Node-RED

Node-RED vs. Prescient Designer: What's the difference?

Which is the right choice for your next edge application development project?


Which is the right choice for your next edge application development project?

Since Prescient Designer is built on Node-RED, we often get asked the question, "What is the difference between Prescient Designer and Node-RED?" In this blog article, we'll guide you through the differences and help you figure which is the right choice for your next edge application project.

Key differences at-a-glance

Node-RED

Prescient Designer

Single-instance

Distributed

  • Device association
  • Remote deployment
  • Device management
  • Package synchronization
  • Secure, built-in communication
  • Flow monitoring and roll-back

Open-source

Proprietary enterprise-class software

  • Enterprise-class infrastructure
  • Enterprise-class security
  • Enterprise-class support
  • Professional services
  • Project collaboration
  • Private npm registry
  • Private and public dashboards
  • 3rd party software integration
  • Edge hardware support

General flow programming software

Edge DataOps software

  • Proprietary data engineering packages
  • Expertise in edge systems and data engineering

Single-instance vs. Distributed

Node-RED is designed to be installed and executed in one machine. The user is expected to use a browser to access the Node-RED editor on that machine, build the flows in the editor, and then execute the flows on the same machine.  

Prescient Designer targets distributed applications where there could be thousands of machines. In that scenario, it would be impossible to use Node-RED alone because the flows in each machine would need to be manually updated.

Prescient Designer is a distributed Node-RED and it adds the following additional functionalities:

  • Edge Agent. Prescient Edge is the edge agent software in the Prescient ecosystem. Once Prescient Edge is installed on remote machines, it will report to Prescient Designer, and Prescient Designer can then deploy flows to it to execute on those remote machines.

  • Device Association. In Prescient Designer, the user can associate any arbitrary number of remote machines to each subflow. Every time the user makes a change to the subflow, the subflow will be deployed to the remote machines and executed. 

  • Device management. Prescient Designer includes a Device Panel that reports the status of each remote machine: connectivity status, application status, and device properties. The user can remotely reset Prescient Edge or the subflows on the remote machines.

  • Package Synchronization. Node-RED includes 3000+ user contributed packages. If new packages are required in the remote machines, Prescient Designer can automatically deliver them to the remote machines.

  • Secure, built-in communication. Each Prescient Designer account includes a secure, scalable MQTT broker. When the user needs to send data from one subflow (that runs in one group of devices) to another subflow (that runs in another group of devices), the user simply draws a wire from the output of the first subflow to the input of the second subflow. The communication link will be set up automatically between the two subflows (i.e. between the two groups of devices).

Open-source vs. Proprietary

While Prescient Designer supports all Node-RED packages, it is a proprietary, enterprise-class software. What this means is that it provides enterprise-class performance and support in the following ways:

  • Enterprise-class infrastructure. We have a dedicated DevOps team managing our cloud infrastructure 24/7.  

  • Enterprise-class security. We get audited by both AWS and our customers to pass some of the most stringent enterprise security requirements.  

  • Enterprise-class support. We focus on serving each of our customers as a technology partner, so we are able to provide top-notch support to every customer.  

  • Professional services. Our customers often need help, and we take care of many of their needs, from building Prescient Designer solutions to web software applications to hardware support.

  • Project collaboration. A user can be assigned to multiple Designers to work on different projects, or a Designer can be assigned to multiple users to collaborate on a project.

  • Private npm registry. We provide private npm registries for you to store your own proprietary nodes that you build for your own teams and your customers.

  • Private and public dashboards. You can keep your Designer dashboards private or make it public with or without a password. 
     
  • 3rd party software integration. We provide plug-and-play integration to popular software such as InfluxDB, Grafana, and Tensorflow.

  • Edge hardware support. We support edge hardware from more than a dozen manufacturers.  We not only test each hardware, we often also build dedicated Prescient Edge for them.  Examples include the Wago PFC200 and the Advantech Uno edge gateway.

While Prescient Designer is proprietary, it is easy to migrate back to Node-RED.  We provide a solution migration service for that.  This means you won’t be locked into a proprietary environment.

General vs. DataOps

Node-RED is a general flow programming software. Users can use it to build anything from IIoT solutions to API services to HMIs. Prescient Designer, on the other hand, focuses on solving the distributed DataOps problem at the edge. We have built proprietary data engineering packages to help our customers perform functions such as data acquisition, cleansing, transformation, and contextualization. We are experts in edge systems and data engineering.

Which platform is right for me?

Node-RED is a powerful flow programming software with a strong ecosystem. Node-RED is the right solution if:

  • You prefer to use only open-source software;
  • You have a development team to manage Node-RED and provide support;
  • You have small-scale projects or you are willing to build the infrastructure to scale Node-RED to large distributed systems.

Prescient Designer is the right solution if:

  • You have a large distributed system or a complex edge data problem;
  • You want to quickly build and scale your solution;
  • You want a partner who can support you and help you with professional services.

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