Bryan Sinkler of Trihedral discusses Ocala, FL’s SCADA application including SCADA lifespan concerns, integration of security cameras with their SCADA system and the benefits of multiple SCADA historians.
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: What are some of the challenges to maintaining a SCADA system and how do you overcome them?
Bryan: One of the big issues with maintaining a SCADA system over the course of time is dealing with new technologies and the issues that come along with that. One of the things that we do is update our technologies to be flexible with new protocols or operating systems.
Water Online Radio: I understand there's going to be a presentation about Ocala's SCADA application here at ACE 13. Tell us more about that.
Bryan: Yes, we're doing a poster presentation on Wednesday afternoon at 2pm. We’re going to be talking about the evolution of the City of Ocala application and the lifespan of what has occurred over the course of time there.
We'll talk about the challenges they've faced over the course of time, how they've managed to go from multiple systems into one singular system, and the most recent change they've had, which is having multiple historians.
Water Online Radio: When you say historians, what do you mean?
Bryan: Well, when you're dealing with SCADA systems, historians come in a variety of flavors. There's proprietary, OBDC-type historians, like SQL or Oracle. You probably know those guys. What Ocala has moved into is a system that allows them to have multiple historians. In other words, they can take their data and it can be backed up from plant to plant.
They have several facilities there under this application. This allows them to have redundancy now, amongst all the plants, and that means that all their data is backed up across the network. This is very, very helpful when, for example, a back hoe hits a network cable, and you lose one of your historians.
Water Online Radio: That never happens.
Bryan: That never happens. What it allows them to do is self-heal their data (once the data comes back up online) with the plant that had the damage done to it. In addition to that, it allows them to push the data out to multiple platforms. If they had a business network that had their engineering group data, they could use SQL to push the data from one historian, but use Oracle on another. It's very flexible in the way that we approach this.
Water Online Radio: What else is taking place with Ocala’s SCADA system?
Bryan: One of the things they're looking to do is integrate security cameras into their system. There had been a big push after 9/11 to put cameras into all their facilities. One of the things they wanted to be able to do was monitor those in one singular location, so that's one of the things that has come about.
Also, the ability to automate their asset management and work order systems into the SCADA system so that they can automatically send work orders out from the SCADA system to the technicians on their iPods, iPads, cell phones …
Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.