ExxonMobil, CPlane.ai pilot aids O-PAS effort

Oct. 6, 2020
Published results show orchestration can simplify managing multi-vendor systems, improve security, reliability

ExxonMobil and CPlane.ai published Sept. 24 the results and findings of their digital infrastructure orchestration pilot. They report that, as IT/OT convergence and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) adoption accelerates, new system management challenges must be addressed. Their pilot demonstrated how orchestration can simplify managing new, multi-vendor systems, while improving security and reliability.

A whitepaper describing their methods and results of the pilot is at https://cplaneai.com/resources and at https://cplaneai.com/cplane-ai-and-exxonmobil-joint-initiative-2. Key findings of the pilot include:

  • Multi-vendor, open process automation can be integrated into a wholistic system using system orchestration technology.
  • Open standards, such as the Open Process Automation Standard (O-PAS), make interoperability orders of magnitude easier to manage and more reliable to implement.
  • An integrated hybrid-architecture of IT/OT digital assets can be managed in one cohesive framework with limited or no IT expertise.
  • System orchestration is critical for accelerating innovation and adoption of converged IT/OT systems, particularly in an open, multi-vendor and interoperable control system.

“CPlane.ai exceeded our expectations on what is possible in demonstrating the management of a converged IT/OT industrial control system," says Don Bartusiak, chief engineer for process control at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. "System orchestration is growing in visibility and importance in the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), and many of the findings of this pilot will help us shape the evolution of our standards.”

Digital infrastructure orchestration automates the provisioning, monitoring, failure-recovery and evolution of OPA systems while maintaining continuous operations and network-based cybersecurity. Steve Bitar, an automation leader at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, adds: “This was an ambitious project from the beginning. And the results have really given us a vision for how complex open industrial control systems can be managed and automated.”

CPlane.ai automates the orchestration of distributed edge computing across a diverse landscape of hardware and software components. It's now conducting demonstrations of its digital infrastructure test bed with partners and OPAF members. Going forward, CPlane.ai will apply lessons from this pilot project to other OPAF-related test beds and pilots.