SPONSORED BY: SOFTWARE TOOLBOX
You’ve invested in robust, secure, OPC UA data collection to support your Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation initiatives and are likely storing that data somewhere. The choices for where to store data are extensive, from local, network, corporate, and cloud. But life happens. Network & internet connections break, fail, or otherwise become unreliable. Databases or process historians become inaccessible. Cloud services go down. How can you be sure the data is not lost due to unexpected problems?
Store & Forward
Store & Forward is a term for technology that recognizes when non-local storage locations are not available, and locally stores data in a persistent data store, and forwards that data on to the remote location when it is available again. Store and forward is also very helpful when there are significant differences between the rate data is retrieved and the rate at which the storage destination can receive it, providing a buffer to ensure the data eventually gets there. There are many important details to consider when implementing store and forward, including how much to store, how often to write to the persistent data store, performance impact of local logging, what criteria to use to determine the remote data store is inaccessible and when it is online again, and more.
Software Toolbox is a company offers a variety of software for industrial control, including multiple solutions for gathering OPC UA data and other data sources and storing it. All include store and forward features to help you ensure you don’t lose data. As our company name suggests, the reason we have multiple solutions is that every customer application and project is different. Rather than convince you to use one solution, our approach is to discuss your application needs, see if we can help with one of the tools in our “toolbox” of products. In this article we’ll explore the capabilities in each solution and invite you to learn more and discuss your challenges with our team.
DataHub provides sophisticated store & forward capabilities with flexible user configurable strategies. The software provides extensive data sources and destinations along with fully integrated multi-layer, DMZ & proxy friendly data tunneling. For data sources in the world of OPC, DataHub supports multiple OPC UA interfaces, but also the OPC Classic DA and Alarms & Events (A&E) interfaces. DataHub also can source data from Modbus devices, other databases, custom applications, spreadsheets, and IoT data sources.
For data storage, DataHub can log to ODBC databases, historians, and cloud destinations. Historian storage destinations include: AVEVA Historian, Insight and PI System; InfluxDB local & cloud; Amazon Kinesis; & historians supporting REST data input. Wherever possible, native historian SDK connections and store & forward capabilities are used. For cloud destinations, Azure, Amazon, and more are supported.
Below you can see some of the configuration options available for 2 popular DataHub storage destinations. The database storage example also includes a view of the live monitoring statistics available to help you monitor and manage your system health.
Below is an example of a historian connection showing store & forward settings but also highlighting DataHub’s ability to perform sampling of data.
OPC Data Logger
The OPC Data Logger is a solution for logging that Software Toolbox developed to address the needs of users that we found were writing custom solutions in Visual Basic for text and basic database logging that quickly exceeded their ability to build a robust custom application.
OPC Data Logger can source data from OPC UA and OPC Classic DA data sources, and log data to text/CSV files, Microsoft SQL Server, AzureSQL, MySQL, and any ODBC database. Native database connectors are used for Microsoft SQL, Azure, & MySQL connections for the most robust results. The database logging feature in OPC Data Logger natively includes Store & Forward functionality.
OPC Data Logger’s application strengths are in scheduled and event-driven triggered logging based on time & date or control system real-time conditions with optional confirmed writebacks to the device when logging is complete, rapid time-to-results through wizard driven configuration, and cost-effective price points. While OPC Data Logger might not fit all application needs, it provides a solution that doesn’t sacrifice the functionality you expect while meeting budget-conscious needs.
You can learn more about the OPC Data Logger and download a free trial at the OPC Data Logger website.
OPC Router is a configurable software tool for integrating and adding value to a variety of industrial, business (ERP/SAP), and IoT data sources. OPC Router can source data from OPC UA servers, but also supports OPC UA Methods and OPC UA Pub/Sub, along with the OPC Classic DA interface as a client.
OPC Router’s strength is in drag and drop visual workflows to reduce engineering time and risk in Industry 4.0, IIoT, and Digital Transformation applications, while providing templates and configuration import to scale up configurations.
Edge Linux device support via Docker plus Windows Desktop/Server support lets you put the OPC Router’s power in the right place, while still centrally managing your solutions.
OPC Router can log data to local & remote databases but also ERP systems including SAP, cloud destinations and the optional Store & Forward capability ensures the data gets to the destination. When a connection is lost, OPC Router stores the data in its local internal non-volatile database storage. When a connection is restored, the data is transferred to the destination. User configurable time range or amount of data, limited really by the nature of your data and disk space.
Software Toolbox provides customers in the US & Canada with OPC Router software solutions, advice, & support. Visit our OPC Router website to learn more and download free trial software. If you are located in other countries outside of the US & Canada, we invite you to visit our partner Inray’s global partner list for assistance with OPC Router.
Have Challenges? Need Help? What Next?
An important part of the Software Toolbox company value is our willingness and ability to focus on talking about problems and challenges. We’ll help you determine if one, all, or none of our solutions can help you. That’s right, if we can’t help, we will tell you! We know if we can’t help you this time, there might be future projects. Our team looks forward to hearing from you to see if we can help!