OMAC working group's "Best Practices" helps users evaluate, implement Microsoft
Dedham, MA—The Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) Users Group's Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MS MUG) published a "Best Practices" report on April 14 that highlights key aspects of Microsoft's architecture related to reliability, cost and supportability, and then provides options for plant-floor users to consider when applying Microsoft's technology.
Dedham, MA— The Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) Users Group's Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MS MUG) published a "Best Practices" report on April 14 that highlights key aspects of Microsoft's architecture related to reliability, cost and supportability, and then provides options for plant-floor users to consider when applying Microsoft's technology.
MS MUG states that Best Practices will enable manufacturers to implement Microsoft technology that meets their particular plant-floor requirements. The group adds that best practices can bridge the gap between commercial specifications, which are typically not geared for manufacturing automation applications, and an operation's functional requirements.
The report was drafted with input and help from user firms, such as 3M, Boeing and Procter & Gamble, and suppliers, such as Cisco, Microsoft, Siemens, Wonderware, and the Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences.
MS MUG's team has identified 10 key aspects of Microsoft's technology affecting reliability, cost-effectiveness, and supportability. This list guides users to what the group believes to be the key variables determining whether a Microsoft-based system will meet the functional requirements of a plant-floor application. This first version of Best Practices covers seven of the 10 areas:
Architecture, including network devices, media and other hardware, as well as selection of software architecture;
Security, including global security standards, how to respond to cyber-related incidents, and general security practices;
Redundancy and reliability, including software, panels, power, PC communication networks, clusters and references;
System monitoring, including achieving high-availability, outage allocation, and the system-level management process;
Change management, including planning and managing change, and high-level process flow for planned and emergency change management;
Support, including incident and problem definitions, incident generation, problem management tools, and centralized management; and
Backup and recovery, including software license keys, storage devices and media, and backup frequency.
Besides drafting its report, MS MUG is also mapping the necessary plant-floor skills needed to implement its best practices. The group says this effort is already yielding insight and validation about skills required to support plant-floor systems. Interested end-users, OEMs, system integrators, and technology providers are encouraged to join this effort.
Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor