Connecting a microcontroller to Ignition over the web - MQTT maybe?

In my day job I use Ignition and would like to use maker edition for personal ioT projects at home. I'm trying to figure out how I would run a server in one location and a particle photon microcontroller across the web. I know there are things like mods bus libraries I could use on it if it were local but that would be too much traffic across the web I think and would not perform well. I think MQTT is the answer but I haven't fully grasped it yet. If I understand right I would need an MQTT broker running at the location of my microcontroller to make that work. Is it possible for my photon board to be its own broker to eliminate another piece of hardware to maintain? Or, is there a better way to approach this project without relying on cloud services?

No, you want the broker to run in a cloud server of some sort. (I would rent a cheap VPS.) Then the microcontroller publishes to the broker and Ignition subscribes to the broker.

Ok, thank you. Can I run the broker on a server rather than renting a cloud server?

Yes, but then your server needs to be accessible by Ignition somehow.

You can check out Drouge IoT from RedHat. It is open-source and free to use. They support HTTP, CoAP, MQTT, and Curl I think. They have a community sandbox that you can use without any setup by you. Just install their command line tool. They have REST APIs that you should be able to use to get data into Ignition.

Golioth IoT is another one to check into, if you use under 50 devices it's free as well.

Thanks everyone!