StorageMAP Enhancements To Unstructured Data Management

I remember suggesting to OT suppliers about studying the new (at the time) unstructured database systems then coming out. Most were suspicious. Now, studies show that 80% or more of enterprise data is unstructured. Fortunately tools grew with the new database technology. One such developer is Datadobi, who just announced StorageMAP Version 6.3 enabling companies to archive, pipeline, and replicate unstructured data to object storage on-premises or in the cloud without lock-in.

The 6.3 release introduces the ability to copy network-attached storage (NAS) data to any S3-compatible object storage system. The new file-to-object copy functionality adds to StorageMAP’s ability to help IT leaders archive, pipeline, and replicate file data to S3.

With StorageMAP 6.3, companies can create a copy of file data on a cost-effective object storage server or service within different geographies, tech stacks, or networking providers. This enables organizations to archive aging and/or redundant, obsolete, and/or trivial (ROT) data to less expensive storage, pipeline data to the cloud for running cloud-native analytics and AI/ML applications against the data, or maintain a safe copy of data on heterogeneous storage operating systems (OS) helping protect against OS specific bugs or hacks.

The update addresses the four main critical concerns for enterprises:

• Cost Control – Orphaned data — datasets owned by employees of a company that are inactive but still enabled on an organization’s network or systems — represents a source of “dark” data consuming valuable capacity on NAS systems. Being able to move these datasets from NAS systems to S3-compatible object stores without lock-in allows IT leaders to significantly reduce costs and free up space on expensive production storage.

• Conformance to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Policies – According to 451 Research, 53% of enterprises currently have a formal ESG program in place or are planning for one. With the new StorageMAP capabilities, datasets with a higher degree of CO2 emissions associated with it can be relocated to cleaner storage. In addition, IT leaders can consolidate a larger number of NAS systems to reduce energy consumption and CO2 generation.

• Risk Reduction – Orphaned or ROT data can introduce risk to organizations because it is often unmonitored due to a clear lack of business ownership or excessive aging. The option of relocating this data from production NAS systems to remote or cold object storage can help prevent it from being exploited or leaked.

• Maximizing Unstructured Data Value – The average organization only uses 50% of available data for decision-making. With StorageMAP’s latest release, unstructured data can be quickly copied to the cloud and analyzed by cloud-native AI/ML. This allows IT leaders to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, trends, and more.

A Little IT Update from Siemens, Edge and Networking

Siemens has had a manufacturing IT presence for many years. Here are two announcements bolstering its portfolio. Industrial Edge and Networking products.

Siemens Expands Industrial Edge

  • Industrial Edge Management System (IEM V2.0) for Kubernetes clusters addresses IT users in production and saves IT resources, energy and costs
  • Industrial Edge Hub provides greater license management visibility
  • New virtual edge device and new Simatic IPC edge devices offer more flexibility when implementing IIoT applications

The Industrial Edge Management System (IEM V2.0), an alternative offering to the existing IEM 1.3, is available for the open-source system Kubernetes. IT professionals can now easily integrate Industrial Edge into existing Kubernetes clusters. This makes shop floor automation more IT-oriented, and ultimately more efficient and easier to handle for IT users. 

Since computing power can be flexibly allocated within one or more Kubernetes clusters, companies can save IT resources and thus energy and costs. 

The Industrial Edge Hub will help ensure better future usability in terms of license management as well as provide a clear and convenient overview of all device management licenses and apps purchased through the Industrial Edge Marketplace. Users will be able to either actively retrieve statistics via the Industrial Edge Hub or have them reported automatically. The statistics will include: the number of purchased apps, the assignment of licenses to the industrial edge management systems, as well as the remaining number of installations and licenses. In addition, users will receive warnings when quotas are exceeded as well as recommendations for action to avoid such warnings in the future.

For further information regarding Siemens Industrial Edge for IT specialists click here.

