Plan your Infrastructure
Ensure you have the proper infrastructure to support your Industrial IoT use case.
Before you begin, complete these steps:
Choose hardware for end users
Determining what kind of hardware end users will need to interact with your ThingWorx applications will ensure you design the proper infrastructure to support them.
When choosing hardware for end users, you should consider:
- Whether end users will need to move around with a device or simply view the application from a stationary terminal
- Environmental factors such as temperature or exposure to water, dust, or other elements
- How end users will need to interact with the application(s). Here are some examples to consider:
- If your end user will be wearing gloves, a touchscreen device may not be the best option
- Does the application require your end users to need one or both hands free?
- Are your users going to be wearing any safety gear, such as helmets or eye/ear protection that could hinder their ability to see or hear?
Define and document an architecture plan
Your architecture plan should specify what systems you need, how they should be configured, and what size those systems need to be to run your IIoT applications.
It’s important to know if your organization plans to expand this use case into other factories, create more applications to support additional use cases, or connect additional data sources in the future. Design your infrastructure to meet those needs from the beginning. Designing an architecture that can support these things will take more time initially but make it easier to expand capabilities later.
When defining your architecture plan, you should consider:
- Deployment: Whether you will be deploying ThingWorx on-premises, in a PTC-hosted cloud, or your own cloud
- Availability: If ThingWorx and any applications you deploy will need to be available at all times or if some down time is acceptable
- Environments: How many environments you’ll need and the expected number of users each environment will need to support. We recommend having three environments:
Networking to support end users: Ensure you have the proper network to support the end users of your ThingWorx applications. The research you did to determine which devices your end users will need should help guide your network design.
Usage: To understand what hardware—and how much processing and memory—you need for ThingWorx, you’ll need to consider:
- Development: Also referred to as “dev,” this is the space your developers can use to create new applications, features, or work on patches.
- Production: This environment will host the live, tested applications your end users will interact with. It’s often referred to as “prod.”
- Quality Assurance/Test: This environment lives between dev and prod. Here, you’ll validate and test new versions, patches, and configurations. Your QA/test environment should be as close of an exact replica to your prod environment as possible.
- How many end users will be accessing data during peak usage
- The number of data points that will be called during peak usage
- The number of services called during peak usage
- The total number of Things (devices, sensors, connections, modules, etc.) that will be managed by ThingWorx
- The frequency at which data is sent from each Thing to ThingWorx
Document your final decisions and share them across the project team for execution. This document should outline the components you need, how they relate to each other, and where they need to be located.
Identify infrastructure changes
Once you’ve completed your architecture plan, compare it to what exists today. Take note of what you’ll need to purchase and what things need to change in order to get you there.
Begin sourcing hardware
If your architecture plan requires additional hardware, it’s important to start sourcing that hardware right away—especially if the procurement process at your organization requires multiple approvals.
How PTC can help
In addition to the recommended resources named above, PTC offers Success Services that fit seamlessly into your Success Path, making it even easier to reach your desired business outcome.