Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, has expanded its certification for virtualization technology, making it the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance in supervisory control applications leveraging both the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platforms. The company's ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Wonderware InTouch 2012 software are now certified for the latest VMware solutions, including VMware vSphere version 5.0 and ESXi version 5.0 for mission-critical applications.
"Historically, high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions in supervisory control systems were expensive to implement, not only because of hardware and software costs, but also because of additional administrative burdens," said Maryanne Steidinger, director of product marketing, Invensys Operations Management. "Along with many other benefits, when ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and InTouch 2012 software are deployed, they support high-availability and disaster-recovery implementations using Windows Server Hyper-V virtualization from Microsoft, as well as the latest remote desktop services that are part of Windows Server 2008 R2. Now, after a rigorous validation period, our ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Wonderware InTouch 2012 software are also certified for disaster recovery and high availability using VMware virtualization. All this is possible on commercial operating systems using off-the-shelf hardware, further reducing cost and easing implementation of mission-critical applications."
Virtualization software, like that offered by Microsoft and VMware, transforms or "virtualizes" a computer's hardware, e.g., the CPU, hard drive and network controller, to create a virtual computer that can run its own operating system and applications just like a "real" computer. By sharing hardware resources with each other, multiple operating systems can run simultaneously on a single physical computer. And because it has the CPU, memory and network devices of the "host," a virtual machine is completely compatible with all standard operating systems, applications and drivers. With virtualization, users can safely run several operating systems and applications at the same time on a single computer, with each having access to the resources it needs when it needs them. And it's all possible with commercial off-the-shelf hardware and operating systems.
According to Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group , "end users are rapidly deploying virtualization solutions to reduce the number of physical servers needed for their plants in order to lower their hardware costs, IT costs and energy bills." Resnick also said that virtualization technology helps end users with system deployment of high-availability, disaster-recovery and fault-tolerance solutions as it is used to quickly get plants back up and running when computers fail, regardless of location.
While the underlying technology is sophisticated, virtualization can deliver benefits that are much simpler to understand and achieve. By eliminating dependencies between the physical hardware and the software, customers have more choices to better manage their applications, servers and equipment. One of the many benefits is the ability to move virtual machines between host computers, which enables a variety of different fail-safe scenarios to be implemented, each providing options for different levels of redundancy that make systems more resilient, less prone to equipment failure, less prone to site failure and simpler to upgrade.
"At OpsManage'11 last fall, we set up and demonstrated a scenario where an entire primary system in Florida failed over to a backup disaster recovery system in California," Steidinger said. "Customers were impressed with the ease and speed with which the backup system took over control, using only commercial hardware. That's the flexibility they are looking for to modernize and optimize their business. As the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance on the two major virtualization platforms, we look forward to continuing to offer the products our customers need to achieve the highest levels of compliance, collaboration and operational excellence."