Data historians deliver value from big data in the cloud

Cloud: Data historians help manufacturers collect, store, and retrieve the massive amount of process-related data in cloud-based applications, comparative analysis, and quality improvement in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

By Melissa Topp January 20, 2016

Data historians are an integral way for manufacturers to collect, store, and retrieve the massive amount of process-related data needed for comparative analysis and quality improvement in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). At the very least, a premium data historian should have the capability to log data from IIoT devices at speeds greater than 100,000 tags per second and work with multiple data sources across an enterprise, such as OPC UA servers, OPC DA servers, OPC XML DA servers, BACnet devices, SNMP devices, and many others. A data historian that seamlessly integrates with the cloud, stands out from other applications by providing fast storage and retrieval of an organization’s big data resources.

Data storage, access, analysis

A cloud-based data historian should provide the capability to store vast amounts of data and easily integrate with tools to analyze that data and turn it into actionable information. It should enable access to big data from any desktop, Web browser or mobile device, tying into a trusted cloud infrastructure.

The cloud-based data historian should use connection technology that leverages a public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure to increase collaboration and efficiency without comprising security. That same "cloud connector" technology can then act as the on-premises "appliance" to store and forward data from the plant floor to a public or private cloud. It should provide both real-time and historical data from IIoT devices, such as meters, sensors, and processors, to and from the cloud with the strictest security while remaining IT-friendly without mandatory changes to firewalls or corporate infrastructure.

Scalable security, mobility

Selecting a premium cloud-based data historian should be based on scalability, security, and mobility. Users should be able to view and perform advanced analysis on historical data at any time, from anywhere, and on any device.

A scalable system should allow for simple merging between historian nodes, allowing both on-premises and on cloud-based servers to provide data for historical aggregation. It should make it easy to add new sites or more data, allowing the data historian to support expanded operations and scale over time.

A secure system combines private and hybrid cloud solutions with on-site storage to ensure data security and integrity without sacrificing visibility. It should safely store data in the cloud without creating an opening for attack.

A mobile system provides the means to connect to data from wherever users may be, using their favorite devices. It should provide aggregated metrics through the data historian’s performance calculations to an organization’s decision makers wherever and whenever needed.

Combining a premium cloud-based data historian with integrated analysis and data mobility applications provides a complete solution that can help any organization move from being solely server-centric to realizing the benefits of modern, cloud-based technology.

– Melissa Topp is director of global marketing at Iconics Inc. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

Key concepts

  • Historians help manufacturers collect, store, and retrieve data.
  • Seamless historian integration with cloud-based storage and applications helps with secure information sharing, where needed.
  • Scalability, security, and mobility are important attributes for a cloud-based data historian.

Consider this

Can your workers connect to data securely from any location, using their favorite devices? 

ONLINE extra 

Iconics provides more information about using cloud-based data historians in a brief on Hyper Historian for Azure

– See additional stories from the author linked below.