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Best Practices for Virtualization in Process Automation

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Virtualization with Simatic PCS 7

The following virtualization solutions are possible with Simatic PCS 7:

  • Approved functions: Operator Station (OS), Batch, Route Control clients and a variety of options such as visualization of sequential control systems, PCS 7 Web server, OpenPCS 7/OS client, PCS 7 terminal server.
  • Functions approved for specific projects: all servers (OS, Batch, Route Control) engineering system, OS single station.
  • Other functions have been successfully operated as prototypes in a virtual environment.

Thin clients or zero clients connected by remote protocols such as VNC or VMware View are integrated as operator stations, in other words, front-end PCs. The operator finds a familiar user environment in this case.

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Overview of Systems for Plant Virtualization

Systems that are well established in the market are recommended for implementation of the virtualization solution. Some of these have been tested with Simatic PCS 7:

  • Host systems such as: Industrial PC rack systems from Siemens; rack systems from Fujitsu, Dell; blade systems from HP, Fujitsu, Dell.
  • Hypervisor (virtual environment): e.g., vSphere or vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) from VMware.

The topic of security/IT security also plays an important role in the field of virtualization. The same mechanisms and methods as in the real world environment apply here, such as security patches, virus scanners, user management and access control to the system. There is an added layer, the hypervisor layer (such as vSphere Hypervisor from VMware ), in which the appropriate security aspects have to be taken into account.

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