Google the word ‘cloud’ and the first result is Wikipedia’s Cloud Computing page. The twitterati are breathless in anticipation for Apple Inc.’s latest iteration of their web-based services ‘iCloud’. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, vmWare, many major IT companies are offering cloud-based versions of data centers, computing power, virtualization, Office suite, programming platforms and more.
This wave of cloud-computing is the next iteration of a series of computing paradigm changes stretching as far back as mainframe computing. In spite of its moist and fluffy name, in reality, the cloud is based on the same hard IT assets you use every day: Software and Services, Processing Power, Storage and Networking. Any time you drag and drop a file seamlessly across a WAN, it’s the cloud baby! That doesn’t conjure images of a Brave new world does it?
“Why should I care?” you ask. Cloud computing will lower the cost of working with with your process and equipment data, for equal quality of service.
Here’s a concrete example: Process Historization. If ERPs can exist in the cloud, why not process historians? The technology exists: all that is needed is a universally available, secure and reliable method to send equipment data to the cloud-based historian. Then web tools and open APIs for getting data out. This is a technical challenge ideally suited to OPC UA, and our Universal Connectivity Server.
The decision to go to the cloud ultimately remains one of corporate policy: how comfortable are companies (and their IT and Engineering staff) with the idea of sending their propietary data to another company across the internet?
Whether your company decides to enter the cloud whole-heartedly, tentatively or not all, MatrikonOPC and OPC UA technology are here to help.