That takes intelligent data from devices and sends it to any point within an enterprise where the
information is needed, says John Keever, executive vice president and chief technology officer. This communication is enabled by native drivers, message-queuing systems, mail and maintenance systems, and generic database interfaces, he adds.
A pure Java or Microsoft Windows .Net workbench running on a personal computer (PC) or desktop system comprises the platform’s main software components. And at the software’s core are a run-time component, which handles real-time data, and an enterprise-transaction component, which handles moving information from the enterprise.
Those core elements permit bi-directional data flow. “Once a device becomes initiated, it can literally go into a database, pull information and store it in memory,” Keever explains. At the appropriate time, data go out to a message queue, then into a programmable logic controller (PLC). From the enterprise, requests may also originate through a series of Web-oriented application
programming interfaces, or APIs.
Having a component-based flexible architecture, the technology uses native interface protocols that vendors provide. “If an Oracle database is being used, deviceWise utilizes the official Oracle-released connection link to that database. Likewise for IBM, and the like,” Keever says. What allows interoperability with those information technology paths is deviseWise’s Common Operations Run-time Environment, or CORE, Keever observes. “It enables us to transport data simultaneously to Microsoft SQL (structured query language) Server, IBM DB2, Oracle or other systems,” he says. “It also allows us to transport data downstream to a Mitsubishi controller, a Rockwell controller, a Siemens controller or some other type of device.” Keever notes that the platform also supports legacy interfaces for non-Web-based systems.
The platform is designed to offer end-users constant, reliable data access. To establish primary and failover channels, the technology can operate on at least two channels over Ethernet connections, Keever indicates. “If there is a [main channel] failure, the user would still have a secondary link active to access information and data.” There’s also a “store-and-forward” subsystem that activates if a link is lost. The technology automatically goes into failover mode then, and stores all data—even several days’ worth—in a controller until the link recovers, he says.
Since security is always a concern, data flow is encrypted from the workbench to the deviceWise-enabled product. “We also have some ports for Secure Socket Layer that allow encrypted links up into the enterprise,” Keever adds. The platform’s rules-based policy-management system allows end-users “to exercise very granular control over access to the data or processes,” he says.
What he calls the platform’s “split-brain behavior” facilitates its drag-and-drop functionality. That allows end-users to create a logical name for either the physical device or enterprise domain. “I could call a database ‘production data,’ for example,” he suggests. Using the technology’s workbench, a user could configure the drag-and-drop tool to take data from the device domain and drop it into a database element. “That is a very easy, connect-the-dots behavior between the
two domains,” he explains.
A video display terminal anywhere on the network could show that connectivity. “It can be created on a laptop that a factory engineer carries,” Keever says. “Or it can be running on a desktop back at the corporate technology center.”
It appears deviceWISE 2.0’s first commercial deployment will be through vendor Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. (www.meau.com), Vernon Hills, Ill. “We anticipate limited availability in January ’08 and general availability in May ’08,” forecasts Trayton Jay, director of special projects, about its Q Series PLCs embedded with this ILS technology.