Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) exist in two separate worlds, serving two distinct purposes. IT consists of computing systems for the processing and storage of data, while OT focuses on the hardware and software running and monitoring production systems – such as SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), DCS (Distributed Control Systems), industrial automation control systems (IACS), ICS (Industrial Control Systems), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and Historians. Devices in the OT domain communicate with one or more intelligent IoT gateways, using their own bearers and protocols (for example, industrial protocols), and in turn they transmit data to an integration platform where data is processed into real-time information used by IoT services. This information is then transmitted to mainstream enterprise services, and it can be integrated with the historical information that those services generate.
The IoT middleware applications enable end-to-end solutions that can be deployed in a virtual environment. In the same way, physical data sources and data consumers are connected through virtual communication links that abstract the complexity of physical communications (for example, industrial protocols). The rise of IoT and edge computing is accelerating this convergence. Companies at the forefront of Industrial IoT have established common ground for IT and OT to function as one converged, and ideally seamless, system.
The OT benefits from this integration with a more efficient, scalable, managed, and secured infrastructure onto which numerous applications are layered. These applications include predictive maintenance as well as remote asset monitoring and management. Benefits on the IT side include secure real-time communication with the enterprise’s assets while retaining the requisite efficiency for creating, scaling, maintaining, and securing the infrastructure.
While allowing flexibility to both IT and OT management, the Dell Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge with PTC offers a converged platform where IT and OT services can be managed from single pane of glass with the service level, management controls, and governance that they both need.