Stratus has been added to the OPC standard to ensure that the Stratus ftServers, which use VMWare, can be seamlessly integrated in the plant automation infrastructure.
A full synergy between IT/OT requires all elements working in the OT world to be able to communicate and being accessed following the standards used in the plant.
I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to explain the new functionality added to Stratus ftServers working with VMWare. The Stratus OPC Server places the ftServer as a device seamlessly integrated in SCADA architectures, able to offer its state by means of a Boolean variable which can be imported directly with any OPC client, both DA and UA.
The point is the ability to integrate, in a general view of the system, an indicator which allows us to know quickly whether our system is in simplex or duplex mode, i.e. if any component on any of the blades does not work correctly anymore. So far, the only information it offers is this Boolean variable to report the global state, and in case the variable state were False, the next step would be open the Stratus Appliance web interface to inspect in detail which component has failed.
The Stratus OPC packet has two components: OPC UA Server and OPC Proxy software.
– OPC UA Server: it is located in the Management Appliance and installed separately in each ftServer to be monitored. As mentioned above, it provides a Boolean variable that indicated whether the server state is Duplex/Simplex, that is, if all elements are duplexed or some element does not work properly anymore – it’s calculated from the state of the CPU, IOs, and internal sensors monitored once a minute. The fastest scan rate achieved by this OPC Server is 1 minute, more than enough to monitor a server and to minimize the resources consumption.
– OPC Proxy Software: this additional packet is required when the HMIs use OPC DA. The software must be installed in the same system – must be Microsoft® Windows® – as the OPC DA client. It functions as a gateway between the OPCua channel and the OPCda channel by enabling an UA tunnel.
As proposed solution, the state of Ftserver – “OK” or “not OK” – can be directly integrated in the SCADA solution with an indicator, as can be seen on the following architecture.
We will close follow the advances in this OPC server, and the way followed by Stratus to the full integration with the industry. And remember; do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about this topic.