News & Events
|Rockwell Automation Expands PlantPAx Portfolio of VMware Ready Software|
Support will help companies take advantage of virtualization in the manufacturing environment
MILWAUKEE, Oct. 20, 2010 — Rockwell Automation has added 10 VMware Ready software products to its PlantPAx Process Automation System to help manufacturers leverage the benefits of virtualization. The VMware Ready software products from Rockwell Automation now include: Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000, FactoryTalk View Site Edition, FactoryTalk Historian Site Edition, FactoryTalk VantagePoint, FactoryTalk AssetCentre, FactoryTalk Batch, RSLinx Classic, RSLinx Enterprise, FactoryTalk View Studio and FactoryTalk Gateway.
“Our plan to test Rockwell Automation products for a virtual environment was well received by attendees at last year’s Process Solutions User Group,” said Steve Pulsifer, director of Process Market Development, Rockwell Automation. “So we anticipate significant support for our expansion of VMware Ready products, and our plans moving forward to include new software products as they are launched.”
Virtualization is a software technology that is rapidly transforming the enterprise information landscape and fundamentally changing the way manufacturing hardware is allocated. The technology dynamically allocates servers and other hardware resources when and where they’re needed, enabling companies to run multiple Rockwell Automation software applications on a single server.
Virtualization works by inserting a thin layer of software called a “hypervisor” directly on the computer hardware or on a host operating system. Multiple operating systems run concurrently in isolated virtual machines on a single physical computer and share hardware resources with each other. Virtual machines can be run on any virtualization-enabled physical server, creating a pool of computer resources that helps ensure the end user’s highest-priority applications will always have the resources they need, without wasting money on excess hardware only needed for peak times.
Stone Technologies, a Rockwell Automation referenced Automation & Information Solution Provider, has been implementing VMware products since 2002. As part of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork framework, the Information Solutions portion of the Rockwell Automation Systems Integrator program provides manufacturers with a resource-rich network of information systems professionals possessing proven competency and verified success in delivering projects leveraging the FactoryTalk Suite of solutions for manufacturing intelligence and production management to drive better manufacturing performance.
“We’ve seen the long-term benefits of this low-risk architecture,” said Jon Stanwood, MES/MOM engineer-analyst, Stone Technologies. “Manufacturers don’t have to invest as much in hardware and IT support because they can run numerous software applications on a single server.”
Stone Technologies worked with Rockline Industries to realize these benefits. Rockline Industries is the largest supplier of coffee filters and private-label baby wipes in North America. “Virtualization has helped us significantly lower our capital expenditures,” said Wayne Alexander, plant manager, Rockline Industries. “We’ve consolidated the number of servers we use by 60 percent. With fewer servers, we also use less energy – helping us reduce our environmental footprint.”
Another benefit to virtualization is improved software longevity. Rather than upgrading software every two to three years or testing “old” Windows versions, virtualization technology helps enable end users to run the same software on a particular PC or operating system for more than 10 years. To do this, end users encapsulate their machine or application, including the CPU, memory, operating system and network devices, making the machine or application compatible with all standard x86 operating systems, applications and device drivers.
“Manufacturers and processors recognize the cost and life-cycle benefits that virtualization can bring to their organizations, but because of the critical nature of their operations, they need absolute certainty of their system’s continuous performance and integrity,” said Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group. “Rockwell Automation’s commitment to testing its software products in a virtual environment prior to putting those products into the market should help to instill its customers with the confidence they want to reliably and securely control their most critical operations.”
In addition to adding 10 VMware Ready software products to its PlantPAx Process Automation System, Rockwell Automation provides a range of services for the VMware environment, including capacity planning, application migration, system implementation and long-term maintenance and monitoring.
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