The Evolution of Edge Computing Supporting SCADA
Edge computing is the next step in the evolution of computing supply and demand. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a computer system for gathering and analyzing real-time data. Many systems rely on “the Cloud” for data transfer but even the cloud has its limits. The heavy work is done at the Cloud’s edge. To truly realize the significance of edge computing let’s review the evolution of computers.
The first computers were large, stand-alone units capable of producing calculations in a fraction of the time it would have taken a team of mathematicians. Then there was Unix, which allowed multiple terminals to access centrally stored processes and programs and deliver information across great distances. Next, we have personal computing followed by cloud technology. The cloud allowed individuals and companies to share and store data without having issues with data storage capacity within their physical computing system. But even the vast capacity of the Cloud has its limits, which is where edge computing comes in to resolve and remove the issues of its historical predecessors.
SCADA systems must happen in real-time. These systems require data to be obtained and processed in milliseconds. Edge computing utilizes the geographic distribution of devices at or near the source of the data. Instead of relying on the cloud at various data centers to process and monitor the data, the edge computing device closest to the data source handles the work. This does not remove the need for the cloud, instead, it brings the cloud closer to the source. These devices can be easy to install and configure when using the MQTT modules in support of the Ignition platform and Sparkplug format.
Cirrus Link Solutions have been providing MQTT modules in support of edge computing since 2016. Co-founder of the MQTT protocol, Arlen Nipper, and the Cirrus Link Solutions team, along with industry-leading partners of edge computing hardware and software, has committed to sharing his knowledge of how MQTT modules enhance the SCADA system’s installation and real-time output.
Although MQTT has become one of the dominate messages transport technologies for many IIoT solution providers; however, Cirrus Link Solutions discovered that no standards existed in using MQTT in the industrial mission-critical environment. We used our years of experience to create the specification known as Sparkplug. Then we developed an additional reference implementation code and made it available for anyone to download from our website.
In the Cirrus Link Solutions MQTT demo video, Arlen Nipper demonstrates that, in about 15 seconds, you can configure the auto-discover of 1,400 PLC’s and 60,000 tags in Inductive Automation – Ignition platform. With that kind of capability, edge computing infrastructure achieves the real-time SCADA requirements of any industrial environment.
Edge computing continues to evolve, and Cirrus Link Solutions is on the cutting edge of technological advancement. For more information about MQTT, Ignition, IIoT and SCADA software, or Cirrus Link Solutions, feel free to visit our informative video library.
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