uCollect is dead, long live Turris Sentinel!

If you follow what we do, you might have noticed that we recently announced the end of Turris OS 3.X. It was first released in 2016 and it was with us for quite some time. But in the end we managed to debug the migration to Turris OS 5.x and migrated everybody over. But this blog post is not about that. This post is about deprecation one of the parts, that was replaced by a newer and better system – uCollect.

When our router story began, we started with one really unique feature – the dynamic firewall. We were collecting various data about the traffic, analyzing it and combining it into firewall rules, that were updated on all our routers. Back then, we were experimenting with the feature and we were searching for what to process and how. In the beginning we had only two thousand routers. So we dumped everything into database and run various script on top of that. We changed what data were collected and how the scripts worked quite often.

But when Omnia came, we started getting more and more data. We also already had some experience regarding what data were more interesting. As our database started clogging up, we came with a new approach. Turris Sentinel was born.

We decided to go in a different direction. We no longer require people to create an account on our portal. We no longer dump everything into a database just to fetch it again by various scripts. On our servers, we have a stream of data flowing uninterrupted, processed in the real-time and directly deployed back. And we still store some kind of copy in a database for debugging and research and a different copy in database used to show new graphs. But the main processing is done without the database and even if our database would die, nothing would stop working.

Other issue we were facing was that it was quite some effort to manage contacts for all the people. With GDPR and similar initiatives, we decided to check whether we actually need any of those. In the end we devised something we call a “device token”. It is a random string tied to the data sent to our servers. You can use it to view your data, but we don’t know who you are. We recently deployed a new version of web tht enables this exact functionality.

uCollect statistics

Overall, Turris Sentinel is more than adequate replacement for uCollect. Therefore we decided to shut now no longer needed uCollect down. This will happen at the end of April. After that, you will no longer be able to login to Project Turris. So take all the historic screenshots you need and head over to the new Sentinel View.


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