What is a Registry Broker? First steps to enable inter-connected Drone + Aircraft registries
A registry broker is a piece of software that connects and exchanges data between different registries. Building upon the registration sandbox we take the next steps into connecting multiple registries to build a federation of registry servers.
If you are reading this article without any background in drone / aircraft registration, we recommend you read the Building a Drone + Aircraft Registry article first, that article provides a good introduction and series of links to delve deeper. In this article, we will take the conversation forward and build a network of such registries. In this article you will learn:
- How to connect different drone registries?
- How to query data in multiple registries?
- How to share credentials and identity across the network
We anticipate that we will be in a world where multiple registries will co-exist and these registries need to be able to talk to each other and securely exchange data. There are many ways to orchestrate the inter-connection, the simplest on is a broker to interact with different registries operating independently. Don’t worry if it seems complicated, it really isn’t as long as you keep things separated from each other.
The broker displayed above is a thin co-ordination layer that passes credentials and makes queries to the different registries. We have created and developed a sandbox registry broker to test and develop this concept and you can deploy it in front of your registry. As you can see in the video above, it is an application that manages the complexity of querying multiple registries seamlessly. The application has to be configured to point to the appropriate registry instances with the correct API. On a technical side, this assumes that there is an agreement between different parties operating and running the registries to share and importantly recognize credentials issued by each other.
To understand the broker, what you need to understand is that it is just a layer that knows where the registries sit. It is modeled upon the EU VAT system where it is assumed that the data in each registry will be independent and stored at different locations, so there is no “central” database what the broker does is just sends queries all the registries in the broker and once one registry returns a reply, it will store that response. This is all done in real-time, once a user submits a query, they get a id of the job that queries these registries, they have to use that id to further query the status.
The main reason such a system works is because the registries in the network agree to use the same API and credential systems. This agreement is a social agreement (not a technical one) and things like contracts and other agreements are necessary. Perhaps this can also be done at a ICAO or other inter-governmental level but as a concept this enables a decentralized search across different registries.
You can access a working version of the broker at Aircraft Registry Broker and see the source code at Github. We normally recommend that the registry be used in conjunction with the broker so a registry network can be formed. The Broker architecture is only one of the many potential architectures to connect registries but it is one of the more flexible ones.
A Registry broker enables you to connect to and query data from multiple registries seamlessly sharing credentials. There is an need to “standardize” registry data and API, perhaps at a ICAO or other inter-governmental level. If you want to enable an interoperable registries a broker is necessary, a broker will enable you to de-centralize the registry function and offers a way forward to enabling UTM / U-Space. Need a more technical / in-depth review? Read the Registry Broker Whitepaper.
If you are ready to take on the challenge of registration and data inter-operability, we can help, reach out to use using the form at the “About Openskies” link.