What are the requirements for a server

IIoT: Server requirements

With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the server requirements differ considerably from classic IT. The following article shows what needs to be considered in terms of hardware when planning IIoT systems.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) - the “fourth industrial revolution” - networks machines, makes them more intelligent and thus leads to sudden increases in productivity. Basically it is IIoT a network of devices and machinesconnected by communication technologies. The question arises as to which requirements servers in the Industrial Internet of Things have to meet.

The IIoT connects two worlds: the classic world of industrial production with its control systems and process computers and the world of IT - i.e. client-server computing, virtualization, and internet and cloud technology. This leads to systems that collect valuable new insights and at the same time monitor, analyze and share them. This enables faster and smarter business decisions in industrial companies.

IIoT requirements for server hardware:

  • Data acquisition, processing and storage
  • Connectivity
  • Power supply
  • IT security
  • Physical security
  • Availability

Requirements for data collection, processing and storage

In an industry where the number of connected machines is increasing, increases also the amount of operational datathat go online and need to be analyzed and saved. Typically, IIoT devices collect through sensors the information from the physical world and act on it through actuators. The number of connected sensors, the speed with which the data is generated and the resolution of the generated data define the volume of data to be processed. This also affects the requirements for data storage and data processing.

The amount of data stored on a machine largely depends on how often the machine or endpoint connects to transfer the data to downstream processes. A machine that generates a small volume of raw data requires less storage space and power for data processing than a machine that generates large amounts of data in bursts within a short period of time. All this requires processor and memory space.

Where the data is ultimately processed depends heavily on the intended use. One of the most important is Predictive maintenance. Sensor data are used to predict when a failure of parts of the production chain threatens. Here it makes sense to keep the necessary computing power for the algorithms also close to production, which may require very powerful servers.

Connectivity

The Connectivity requirements to the network include how far the signal has to be transmitted and how high the projected rate and the volume of the data to be transmitted is. To meet the typical requirements for massive use, highest reliability and low latency times Industrial Ethernet, Industrial WLAN, IPv6, Mobile Broadband (LTE, NB-1oT5G), MultiFire etc. are required. The server hardware can have integrated wireless communication or this functionality must be supplemented with a module or a card. Depending on the location, additional amplifiers and RF shields may be required.

Power supply

All IIoT endpoints must be powered in order to function. If at portable devices no connection to the mains is possible or a power supply unit would be too large, the Power supply with batteries, super capacitors or with very low power consumption Energy harvesting be ensured. Only very optimistic system architects assume that the IIoT devices load the data directly into the public cloud, where it is processed further. So usually you have to also local servers with powersupply. Here, too, it may be necessary to work with batteries or to develop solutions that deviate from the typical approaches in the server room. The more energy-efficient a server is, the easier it is to find a reliable power supply solution even under difficult conditions.

IT security

Security is very important within the IIoT environment and must be considered at every stage of development and design. IIoT systems form compared to conventional IT systems huge networks. You have to communicate them with each other and also with the company, usually through a big distance. So you have to secure the system, communication and data. Hardening the network is important. It also requires enough memory and power to encrypt and decrypt data at the speed at which it is being sent and received.

IIoT is without a cloud or at least cloud-enabled infrastructure unthinkable. But with successful attacks on the cloud provider, IIoT turns business-critical information into public knowledge. In addition, security gaps may even allow production to be brought to a standstill. So the architecture of IIoT systems should just a loose cloud coupling provide and allow to function even without access to the public cloud. So for this reason Server still required on site.

Physical security

Since this is usually located outside of the protected data center environment, aspects of physical security must also be taken into account. Physical access protection, fire protection and protection against water damage are the obvious points. Depending on the environment, more “exotic” protection goals such as explosion protection or acid protection can also be added. Depending on the requirements, as special chassis types required. An alternative is to Microcomputing centers set up for several servers that offer appropriate protection certificates. Thomas-Krenn, for example, has two of these Compact data center on offer that make IT effective protect from external influences and for the necessary Air conditioning and cooling of the servers to care.

Availability

At a High availability- You usually need a request at least two serversso that if one fails, the other server takes over data acquisition and there is little or no data loss. Apart from that, the Server with redundant power supply and possibly also Hot-swappable, redundant storage configured. This is important in order to ensure that a simple hard drive failure or failure of the power supply does not lead to the controlled machine failing completely and thus possibly paralyzing the entire production chain.

Individuality is the key

All of these requirements show that IIoT also demands more from server equipment than hardware that was designed for data centers or server rooms. So it is important to ensure that the server manufacturer has sufficient Experience and skills in the IIoT area disposes. Hardware manufacturers should therefore early in the planning phase the IIoT infrastructure.

 

Tags: CloudDatacenterdigitalisierungIIoT

- Ulrich Wolf

Ulrich Wolf worked at Thomas-Krenn.AG from 2014 to 2018 as Manger Communications. As an external consultant, he continues to support Thomas-Krenn.AG in public relations. He has been in the IT world as an editor, PR specialist and IT consultant since 1999. Besides, he can't keep his hands off the technology in practice, likes Linux and other Unix systems and the Ruby programming language.