Industrial Networks: New Generation Industrial Ethernet Switches 

  • Scalance XC/XR-300 series with compact and 19-inch rack models
  • Next-generation industrial networks connect OT and IT for more flexible and secure production
  • New switches will support Time-Sensitive Networking

Siemens has now renewed the Industrial Ethernet Switches of its Scalance XC-/XR-300 series and upgraded them with additional functions for next-generation industrial networks. So-called managed Layer 2 switches from the Scalance X Industrial Ethernet Switch product family are now available – both as compact models and as 19-inch variants for control cabinets. The new switches thus replace the portfolio of the current Scalance X-300 series and carry the model designation Scalance XC-/XCM-300 in the compact version and Scalance XR-/XRM-300 in the 19-inch version. 

The switches of the new Scalance XC-/XCM-300 and Scalance XR-/XRM-300 series have a high port density.

HiveMQ Enables Seamless IoT Data Integration to AWS

HiveMQ announced the availability of the HiveMQ Enterprise Extension for Amazon Kinesis, a new feature that allows users to quickly move their MQTT data from the broker into AWS using Amazon Kinesis Data Streams. With this release, HiveMQ customers can now integrate MQTT data reliably and securely to any of the three major cloud providers – AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud – or simultaneously in a multi-cloud environment.

HiveMQ’s platform-agnostic, full-featured broker offers 100% MQTT compliance, efficient network utilization, enterprise-grade security, reliable data delivery and the ability to scale to millions of always-on concurrent connections to meet the requirements of any IoT application. The extension framework gives customers the flexibility to integrate seamlessly with enterprise systems to support multi-cloud strategies and eliminate vendor lock-in.

The new HiveMQ Enterprise Extension for Amazon Kinesis offers the following features:

• Seamless integration of MQTT data into Amazon Kinesis Data Streams

• Indirect support for Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose and Data Analytics as they read data from Kinesis Data Streams

• Configuration of access credentials and authentication via AWS Identity and Access Management

• Continuous support and feature updates from HiveMQ

The early access version of the HiveMQ Enterprise Extension for Amazon Kinesis is available for download now

Industry IoT Consortium Updates Industrial Internet Reference Architecture

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) announced it had updated its Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA). The IIRA Version 1.10 addresses the challenges of current industrial IoT systems and industry trends, such as the convergence of IT and OT, digital twins, systems comprised of independent systems, and the inclusion of “non-human” digital users.

The foundational views of the IIRA (Business, Usage, Functional, and Implementation) have not changed. Still, the IIC revised and extended the sections to address how organizations use the views. For example, the new IIRA includes mapping essential industrial IoT functions to system requirement categories. This helps organizations understand which functions will best meet their needs.

Another addition to the IIRA V1.10 is a new set of Architecture Patterns that system designers can use to tailor standard system features and implementations. The IIRA V1.10 also illustrates how system designers can overlay patterns with each other (or with different architecture patterns) to help them build new system implementations from a collection of well-understood models.

The Industry IoT Consortium delivers transformative business value to industry, organizations, and society by accelerating the adoption of a trustworthy internet of things. The Industry IoT Consortium is a program of the Object Management Group (OMG).

Honeywell Connect 2022 Updates

Honeywell has been an enigma to me for several years. I haven’t been confident in product direction, where different elements of process automation would fit, and would it make a transition to software. Then came Honeywell Forge. Where did that fit with Process Solutions and UOP? Then we had the pandemic and I couldn’t make the User Group this year due to many conflicts.

This is mostly my deficiency, but also I had lost track of contacts. All that is remedied, and the picture is beginning to focus. I was also able to catch some virtual conferences to gain insight from CTO Jason Urso.

Honeywell Forge is coalescing into a viable software division. Process Solutions is cranking out some interesting new products and services. Sustainability is a key strategy. Cybersecurity remains strong within the portfolio.

I’m quite late with this update. Following are major points from recent announcements. Check out the various links for more.

