Keeping an Open Mind: The Benefits of Trimark’s Open Architecture SCADA Systems
Trimark’s SCADA systems are known for being robust and having detailed menus. They enable users to monitor individual devices in real time and receive customized, proactive alarms. To site operators, these features are invaluable.
Trimark SCADA’s open architecture foundations are crucial to its ability to present charts and graphs. This blog highlights the open architecture features which enhance the end user’s SCADA experience.
The main point to highlight is that nothing about Trimark’s SCADA system is proprietary. All modern SCADA systems are built around off-the-shelf hardware and software. This means that components can be installed and replaced with ease, saving users the hassle of having to search for proprietary parts from multiple vendors. The platforms upon which Trimark’s SCADA system is developed are industry standards.
Here’s a listing of the industry-standard elements that comprise Trimark’s open architecture SCADA system:
- Standard data protocols: DNP3, Modbus, OPC, and industry-standard APIs with fully documented interface to SCADA. This enables access to queries, control functions, and configuration settings.
- Standard programming platform: Trimark’s SCADA application is based on Microsoft .NET, an industry standard programming framework. Prominent features such as language interoperability make .NET a solid platform to work with.
- Standard Cisco networking equipment: Proven routers and other networking hardware from Cisco Systems. The ubiquitous nature of this equipment ensures a straightforward fix if things go awry.
- Dell servers: Trimark utilizes tried-and-true Dell servers for the SCADA application/Power Plant Controller (PPC) and Historian.
- SQL database: MS SQL Professional license and non-encrypted database schema.
- NERC compliance: Trimark SCADA can be configured to comply with NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) cyber security guidelines using industry-standard third party applications. These applications include extensive reliability and security guidelines, including system failure detection, incident reporting, and intrusion detection.
- Training: Trimark offers three levels of training for client staff. After completing this training, client users can expand, enhance, and update the application and configuration on their own, letting them take matters into their own hands.
This foundation of open standards and approaches ensures the viability of the SCADA system for years to come.
SCADA system buyers also need to understand that ISOs and utilities will have specific requirements regarding devices that connect to their EMS of GMS. CAISO, for instance, requires RIGs (Remote Intelligent Gateways) to be tested and certified in accordance with their standards. RIGs cannot use open source software. CAISO lists specific, certified systems on their website. Other ISOs have similar, detailed requirements that may exclude the use of open system software.