Maintaining HMI and SCADA Systems Through Computer Virtualization


This paper examines laptop virtualization as a solution to issues encountered in maintaining HMI and SCADA systems primarily based on industrial off-the-shelf computing hardware. Following a temporary primer, this paper outlines issues arising from the rapid advancement of private and server computing hardware, including automation software conflicts with new operating systems, device driver availability for previous operating systems, and migrating backup images to new hardware. Opportunities for improvement are identified in backup and recovery, operator access to computing resources, and prototyping HMI and program changes. The concept of a virtual machine is introduced, and common architectures are examined, followed by the description of an example virtualized management area. Finally, this paper examines the experiences of a multisite cement producer in implementing virtualization in two of their plants. This examination explores the reasoning, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations encountered in moving existing systems to a virtualized platform.

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