What Is Network Redundancy? OPC Server Redundancy

  • 7/25/2022
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Network redundancy is something that every company strives for in their automated process, but is one of the hardest functionalities to implement successfully. Companies across the globe are working with solutions comprised of disparate devices, HMI/SCADA systems, historians, and MES systems—each of which has various support for integrating a redundant solution. Here’s a closer look at network redundancy and how it impacts OPC server redundancy for industrial automation.

What Is Redundancy in Networking?

Redundancy maintains communications with critical components in an automated environment, ensuring that key applications and devices are supported in the case of a network failure. Executives asking “what is redundancy in networking” are often surprised to learn there are two options. The first is Communication Path Redundancy, which provides multiple network paths to communicate to a critical device, while Device Pair Redundancy supports identical devices configured as a redundant unit.

Why Is Redundancy Important?

Redundancy increases network reliability and availability of OPC data by ensuring that in the event of a network failure, an alternate communication path or failback device is available to keep key applications, data sources, and machines and sensors connected. It increases uptime, decreases unexpected downtime, and ultimately helps effectively manage costs.

What Are the Benefits of Redundancy in a Network?

The benefits of redundancy in a network are critical for industrial automation, transforming user experiences and impacting the company’s bottom line. Specific benefits include:

Uptime:

Redundant networks supports the 24/7 reliability and availability of networks.

Security:

Security must be redundant to be effective. With a redundant network, it’s possible to have cutting-edge security measures in place and protect your information from downtime while staff addresses security concerns.

Latency:

With multiple communication paths available, users are less likely to experience latency or poor connectivity.

Business Continuity:

Ultimately, redundancy allows a business to keep its network and key systems operational, supporting employee productivity and customer access during any event.

What Is OPC Server Redundancy?

OPC Server Redundancy consists of a primary active and secondary backup server. If the active OPC server detects a failure, the system automatically switches to the secondary server. This seamless switch allows ongoing reliable data transfer to power industrial automation.

Benefits of OPC Server Redundancy

OPC Server Redundancy, like network redundancy, offers a layer or insurance and key benefits to ongoing operations such as:

Enables Data Transfer

OPC Server Redundancy plans designate a primary and secondary server. If the primary server fails, the secondary server takes over ensuring reliable ongoing data transfers.

Hardware and Module Redundancy

Redundancy monitoring and alerts consistently monitor hardware and module performance. If a failure is detected, the standby OPC server assumes the active role automatically. Depending on the error and state of the OPC Server, the system may reboot and automatically assume the backup position.

Automatic Switchover

In the case of a failure, the OPC Server doesn’t simply issue an alert and wait for human intervention. It immediately initiates an automatic switchover, to keep data flowing and critical applications accessible. By eliminating the time needed for people to catch up, you minimize downtime and optimize performance.

What Does Redundancy Look Like in an OPC Based System?

Within an OPC-based system, redundancy is designed to keep all parts of the system running smoothly. Typically, you’re focused on increasing the reliability and availability of your OPC data by allowing multiple OPC servers to be configured into redundant pairs.

Types of redundant networks that can be used with OPC UA

Redundant networks can be used with OPC UA in either transparent or non-transparent Redundancy.

Transparent Network Redundancy

With transparent network redundancy, a single server endpoint is reached via multiple network paths.

Non-Transparent Network Redundancy

Non-transparent networks are organized differently, with the server providing different endpoints for different network paths.

Implementing Network Redundancy

Redundancy solutions are not one size fits all. Equipment and network designs are unique for every application, and solutions need tools that can be flexible within a variety of environments. Implementing network redundancy requires a closer look at your OPC environment, applications, data, and machines to determine your goals and how best to reach them. Implementation of network redundancy becomes infinitely easier with the right best-in-breed tools designed to power industrial data automation and streamlined connectivity.

Kepware’s Redundancy Solution

RedundancyMaster increases the reliability and availability of your OPC data by allowing multiple OPC servers to be configured into redundant pairs. Each redundant pair seamlessly appears as a single OPC server to any OPC client application. RedundancyMaster can be added to an existing client/server application without any reconfiguration of the application, keeping your processes going without any downtime.

Learn more about or try a demo of RedundancyMaster and how it can increase your OPC server reliability today.

Tags:
  • Connected Devices
  • Industrial Connectivity
  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • Thingworx
  • Kepware
  • Increase Manufacturing Productivity
  • Industry 4.0
  • IT/OT Convergence