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Migrating from OPC Classic to UA Seamlessly


    In the dynamic landscape of industrial automation, OPC has served as the cornerstone for communication between devices and systems.

    As industries progress, the demand placed on communication standards evolve. This has led to a continuous transformation of OPC standards to meet the ever-growing needs of the industry.  The once-revolutionary OPC protocol, while robust in its time, now encounters challenges in the face of modern industrial requirements.

    Given the growing demand for industrial cybersecurity, flexible data modeling, and platform independence in the industry, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and software development companies are adopting OPC UA as their preferred protocol or transitioning their existing applications to OPC UA. Consequently, industrial end-users are increasingly upgrading from OPC Classic to OPC UA.

    But let’s first highlight the disparities between OPC Classic and OPC UA for a clearer understanding of such migration.

    Key differences between OPC Classic and UA

    As OPC UA emerges as the solution for modern industrial communication needs, understanding the differences is pivotal for organizations seeking to embrace the capabilities of OPC UA.

    Such differences include:

    1. Security
    • OPC Classic: historically, OPC Classic lacked security features. The communication was often unencrypted, making it susceptible to security threats.
    • OPC UA: OPC UA prioritizes security with built-in encryption and authentication mechanisms. It provides a more secure framework for industrial communication, essential for safeguarding sensitive data.
    1. Platform Independence
    • OPC Classic: OPC Classic faced challenges when integrating with diverse platforms as it has always been tied to the Windows operating system.
    • OPC UA: designed for platform independence, OPC UA allows seamless communication across various operating systems, enhancing flexibility and interoperability.
    1. Data modeling
    • OPC Classic: OPC Classic had limitations to represent complex data structures.
    • OPC UA: OPC UA allows for more sophisticated representation of industrial data and supports complex structures, facilitating a richer and more nuanced exchange of information.
    1. Interoperability
    • OPC Classic: interoperability between different vendors and versions could be challenging due to variations in implementations
    • OPC UA: standardized profiles ensure a higher level of interoperability, enabling seamless communication between diverse devices and systems

    Introduction to OPC UA Wrapper

    The OPC UA Wrapper, a plug-and-play software crafted by Integration Objects, serves as a bridge between OPC Classic and OPC UA, seamlessly connecting the two worlds of communication protocols.

    The OPC UA Wrapper is tailored to simplify the integration process, ensuring a fluid coexistence of both protocols and a smooth transition, thus allowing organizations to embrace the future of industrial communication without disrupting critical processes.

    The software includes 2 components:

    • An OPC UA Wrapper that acts as a bridge between OPC Classic servers and OPC UA Clients
    • An OPC UA Proxy that acts as a bridge between OPC UA servers and OPC Classic clients

    Nevertheless, the migration process is not without its challenges. As organizations embark on the migration journey from OPC Classic to OPC UA, hurdles such as data mapping, security integration, and protocol interoperability may arise.

    What are the migration challenges and how does OPC UA Wrapper address each one of them?

    OPC UA Wrapper is engineered to tackle the migration challenges by providing a comprehensive solution and mitigating the complexities associated with such migration.

    1. Data mapping intricacies:

    Migrating from OPC Classic to OPC UA involves the intricate task of mapping the address spaces of the distinct protocols.

    • OPC UA Wrapper streamlines the data mapping process. By acting as a bridge, it intelligently maps the address space of OPC Classic servers to the address space of an OPC UA server, ensuring a seamless translation of data between the two protocols.
    1. Security integration complexities

    Integrating robust security features during migration can be complex and critical

    • OPC UA Wrapper addresses security concerns comprehensively thanks to its built-in encryption and authentication mechanisms. The solution effectively manages security settings, authentication configurations, and certificates, ensuring a secure communication environment.
    1. Protocol Interoperability concerns

    Ensuring interoperability between different vendors and versions can be challenging due to variations in implementations.

    • Standardized profiles in OPC UA ensure a higher level of interoperability. The OPC UA Wrapper facilitates seamless communication between diverse devices and systems, mitigating concerns related to protocol variations.
    1. Efficient handling of alarms and events

    The challenge lies in migrating alarms and events in a way that ensures efficient handling and acknowledgement.

    • The OPC UA Wrapper allows for the efficient reading and acknowledgement of alarms and events, ensuring a smooth transition without compromising the critical aspect of industrial processes.

    In the following section, we will delve deeper into the features of OPC UA Wrapper and provide a user guide for a hands-on understanding of the product.

    1. Efficient handling of real-time and historical data

    The challenge lies in migrating real-time and historical data in a way that ensures efficient handling.

    • The OPC UA Wrapper allows efficient reading and writing real-time data of the OPC items and handles the historical data operations with a high-level data transition and in a secure way.

    OPC UA Wrapper features and additional resources

    OPC UA Wrapper includes many features such as:

    1. COM Server to UA Server

    OPC UA Wrapper provides access to your classic OPC servers from Unified Architecture clients as if they were UA servers.

    1. UA Server to COM Server

    OPC UA Wrapper provides access to your Unified Architecture servers from classic OPC clients as if they were OPC COM servers.

    1. Intuitive User Interface

    With a user-friendly interface, the OPC UA Wrapper simplifies the migration process. It provides an intuitive environment for users to configure settings and manage the integration effortlessly.

    1. Run as Windows Service

    Created wrappers are running as Windows services in the background.

    1. OPC UA Security

    OPC UA Security OPC UA Wrapper provides security features introduced in the OPC UA specification such as establishing secure communication channels, keeping track of sessions, using encryption and signing messages. The security modes to be used along with user identity tokens can be chosen, managed and changed by the user from the configuration tool.

    1. Log Capabilities

    The application records messages in log files using different logging levels. This enables end users to track the execution and diagnose any encountered problems. The log file gives information about successful actions and errors. This can facilitate the troubleshooting task.

    1. Read and Write OPC Items Values

    Users can effortlessly read and write OPC item values, enhancing control and monitoring capabilities. This feature is essential for real-time data exchange between systems.

    1. Historical Data Read Capability

    The OPC UA Wrapper goes beyond real-time data exchange by supporting historical data read capabilities. This allows organizations to analyze and derive insights from past industrial processes. It is a comprehensive solution that not only addresses the challenges of migrating from OPC Classic to OPC UA but also enhances industrial communication capabilities. To further support your journey in leveraging the capabilities of the OPC UA Wrapper, here is a step-by-step user guide that provides instructions, configuration tips, and best practices for maximizing the potential of the OPC UA Wrapper:

    Download User Guide

    About Integration Objects

    Integration Objects is a world-leading Industry 4.0 solutions provider that empowers businesses to accelerate their digital transformation through robust and reliable solutions. We offer a wide range of applications including, Industrial IoT (IIoT), cyber security, Big Data Analytics, C4ISR, and process automation for Defense and Governmental Institutions.