A Cloud Historian for Handling Big Data

By now you’ve certainly heard the term Big Data—probably more often than you care to have heard it. Truth is: Harnessing Big Data holds the key to discovering important insights into your operations that would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to discover before; plus, these insights can save you big money.

The Wonderware Historian Online Edition simplifies set-up, installation and ongoing maintenance while improving usability. Data trends can be displayed for faster troubleshooting.
The Wonderware Historian Online Edition simplifies set-up, installation and ongoing maintenance while improving usability. Data trends can be displayed for faster troubleshooting.

To help customers put Big Data to good use in their operations, Invensys has released its new, cloud-hosted Wonderware® Historian Online Edition. The online Historian connects to your on-premise Historians to aggregate data through a secure, one-way flow of information, i.e., data only flows from your on-premise Historian to the online Historian.

“This one-way data transfer means that you’re pushing data from the active database to a reporting database. That’s a key aspect of securing both sets of Historians—in the cloud and on-premise,” says Maryanne Steidinger, Director Commercialization, Operations and Information Portfolio at Invensys.

The online Historian is further secured via Windows Azure cloud services from Microsoft Corp., which also offers triple redundancy to ensure always-on access to your data. “Most users are happy with a hot backup to their online application data, but Microsoft even backs up the backups on a monthly basis,” Steidinger says. Plus, there is no software to install or set up, saving on valuable IT resources and reducing capital requirements.

This cloud-based historian is the first commercial offering from the Invensys-Windows Azure relationship, through which the two companies jointly develop manufacturing operations software that can be hosted on the Windows Azure platform. The service will be offered as a yearly subscription based on the number of users accessing the data.

Bundled with Historian Online Edition is the company’s Wonderware SmartGlance mobile reporting technology, which allows users to view the online Historian data via multiple devices, including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. “SmartGlance software allows you to go to any Historian or database to create reports that can be pushed down to a tablet or smartphone,” says Steidinger.

Virtual delivery is the way of the future for most applications. Cloud technology reduces cost and complexity, as well as provides new levels of flexibility and agility. And when combined with mobile solutions and workflow, customers can truly can engineer, operate and manage their plants from anywhere.

Explaining how a user could put this kind of Big Data to use, Steidinger offers an example of a manufacturer with three plants. “If a manager or executive at this company wanted to create trends or analysis around quality, alarms, or throughput from all the plants, he or she could use the online Historian to get an accumulated view of the data. From there, the data can be viewed from a single-plant perspective, by shift, by date, or even look into items such as energy use. There are many different types of analysis you can do by having easy access this level of accumulated data.”

The online Historian has been in beta testing for the past year, and Steidinger feels the market has become much more open to using cloud-based application in that time period. “Two years ago, I asked the user council about the cloud, and they weren’t interested. But they were interested in virtualization, and that has encouraged a lot of people to go to the cloud. After all, once you’re comfortable with an application being virtualized and hosted on-site, the only difference with it being cloud-based is that the application is hosted off-site. Plus, fewer people are afraid of the cloud today. At events we hold now, we’re seeing that users are much more receptive to using the cloud than they were just six months ago.”

Steidinger adds that this release is “just the start of our cloud-based services offerings. There are many more cloud-based offerings in the works. We’re even talking about SimSci simulation software products being hosted in the cloud now,” she says.

You can see a demonstration of the Wonderware Historian Online and Smart Glance software in Booth D6 in the Expo Hall. You can also learn more at: http://global.wonderware.com/EN/Pages/InvensysCloudforManufacturing.aspx

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