Every day, process engineers are challenged with tight regulations, data security issues and aging plant infrastructures. In addition, more and more plant operators are insisting on easier access to plant floor operations, control systems and production data. To meet these demands, engineers need to get the most out of their IT-based plant assets — and virtualization can help.
The benefits of virtualization apply to both the IT enterprise and industrial automation. These include: hardware consolidation, decreased energy consumption and footprint, increased fault tolerance, high availability, improved uptime, application load-balancing, rapid disaster recovery, extended lifecycles and more.
But by far the most important benefit of virtualization — at least for the Process Industry — is hardware independence. Users are no longer tied to specific hardware with virtualization, as virtual machines extend the software lifecycle to more than 10 years. With this benefit in mind, process engineers are asking for advice on how best to implement virtualization.