Micro data centre techniques for industrial network infrastructure
Thu 19 Dec 2019
Today’s manufacturing and industrial physical infrastructure has become an essential element to increase productivity, reliability, security and safety, while offering the opportunities to reduce operating cost
Interoperable systems must be easily and effectively interconnected and provide the bridge from industrial workspaces to the enterprise management systems that now drive business. Working with a global single-source supplier such as Panduit, offers organisations complete physical infrastructure solutions to enable Industrial Automation that will transform factory processes.
By 2025, it’s estimated that the global worth of Internet of Things technology will reach $6.2 trillion. It’s no surprise to see an increasing level of awareness among manufacturers. UK Manufacturing’s ‘Annual Manufacturing Report 2019’ (AMR/PwC), stated that 74% of respondents accepted they’ll need to adopt digital technologies in order to prosper.
Aligning enterprise requirements with industrial automation processes and systems and working with the industry’s leading systems suppliers, including Cisco and Rockwell Automation, Panduit provides complete physical infrastructure solutions. Woking within the Converged Plant-wide Ethernet Architecture (CPwE) provides an implementation which guarantees the design and capabilities of the infrastructure network. This provides enhanced operational performance, improved reliability and a successful Ethernet/IP solution.
Increasing the resilience of an industrial Ethernet network requires identifying the challenges and risks for the underperforming networks and defining appropriate solutions to achieve high resiliency.
The challenge for network designers is to implement a reliable, secure, and future-proof network infrastructure across the varied, harsh environments of industrial plants. The networking assets must be placed across the plant floor with consideration of challenging environmental factors such as long distances, temperature extremes, humidity, shock/vibration, chemical/climatic conditions, water/dust ingress, and electromagnetic threats. These challenges present threats that can potentially degrade network performance, impact network reliability and shorten asset life.
Figure 1. Mapping CPwE Logical to Physical
In harsh environments, industrial Ethernet networks must be durable to avoid physical deterioration in cabling infrastructure. Physical deterioration results in defective network performance and safety issues, and leads to loss of data transfer, costly downtime, or catastrophic failure.
Industrial physical infrastructure network building block systems comprised of integrated active gear can be deployed at most levels of the CPwE logical architecture. An industrial network building block system simplifies deployment of the network infrastructure required at each level of the CPwE.
The building block system provides redundancy by containing the specified switching, routing, computing, and/or storage elements required for a given zone in an enclosure, cabinet, or rack that is complete with cabling, cable management, identification, grounding, and power. These building block systems can be implemented in three ways:
- Integrated – Fully integrated, assembled and thermally tested building block solution delivered onsite for rapid deployment
- Pre-configured – Pre-assembled building block solution incorporating CPwE equipment to be assembled onsite
- Switch Ready – Pre-assembled building block solution including power supplies, fusing equipment, cabling etc., delivered onsite and ready for implementation
Figure 2. Physical Layout of Block Diagram
The network building blocks are comprised of:
- Physical Network Zone System – within the CPwE Cell/Area Zone provides environmental protection for the industrial Ethernet switch (IES) and serves as a consolidation point for multiple network connections
- Industrial Data Centre (IDC) – is one of four distinct cabinets that house equipment for several areas of the CPwE logical architecture
- Industrial Distribution Frame (IDF) – For consolidation points an IDF solution may be used to house rack mounted IES to route traffic between the Cell/Area Zone IES and the Level 3 Site Operations IDC
The CPwE plant network backbone consists of the distribution layer that converges one or more Cell/Area Zones to the overall plant network, IACS controllers, and connections to the edge IACS devices.
Figure 3 illustrates the logical building blocks diagram
Cell/Area Zone is the outer reaches of the network and provides the network connections to the machines, skids and equipment to be monitored, managed, and controlled.
Level 3 Site Operations includes virtual servers, security and network services, and a robust physical layer that addresses the environmental, performance, and security challenges present when deploying IT assets (e.g., servers, storage arrays, and switching) in industrial settings.
Figure 4. Panduit Micro Data Centre
The IDMZ is critical to securing the network both logically (malware, viruses) and physically to prevent unauthorized connections and network disruptions, leading to high resiliency. This is achieved by using active/standby firewalls and port protection (block-outs and lock-ins) and optimises capability to implement virtual environments as well as fulfil legacy needs.
Resilient plant-wide network architectures serve a crucial role in achieving overall plant uptime and productivity. The CPwE architecture provides standard network services to the applications, devices, and equipment in IACS applications and integrates them into the enterprise network.
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