Friday, January 21, 2011

Supporting client virtualisation

Update for Simatic WinCC Version 7 supports client virtualisation

With the comprehensive Service Pack 2, the Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding the functionalities of its Simatic WinCC Scada system Version 7. The software update allows, among other things, client virtualisation via Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0, and it contains a driver for the communication with Mitsubishi controllers via Ethernet. Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server are also supported. The Service Pack 2 can be downloaded free from www.siemens.com/simatic-wincc. It is also available on request as a DVD.
With Service Pack 2, the Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding the
functionalities of its Simatic WinCC Scada system Version 7. The Software Update allows,
among other things, Client virtualization via Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0.
The virtualization of clients is one of the central innovations of the Service Pack 2 offered by the Siemens Industry Automation Division for Simatic WinCC Version 7. Virtualization allows several systems that would otherwise require separate hardware to be operated in parallel on one PC. The virtual WinCC clients can be connected with thin clients via an Ethernet network using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). Thin clients are rugged hardware terminals with a display. Thanks to their reduced equipment, they are significantly smaller, more cost-effective and less fault-prone in especially harsh environments than full industrial PCs. In production plants, thin clients provide users with visualization and data input facilities for the virtual WinCC clients installed on a server located away from the field level.

Virtualization technology has three central advantages: On one hand, existing hardware resources are optimally utilized, reducing procurement and operating costs. Companies can significantly reduce their hardware costs in the production environment, particularly in combination with rugged thin clients. On the other hand, virtual clients can be easily and quickly backed up to increase availability. The third advantage is the simple migration of existing, completely configured systems to new hardware, making lengthy installations on the PC unnecessary. After installing Service Pack 2, several WinCC clients can be installed and operated on one hardware platform via the two virtualization applications Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0, depending on the hardware equipment of the server. With VMware ESXi 4.0, the user can operate up to eight virtual clients with one PC in a configuration with 16GB RAM, depending on the scope of the project.

Another new feature of the Service Pack 2 is the "Mitsubishi Ethernet" driver with two additional channel units for integrating controllers of the FX3U series and the Q series of Mitsubishi via Ethernet networks. Communication with the controllers takes place via the MELSEC communication protocol (MC protocol). WinCC V7 can also be operated under Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server following the installation of Service Pack 2. Further innovations such as the addition of more graphics cards to the Split Screen Manager (Multi-VGA), or access to the User Account Control (UAC) safety concept on Windows7, complete the comprehensive Service Pack 2.

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