With data being a critical foundation for digital transformation, what are your thoughts on OT data and the cloud?
Cost-effective cloud computing of OT data is a more recent breakthrough in manufacturing. In 2023, we see companies being able to quickly and cost effectively get their OT data in the cloud – finally! As part of an enterprise IT strategy, the growing trend of cloud-based industrial data management now facilitates a more simplified and reliable movement of OT data to the cloud, spanning from device level to enterprise. Companies can build on existing IT cloud investments including Microsoft Azure and AWS to integrate OT and enterprise data.
Why haven’t we been able to do this sooner?
Obviously, cloud suppliers and other database companies have provided cloud-based solutions. Some are even focused on time-series data. Unfortunately, the use case of storing web application metrics is not the same as storing high-volume, real-time OT data. These solutions lack the complete functionality of an operational historian. Often, they are key value pair or RDB-based technologies which lack the capabilities of an operational historian and are very expensive to use to store high-volume OT data streams.
The result is that industrial companies have had to make do with either expensive cloud-based storage solutions coupled with custom development to bring data to the cloud or opening up ports to enable cloud-based analytics solutions to reach down into the plant to acquire data from the local operational historians.
Neither of these solutions is optimal, but industrial organizations historically haven’t had an alternative.
What is the solution then for cloud-based OT data management?
With new cloud-native operational data historian innovation, cloud-based OT data management – at scale and affordable – is a reality and will grow as a trend in 2023. Our cloud-native historian is available as a Marketplace application that counts toward a company’s cloud provider volume agreement. Companies can fully deploy it in minutes in their AWS or Microsoft Azure VPC.
As an example, a GE Digital customer in the aviation space managed OT data across 32 manufacturing plants, each with a distinct deployment. They made the switch to a cloud-based OT data management solution using Proficy Historian for Cloud and reduced infrastructure costs by more than 20%. The company also improved system availability by eliminating more than a month of planned downtime and enabling a common data store accessible in real time by thousands of enterprise-wide employees.