The convergence of information and operational technology (IT and OT) and the networks that connect them is more often characterized as painful evolution than industrial revolution.
But in some corners of the industrial world that IT/OT gap snapped shut some years ago. Indeed, it’s only legacy systems and legacy culture in other corners of industry that continue to promulgate a troublesome, “unconverged” paradigm.
Take the Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture that Cisco and Rockwell Automation debuted some 10 years ago. Complete with 500+ page design and implementation guides, the two companies laid out a converged IT/OT communications architecture that brought together and built on Cisco’s Ethernet-to-the-Factory solution and the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture.
And while standards and technology continue to evolve, the fact remains that a roadmap for deploying converged IT/OT networks across all industrial automation and information needs based on a common Ethernet infrastructure has been in place for yea these many years.
The introduction of CPwE closely coincided with a renewed focus by Rockwell Automation on the specific needs of the process industries, as represented by the creation of the company’s annual Process Solutions User Group meeting, which happens to convene later this month, November 13-14, in Houston.
The introduction of the company’s PlantPAx distributed control system followed soon after that, meaning that the process industry’s most “modern” DCS has come of age in a world of converged IT/OT networks, and like today’s digital natives is unencumbered by the legacy limitations of its elders.
This past decade of continued innovation based on a unified Ethernet infrastructure also means that the Rockwell Automation Process Solutions User Group meeting—together with the Automation Fair event that follows on its heels—is among industry’s best venues for learning about converged IT/OT networks, and hearing how other users have transcended legacy limitations. Hope to see you in Houston.