With industries around the world jumping onto the IT bandwagon, IT engineers are on the lookout for products and solutions that allow them to easily connect their operation’s OT systems to IT networks. Although IT engineers are generally well versed in the various IT protocols used to transmit data across a network, they are less familiar the many OT protocols commonly used to implement industrial operations.
Difficulties Encountered when Transmitting Data from OT Systems to the Cloud
Taking into consideration the characteristics and limitations of OT systems, what difficulties can IT experts expect to encounter when it comes time to connect the data to the cloud, and how can these difficulties be overcome?
Lack of Familiarity with OT Protocols
Protocols are like human languages, except that they are used by devices instead of by people. If IT engineers are unable to interpret the various OT protocols they encounter, they won’t be able to parse the data, let alone convert it into useful information.
IT Engineers Are Not Adept at Programming OT Devices
OT devices are designed to handle particular operational needs, and consequently, OT devices only support a limited number of functions and lack the versatility needed for users to implement customized solutions. In addition, programming languages that IT engineers are accustomed to using are not supported by most OT products. Although PLCs support ladder logic, ladder logic is only applicable to OT field applications.
Moxa Can Help You Deploy OT Data to the IT Cloud
OT systems, as well as the devices in the field that make up the systems, communicate predominantly with proprietary protocols. Since IT engineers are usually completely unfamiliar with OT systems, can we find ready-made devices on the market that can fulfill the IT programmer’s needs?
Moxa’s remote I/O devices and smart remote I/O devices extend beyond the realm of OT engineers by supporting IT protocols that are useful for OT applications. The ioLogik E1200 Series, ioLogik E2200 Series, and ioLogik 2500 Series, for example, were designed based on IT experts’ best practices.
In fact, with Moxa’s OT to IT solutions, you will no longer need to invest in additional gateways. Moxa’s solutions support a user-friendly programming environment to provide engineers with greater flexibility. Two particular form factors are described below.
Built-in IT protocols eliminate the cost of purchasing additional protocol gateways
Moxa’s ioLogik E1200 Series and ioLogik 2500 Series are embedded with multiple protocols, including IT protocols such as RESTful APIs, SNMP Trap, and MXIO library. Regardless of whether users want to use a Network Management System (NMS) to manage the entire system, or send/receive RESTful API requests to get/change values or statuses, or even make use of predefined commands for customized development, all of these actions can be achieved with a single I/O device.
• RESTful APIs: RESTful APIs are suitable for cross-application and cross-device topologies due to the large number of frameworks, drivers, and other resources that leverage the HTTP protocol. With the high degree of accessibility and convenience RESTful APIs provide to web connectivity, they have become one of the best options for IIoT device-to-cloud communications.
• SNMP Trap: Moxa’s ioLogik products support SNMPv1/v2c to allow monitoring of the network and I/O devices with SNMP Network Management software. SNMP Traps can be used for sending user-defined messages containing date, time, server name, MAC, IP address, and other parameters, making them useful for building automation and telecom applications.
• MXIO Library: The Moxa MXIO library supports WinCE and Linux, as well as C++, VB/VC, and .NET development platforms. The MXIO library makes it easy to use high-level computer languages to manage I/O devices and data transfer operations over an Ethernet or RS-485 network. Linux programmers can easily develop custom applications to establish transparent communications between the host and the entire ioLogik product family.
For more information about connecting industrial devices to an IT system, read our white paper: Getting IT Engineers Up to Speed in the OT World.