It’s Upgrade Season for Your AVEVA | Wonderware Systems

By Chris Selph, InSource Technical Solutions Architect

Upgrading software and moving to new hardware is not the most pleasant of propositions for some as it represents change and possibly some disruption.

There can be an upside to upgrading since there is ample opportunity to improve your overall plant floor operations systems in terms of reliability, flexibility and cost of ownership.

Consider the many improvements for the system’s end users as well system administrators/engineers as you plan for your upgrade that will make everyone involved more effective at their job. The right tools for the right job, as we always say.

Here are 3 considerations for your new and improved system:

  • Virtualization
  • Remote Desktop Services
  • Industrial Graphics from AVEVA/Wonderware

Virtualization

Have you considered virtualizing your new system and reaping benefits from using that modern technology? AVEVA/Wonderware technology fully supports virtualization technologies from VMWare and Microsoft. There are many benefits from this technology as compared to the “traditional” installation of software on dedicated and standalone hardware.

If your architecture includes software server components like a Historian, a Galaxy Repository, a Remote Desktop Server (more on that below) or many others, virtualization makes a lot of sense.

It is estimated that over 50% of InSource customers use virtualized servers for most of their server based components. This is a tried and true technology which brings many benefits for end users and administrators.

For example, system reliability greatly increases with virtualization since spinning up the backup version of a “virtual machine” is fast and easy.

You no longer need to be afraid of making changes to your system because you can easily “roll back” to a previous version of that virtual image if the change creates problems.

Virtualization also employs automated fault tolerant schemes to keep your system uptime within tolerance for your end users.  The list goes on, but I’ll leave it there for now.

Sample Virtualized Architecture

Remote Desktop Services

Consider how you are managing your edge applications like your HMIs and other components. If you are managing PCs on the plant floor, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and thin client hardware may help in a lot of ways.

Remote Desktop Services is built into Windows Server Operating Systems and enables multiple users to run private application sessions on a single server OS. This means that applications like InTouch are installed only once and made available to users in this multi-session environment.

In an RDS environment, maintaining PCs on the plant floor is no longer a necessary burden. These are replaced by thin client devices which make a connection to the RDS server to run a session of InTouch (for example) and now serves as the plant floor HMI station. It is estimated that over 60% of InSource customers using RDS have removed traditional PCs from the plant floor and use thin client hardware. Additionally, they are using a thin client hardware management system called ACP Thinmanager to centrally control and direct thin client hardware functionality. Note that RDS functionality is not limited to desktop devices meaning it opens the door to running HMI applications on mobile devices.

Sample RDS Architecture

Application Functionality Enhancements

So, you may ask what benefits can I expect in terms of Wonderware functionality IF I upgrade? The past 5-10 years have seen huge improvements in Wonderware functionality in systems like InTouch, System Platform, Historian and Historian Clients.

A primary use of Wonderware software is to deliver a graphical interface to operational users to monitor and control the plant. The biggest advancement in terms of graphics is with ArchestrA Graphics (now called Industrial Graphics). For HMI users, this is where you are going to see the most impactful improvements for some time to come. Templates enable you to create standards and reduces the time required to make across the board changes. Consider them to be “Apps” for your plant floor interfaces.

Industrial Graphics are vector based and very scalable for different resolutions and device form factors such as 4K monitors, tablets and mobile phones. This supports all the swipe, pinch zoom and other hand gestures you have come to expect from modern devices.

We also support multiple Situational Awareness design methodologies to enhance the user experience.  As you upgrade, it is worth considering the communications that are critical to your operation.  Is now a good time improve your user experience?

We know upgrades require thought and planning and are necessary to maintain the life and efficacy of any IT system.  Consider using these 3 tools to make the most out of your AVEVA/Wonderware monitoring and control systems:

  • Virtualization
  • Remote Desktop Services
  • Industrial Graphics from AVEVA/Wonderware

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 support officially ended January 14, 2020.  For many InSource customers, that makes this Upgrade Season.  For more information on the Windows 7 upgrade requirements or assistance with upgrades, click here.