Benthos UMH

Configure protocol converters to stream data to the Unified Namespace directly in the Management Console.

Benthos is a stream processing tool that is designed to make common data engineering tasks such as transformations, integrations, and multiplexing easy to perform and manage. It uses declarative, unit-testable configuration, allowing users to easily adapt their data pipelines as requirements change. Benthos is able to connect to a wide range of sources and sinks, and can use different languages for processing and mapping data.

Benthos UMH is a custom extension of Benthos that is designed to connect to OPC-UA servers and stream data into the Unified Namespace.

When should I use it?

Benthos UMH is valuable for integrating different protocols with the Unified Namespace. With it, you can configure various protocol converters, define the data you want to stream, and send it to the Unified Namespace.

Furthermore, in our tests, Benthos has proven more reliable than tools like Node-RED, when it comes to handling large amounts of data.

What can I do with it?

Benthos UMH offers some benefits, including:

  • Management Console integration: Configure and deploy any number of protocol converters via Benthos UMH directly from the Management Console.
  • OPC-UA support: Connect to any OPC-UA server and stream data into the Unified Namespace.
  • Report by exception: By configuring the OPC-UA nodes in subscribe mode, you can only stream data when the value of the node changes.
  • Per-node configuration: Define the nodes you want to stream and configure them individually.
  • Broad customization: Use Benthos’ extensive configuration options to customize your data pipeline.
  • Easy deployment: Deploy Benthos UMH as a standalone Docker container or directly from the Management Console.
  • Fully open source: Benthos UMH is fully open source and available on Github.

How can I use it?

With the Management Console

The easiest way to use Benthos UMH is to deploy it directly from the Management Console.

After adding your network device or service, you can initialize the protocol converter. Simply click on the Play button next to the network device/service at the Protocol Converters tab. From there, you’ll have two options to choose from when configuring the protocol converter:

  • OPC-UA: Select this option if you specifically need to configure OPC-UA protocol converters. It offers direct integration with OPC-UA servers and improved data contextualization. This is particularly useful when you need to assign tags to specific data points within the Unified Namespace. You’ll be asked to define OPC-UA nodes in YAML format, detailing the nodes you want to stream from the OPC-UA server.

  • Universal Protocol Converter: Opt for this choice if you need to configure protocol converters for various supported protocols other than OPC-UA. This option will prompt you to define the Benthos input and processor configuration in YAML format.

For OPC-UA, ensure your YAML configuration follows the format below:

  - opcuaID: ns=2;s=Pressure
    enterprise: pharma-genix
    site: aachen
    area: packaging
    line: packaging_1
    workcell: blister
    originID: PLC13
    tagName: machineState
    schema: _historian

Required fields are opcuaID, enterprise, tagName and schema. opcuaID is the NodeID in OPC-UA and can also be a folder (see README for more information). The remaining components are components of the resulting topic / ISA-95 structure (see also our datamodel). By default, the schema will always be in _historian, and tagName is the keyname.


Benthos UMH can be manually deployed as part of the UMH stack using the provided Docker image and following the instructions outlined in the README.

For more specialized use cases requiring precise configuration, standalone deployment offers full control over the setup. However, this manual approach is more complex compared to using the Universal Protocol Converter feature directly from the Management Console.

Read the official Benthos documentation for more information on how to use different components.

What are the limitations?

Benthos UMH excels in scalability, making it a robust choice for complex setups managing large amounts of data. However, its initial learning curve may be steeper due to its scripting language and a more hands-on approach to configuration.

As an alternative, Node-RED offers ease of use with its low-code approach and the popularity of JavaScript. It’s particularly easy to start with, but as your setup grows, it becomes harder to manage, leading to confusion and loss of oversight.

Where to get more information?

Last modified July 2, 2024: Fix ENG-919 (16e32ef)