Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ignition, post release activity and OPC vendors

I was impressed with the Ignition by Inductive Automation product release webinar. The Inductive Automation team did a first class job introducing the company, Ignition product platform and architecture, and the motivation behind the shift to OPC-UA. In a nutshell, their vision of the future of industrial software is: standards based, IT friendly, and platform independent. Get DCOM out of here! We want a top notch, secure SCADA system that runs equally well on Linux, a mac, or any flavor/service pack of the Windows rainbow. The demonstration included a full server installation, which took about 2 minutes, and highlighted the drag and drop ease of the new SQLTags History feature, which is deceptively simple, yet powerful.

We've been getting a huge number of hits to the new website by a number of companies across the world. We've also been getting a lot of interest in when more drivers will be available, like Siemens, Modbus, and Automation Direct in addition to the existing Allen Bradley suite.  I suppose this isn't surprising considering that we're the only cross-platform OPC-UA server available. While it shouldn't be too long before we get those drivers developed, this brings me to my next point...

Where are the other OPC-UA servers? We're really looking forward to a more vibrant marketplace for OPC-UA products. Kepware says they'll be releasing their OPC-UA server soon - we're looking forward to being able to test it with Ignition. This really excites me because it brings their extensive PLC product line to the table via OPC-UA. Unfortunately, I don't think it will be cross platform.

So, how about it? OPC vendors: the gauntlet has been thrown. The industry wants OPC-UA products! And if they're cross platform, all the better. When will we start seeing them?

7 comments:

Eric Murphy said...

Consider the gauntlet picked up.
At MatrikonOPC we are well aware that industry is looking for OPC UA connectivity. We're on it.

http://www.matrikonopc.com/opc-ua/products/index.aspx

One of the major benefits to OPC UA is ability to deploy across platforms. We are well on the road to delivering that as well with our Universal Connectivity Server.

http://www.matrikonopc.com/opc-drivers/321/base-driver-details.aspx

All the OPC Servers in the vast MatrikonOPC portfolio available with one OPC UA server that can be deployed on non-Windows systems.

OPC UA is the future of standardized connectivity. Products like Ignition and the MatrikonOPC UCS show that the future in here (or at least very, very close :) )

Nathan Boeger said...

Eric - that's what I like to hear!

Is there a beta/test version of the Matrikon OPC Universal Connectivity Server (UCS) that I can use to test with Ignition? Similarly, feel free to use Ignition to test the UCS.

On a separate note - I applaud you for carrying the OPC-UA banner. It goes a long ways in educating users on the many benefits that the OPC Foundation has outlined.

Roy Kok said...

Kepware releases its OPC UA interface on KEPServerEX next week. Please watch for the announcement. We're delivering a UA Server in addition to the OPC DA, OPC AE and Native interfaces that we support today. We're also delivering an OPC UA Client Driver. These two UA features can combine to deliver very secure and standards based tunneling, a first for the industry. www.kepware.com (website will have details on Monday).

Nathan Boeger said...

Roy - very exciting! I look forward to hearing the announcement!

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Industrial Touchup said...

SQLTags is outstanding, loving the drag and drop.

Thomas said...

First off I really want to say I appreciate the excellent work and open communication that this blog brings to the table. (Nathan Keep up the excellent work)

My great colleagues quoted here are clearly are my best evangelists. The concept of developing open industrial standards and motivating competitive vendors to work together in a cooperative environment is really what OPC is all about. I'm always quoted talking about success is measured by the level of adoption of the technology. OPC UA is all about multiplatform multi-vendor secure reliable interoperability for industrial automation and beyond. It leverages the great technology of all of our operating system vendors include Microsoft and the whole WCF based architecture.

Stay tuned to important announcements from many of the OPC vendors who are really the foundation of the OPC Foundation who are developing OPC UA products and services. OPC UA is clearly designed to take advantage of the capabilities of embedded platforms all the way through the enterprise. We deliberately designed the architecture to be totally scalable allowing easy deployment on a multitude of platforms.

Imagine OPC UA on a chip! Can it really be done? Imagine OPC UA embedded in a PLC or DCS platform! Can it really be done? Imagine OPC UA being a critical part of the infrastructure for the Smart Grid! Can it really be done? Imagine the OPC Foundation collaborating with other consortiums in the spirit of developing standards that vendors adopt into real products! Can this really be successful or is this an academic exercise in futility?

The answer to the questions with the word CAN in the paragraph above is very simple.

One vendor has already announced a product with OPC UA on a chip. OPC UA has already been successfully embedded in a number of PLC and DCS platforms. OPC UA is actively on the radar for the Smart Grid, and on the NIST roadmap as the only recognized industry-standard. OPC has already successfully collaborated with many consortiums, and is actively engaged in critical opportunities for advancing the whole concept of interoperability beyond where we ever dreamed we would go.

For more information feel free to contact me directly, or check out the OPC Foundation website (www.opcfoundation.org)