An Open-Source prototype for collecting, working with and displaying sensor data from MQTT enabled IoT devices.
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IoT Prototyping Backend


This project is a backend solution for prototyping Internet of Things (IoT) services. It leverages the power of Docker containers to easily integrate Grafana, InfluxDB, and Node-RED into a seamless, scalable, and robust backend system. The solution aims to provide rapid prototyping capabilities for IoT applications that need real-time data visualization, storage, and workflow automation.


  • Eclipse Mosquitto: MQTT broker
  • Grafana: Real-time data visualization and monitoring dashboard
  • InfluxDB: High-performance data storage
  • Node-RED: Flow-based development tool for visual programming and data flow automation

Architecture overview

Data is collected by IoT devices, e.g. an ESP32 based power monitor. These devices publish their data via MQTT into a topic in a message broker. We use Eclipse Mosquitto as a MQTT message broker.

Node-RED is used to read and transform or combine data and to implement more sophicsticated use cases like notifications or worksflow. Node-RED subscribes to topics in Mosquitto and can be used to save transformed data into a database.

As our data is bases on time, we are using a time series database to store information. We used InfluxDB as this database.

Dashboards can already be created in Node-RED, but to be more flexible (and include more options) we are using Grafana. Grafana reads data from our database and other sources (like CSV files on the Internet) and displays them in a nice dashboard.



First install Docker and docker-compose:

If you want to use an UI for Docker, you can optionally also use Docker Desktop.


Clone the Repository

git clone
cd iot-backend

Build and launch Docker containers

Most Docker containers are of the shelf, but the Node-RED container has the be built, so some usefull plugins are already included. You can build and run these Docker containers in a single step:

docker-compose --file software/container/docker-compose.yml up --force-recreate --build



Eclipse Mosquitto is an open source message broker which implements a server for MQTT. It runs in Docker and is exposed on the default MQTT port 1883. You can subscribe to and push into topics:

mosquitto_sub -h localhost -t '#' -p 1883
mosquitto_pub -h localhost -p 1883 -t '/' -m $(date --utc +%s)

There is also a very usefuly tool to debug MQTT: MQTT Explorer, that is also available at


Node-RED is a programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways.

It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using the wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click

Node-RED is also running in Docker and is exposed on port 1880: http://localhost:1880/


InfluxDB is a database for any time series data. It runs in Docker and is exposed on port 8086: http://localhost:8086/ (you have to create an initial user in just a few simple steps)


Grafana is a software to build operational dashboards. It runs in Docker and is exposed on port 3000:

You can login to Grafana: http://localhost:3000/login (admin:admin)

Examples and set-up

Setting up a simple flow in Node-RED

A simple introduction to Node-RED can be found - along with the nodes / the code - in this repository.

Connecting Node-RED to Influx

A more sophisticated exampe on how to connect Node-RED to influx is also available in this repository.

Setting up Grafana

Have a look at the the document in this repository.

Attaching a Shelly plug

As an example you can use a Shelly plug flashed with Tasmota and feed MQTT data with Node-RED into InfluxDB and visualize it with Grafana. Have a look, here.

Backup und hosting

This is just a prototype. You should not expose the services as-it-is to the public internet.

Also you have to think about a backup solution. At the moment data lives in Docker volumes, that could be backed up:

  • influxdb2: The time series database
  • grafana-dashboards: Grafana dashboards
  • grafana-data: Grafana data
  • nodered-data: Flows created in Node-RED


Feel free to open an issue for bugs, feature requests, or questions. Contributions are welcome.


This project follows the REUSE Specification and is licensed under the GPL 3.0 or later License - see the LICENSE file for details.