Friday, September 23, 2011
Cloud computing should no longer be approached as the future of IT, and instead needs to be considered as the present, according to a recent report from the Engineer. Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a pervasive technology and is finding a place in a variety of sectors, including advanced remote machine monitoring systems, the news source said.
Cloud computing uses the internet to deliver software and other IT resources to an end user's machine. The report explained this gives users access to technologies from any device, allowing them to remotely access programs and handle business operations regardless of where they are. This is creating an environment where many sectors are supporting the cloud. According to the report, remote plant-wide visualization and monitoring is becoming a popular area for cloud deployment.
The news source explained that industrial engineers are increasingly in a position where they need to monitor plant machinery remotely to ensure optimal uptime and performance. Cloud computing's ability to deliver IT resources to a variety of locations makes it easier for engineers to track plant equipment and ensure it is operating properly at all times.
However, the report said cloud computing alone is not enough to support such initiatives. In these instances, the cloud needs to be combined with robust Ethernet infrastructure to make sure relevant data is delivered in a rapid manner. Generally, any device with an electrical power source can be tracked and monitored remotely using cloud technologies. To do this, the network needs to be based around Ethernet TCP/IP connectivity or a similarly robust system. The actual monitoring devices then need to be equipped with serial connections featuring such protocols as RS-232 and RS-485 to connect back to the local plant, according to the report.
According to the news source, establishing a cloud-based remote monitoring system is heavily dependent on developing a secure network by using a variety of techniques including firewalls and virtual private network infrastructure.
More companies are depending heavily on advanced Ethernet and WAN infrastructure as they deploy more cloud systems. According to a recent In-Stat study, a growing number of businesses are moving to upgrade their frame relay and T1 infrastructure with MPLS and Ethernet WAN systems to improve performance. However, legacy Ethernet systems will still remain active because advanced technologies are not available in all regions.