Manufacturing Excellence Platform

Manufacturing Excellence platform provides real-time end-to-end production visualization and dashboards for multiple user roles from operators to management, process unit timelines, detailed equipment status, and trends of critical process parameters. The Manufacturing Excellence platform, built for Life Sciences applications, puts actionable information in context in one interface. The solution digitizes paper-based batch records, work instructions, and logbooks to ensure consistent compliance with standard operating procedures.

Honeywell Forge Performance+

As part of the new Honeywell Forge Performance+ for Industrials suite, Asset Performance helps deliver asset reliability and energy efficiency through real-time monitoring of assets using predictive models embedded with deep-domain expertise. Asset Performance can help to both detect potential asset health issues and predict possible time to failure in order to proactively improve plant availability.

Enhancements to Existing Honeywell Software Solutions

  • Honeywell Plantwide Optimizer – End-to-end solution that integrates planning, operations and blending in near real time.
  • Honeywell Operations Management – Enhancements to the user experience designed to help industrial operations managers to better proactively monitor, document and operate their industrial processes to reduce downtime, increase throughput and yields, and standardize shift reporting.
  • Honeywell Workforce Competency – Enhancements to the simulation-based experiential learning solution to develop and enhance the competency of today’s industrial workforce include persona-based dashboards and a new soft Safety Manager direct link.

Cybersecurity

Honeywell’s AMIR managed service brings increased cybersecurity capabilities to an organization’s existing Security Operation Centers (SOCs) to strengthen OT cybersecurity across the enterprise.

Cyber App Control, previously known as Application Whitelisting, is a vendor-agnostic cybersecurity solution suitable for both Honeywell and non-Honeywell control systems designed to provide an additional layer of security that allows only known and trusted applications to run on ICS assets and increases a customer’s ability to prevent known malware and zero-day attacks on OT environments that often rely on more vulnerable legacy systems with challenging maintenance schedules.

Honeywell Forge Sustainability+

• An enterprise solution that measures fugitive and process GHG emission leaks, continuously monitors sites for new or remediated emissions, reports on emissions’ status and drives emission reduction strategies and solutions.

• Innovative gas detection technologies with Honeywell Versatilis Signal Scout gas detector and Gas Cloud Imaging, interfaces with Emissions Management for continuous measuring and monitoring of emissions, enabling customers to better manage GHG emissions proactively in near real-time. 

• Reporting of process emissions with site- and enterprise-level trending and visualization that allows organizations to locate methane leaks that may cause production loss or impact worker safety, as well as gain access to metrics and alarms associated with gas leaks.

• Enterprise-wide accounting, visualization and reporting that eliminates periodic manual reporting and provides a holistic, near real-time view of Scope 1 emissions for HSE professionals and executive teams.

Honeywell and Aramco JV for Business Process Software

Honeywell and Aramco have announced the signing of a joint venture (JV) agreement to provide a set of end-to-end business process automation solutions, under the Aramco Namaat Industrial Investments Program. The technology solutions can be offered to a wide range of industrial sectors to help maximize profitability, improve productivity, sustainability and operational excellence, on a global scale. The new JV offerings will leverage Aramco’s Plant.Digital platform (formerly Integrated Manufacturing Operations Management System – iMOMS) as well as Honeywell Connected Enterprise’s technology development and industrial digital solutions implementation experience.

The JV aims to equip industrial companies with the tools, processes and practices they need to run plant operations more effectively and accelerate sustainable digital transformation and operational excellence initiatives. It will emphasize the development, integration, and deployment of Operations Technology (OT) solutions and Digital Transformation consulting.

The new JV is expected to create more than 300 jobs in Saudi Arabia within five years, supporting the Aramco Namaat Industrial Investments Program, which is designed to boost Saudi economic and workforce development.

Partnership for Track and Trace Solutions

Honeywell announced that Imperial Brands, a British multinational tobacco company, has chosen Honeywell to provide the Honeywell Track & Trace solution (“Honeywell Track & Trace”) to digitalize and transform the monitoring and tracking of their supply chain operations.

In addition to the cloud-based Honeywell Track & Trace solution, Honeywell will provide a comprehensive and integrated system of support, professional services, and governance to help Imperial’s business meet critical requirements for compliance and executing its global supply chain.

Automation Fair Attracts Large Crowd, Exhibits New Technology

There was Automation Fair and then meetings and then Thanksgiving. Plenty of time to digest everything I learned and experienced at Rockwell Automation’s event. They skipped 2020, of course. The 2021 event in Houston was abbreviated. This one held at Chicago’s McCormick Place resembled all the pre-Covid events. More than 15,000 attendees, lots of presentations and learning opportunities, and many Rockwell and partner exhibits.

I wrote a quick update with the themes I picked up. Here is a recap.

Themes

  • Emphasis on partners working together—specifically Festo, Zededa, Stratus
  • Connected Enterprise is still central, connectivity is everywhere
  • Cloud is everywhere
  • Use technology the right way
  • Enable humans to make better decisions

The big three things Rockwell spokespeople referenced were FactoryTalk Design Hub, FactoryTalk Edge, and cloud. The cloud discussion involved Design Hub, Plex, and Fiix. Plex, the cloud-based MES software replaced PTC as the focus of software discussion. PTC’s stand, though, with ThingWorx and Vuforia, was constantly busy—so much so that I never squeezed in for a talk. Fiix is the cloud-based CMMS package. I think these were meaningful acquisitions that will add value now and in the future.

Specifics — Rockwell Automation Products

FactoryTalk Design Hub

Transform automation design capabilities with a more simplified, productive way to work powered by the cloud. There are five core applications.

  • FactoryTalk Design Studio—cloud-native software product built from the ground up to improve system design efficiency. Teams can collaborate with automated tools to share and merge changes, and project sizes can scale dynamically with support for multiple controllers in a single project.
  • FactoryTalk Optix—addition to the visualization portfolio, the first cloud-enabled HMI product to be launched within FactoryTalk Design Hub. 
  • FactoryTalk Twin Studio—end-to-end automation design solution where users can design, program, simulate, emulate, and virtually commission in one cloud environment.
  • FactoryTalk Vault—secure, cloud-native centralized storage for manufacturing design teams. 
  • FactoryTalk Remote Access—enables secure connections to equipment. 

FactoryTalk Edge

An intelligent edge management and orchestration SaaS platform with an edge application ecosystem – based on zero trust security and open industry standards – accelerating digital transformation for industrial customers.

FactoryTalk Edge Gateway (FTEG)

Connects operational technology to informational technology. FTEG tools scan the EtherNet/IP network to discover devices. 

FactoryTalk Smart Object (FTSO)

A simplified way to organize data for easy collection by the controller and subsequent transfer to IIoT systems. The FTSO Config Tool creates the base code for the tags the user selects to be included in data models.

On Machine Products

  • ArmorKinetix distributed servo drives provide the Kinetix 5700 platform in a compact, On-Machine form factor.
  • ArmorBlock 5000 I/O—Distributed I/O blocks with IO-Link technology
  • Armor PowerFlex—A new generation of On-Machine VFD motor control solutions that provide an integrated, near-motor solution where reducing installation time and cost are most critical.

Specifics — Partners

Festo

  • With the Festo CPX-FB36 bus node now recognized by FTEG, basic diagnostic information from smart pneumatic devices such as Festo valve terminals and energy saving pneumatic devices are easily accessible.
  • Add-on instructions can be used by FTSO that access timestamp values for the extension and retraction of pneumatic cylinders. This information is accessible to FTEG.
  • Data collected by FTEG can be shared with Festo AX software, the new AI solution from Festo that can improve machine utilization and quality, lower waste, and ensure energy optimization. Festo AX provides a bridge between advanced analytics arising from operational technology, such as that collected by FTEG, and IT-based business intelligence. Festo AX can run directly on the system (on-edge), on servers (on-premises), or in the cloud.

Zededa

Zededa announced a supply agreement with Rockwell Automation to provide distributed edge management and orchestration capabilities—incorporated as part of FactoryTalk edge management offering.

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