Available in April 2013, the new DeltaV virtualization capabilities via the DeltaV Virtual Studio lets users create and manage virtual DeltaV systems. “A virtual machine is just a file – an encapsulation of an application and the operating system it’s running on,” said Emerson Process Management Chief Strategic Officer Peter Zornio. One of the advantages, he said, is that “it lets you more fully utilize the CPU on a machine, and still startup and shut down applications individually.” It also extends software life by enabling hardware upgrades independent of application software.
Using the pre-built templates in the Virtual Studio, engineers can add additional DeltaV workstations to their system with a click of a button. “If you were looking at setting up virtualizations, you need to set up the virtualization environment first. We’ve taken that IT effort out of the equation,” said Zornio.
Beyond the ability to extend the DeltaV reach in your facility with a minimal number of computers, users also can create virtual CHARM I/O cards along with virtual controllers, which enables the offline testing of concepts. Plus, users can create a stand-alone DeltaV system on a USB stick to access on a computer that does not have DeltaV installed. This new virtualization capability is great for testing, training and simulation, and supports DeltaV v10 and v11.
Another way Emerson has taken the IT effort out of the systems equation is with its Smart Firewall addition to DeltaV. This functionality creates a secure perimeter around the control system by allowing only user-selected Web services to connect to it. Services are selected from a drop-down list, so “unapproved” services are not allowed. The Smart Firewall can be implemented by plant floor personnel who are not IT experts, said Zornio.
Because totally denying control system access from outside devices is no longer a realistic option, DeltaV v12’s Next Generation Web Server allows for real-time DeltaV graphics to be viewed on any Web browser. Using the Web Server, approved personnel can securely access historical data from the DeltaV Event Chronicle, Continuous Historian, PI or other OPC historians and have the information displayed as trends, bar graphs, X-Y charts and/or tables. In addition, personalized dashboards can be developed to display user-specific information. Installing it on a DeltaV node or plant LAN can further increase security.