Azure AD.

Hope you can join us; hope we can learn things from each other.

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