Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ignition preview and a visit to Inductive Automation

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to visit my good friends, Colby and Carl, who are lead developers at Inductive Automation. They gave me an in depth technical "sneak peak" of what is becoming their next product line, "Ignition".

The plan is a single product platform that replaces the separate functionality of FactorySQL and FactoryPMI. They really went all out with levering technologies! The product is platform independent (Windows 32 or 64 bit, Linux, Mac, etc), fully web based (no client installation), and supports separate "modules" that all have access to the same powerful core technologies. Everything runs from a cluster aware web server similar to the current FactoryPMI Gateway but they had new behind the scene tricks (Non-Blocking IO for multithreading, advanced serialization schemes for saving/storing projects, and a whole slew of security upgrades consistent with the OPC-UA specification).

They showed me an OPC-UA application that securely connected to different PLCs (many AB, Siemens, and AD) via different PCs without an OPC tunneller. All this worked equally well on Windows and Linux systems. Once the data is accessible from the PLC, you get the full visualization spectrum that FactoryPMI already offers (graphics, multimedia, historical trends, reporting, etc).

The coolest part is that development time should be cut down substantially, for both Inductive Automation proper and 3rd parties/end users as the API is released, since the platform performs so much native functionality (network, database, project launching/hosting/editing, clustering, storage, alerting, auditing, authentication, etc, etc.). The Ignition platform should become to controls software what Metasploit is to ethical hackers/penetration testers.

No comments: