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MAY-JUN 2019

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using customized commercial solu- tions and carefully coordinating the activities of IT and OT personnel. How- ever, a better approach is to use mis- sion-specific server hardware and thin- client software products optimized for industrial applications—which can be more readily deployed, operated, and maintained by OT personnel. ■ ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jason Andersen (Ja- son.Andersen@stra- tus.com) is vice presi- dent of business line management, where he is responsible for setting product road maps and go-to- market strategies for Stratus products and services. Andersen understands both on-premise and cloud- based infrastructure for IIoT and has been responsible for the market delivery of prod- ucts and services for almost 20 years. View the online version at www.isa.org/intech/20190605. each time industry personnel move ahead on a new project, they are well positioned to survey the technological landscape and make good use of prov- en technologies. To improve productiv- ity and OEE, end users have recognized a need to enable visualization and con- trol closer to the industrial edge. SCADA and HMI visualization have been fundamental elements of automa- tion strategies for a long time, but now there are better ways to deploy these systems. Establishing an architecture of redundant servers supporting remote thin clients provides the familiar benefits of SCADA and HMI systems, while allow- ing them to be easily extended to any location. Content can be delivered to any fixed or mobile device. Thin-client archi- tectures are a modular way for OEMs and SIs to perform development, a rapid way to deploy the work to the field, and a flex- ible means for operations and mainte- nance to own and operate these systems for the long haul. This improved method for visualiza- tion and control can be achieved by Built for operations Traditional automation computing ar- chitectures commonly employ servers and PCs, while the improved configu- ration advocated here uses servers and thin clients. On the surface this does not seem like such a drastic difference. However, the distinction is where the computing is performed and how re- dundancy is carried out. Classic architectures use servers to perform core supervisory computing services (e.g., VMs for SCADA I/O servers, historians), while remote PCs execute HMI functions and access the servers for I/O points. Reliability is based on de- pendable servers, redundant networks, and multiple parallel PCs. Careful IT con- figuration could enable high availabil- ity and failover between server VMs, but these would be custom configurations. On the other hand, thin-client archi- tectures centralize almost all computing on the servers, even the HMI function- ality. VM sessions and HMI applications are delivered out to thin clients, with each acting as a window into function- ality hosted on server VMs. But because the critical computing core is more cen- tralized, it becomes more important to improve network and server redundancy. As with classic architectures, the server VMs could be hosted on tradi- tional hardware with customized high- availability configurations, but a better option is to use industrial-specific serv- ers with paired redundant nodes. These systems can load share individual VMs between two nodes, or even assign a VM to one node or the other. In the rare event of any single hardware failure, this type of redundancy has zero downtime. Furthermore, using industrial-grade thin-client manager software installed on these servers provides even greater reliability. OT-optimized servers and thin- client software are complementary prod- ucts for visualization and control com- puting services at the industrial edge. Closer to the edge The nature of the production and manufacturing industries, with their emphasis on reliability, means they do not usually employ cutting-edge technologies for automation. However, AUTOMATION IT INTECH MAY/JUNE 2019 33 Figure 3. Thin-client deployment is eased by mission-specific visualization and mobility software like Rockwell ThinManager, which delivers content to many forms of comput- ing and mobile devices. • FactoryTalk View SE Server 10.00.00 • FactoryTalk View SE Client 10.00.00 • FactoryTalk View Studio Enterprise 10.00.00 (optional) • FactoryTalk Historian SE Server 5.01 (optional) • ThinManager 10.0 SP1 • SQL Server Express 2012 SP3 with tools (optional) • Studio 5000 Logix Designer 31.00.01 (optional) VM1 VM2 VM3 VM4 SOFTWARE STRATUS VIRTUAL OS Workstation PC for development and commissioning Thin clients Allen-Bradley Logix controller Allen-Bradley Stratix-managed Ethernet switch WAP Wireless clients

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