OPC DataHub Tunnels OPC Data Across a Network, Avoiding the Need for DCOM

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New technology combines OPC tunnelling, bridging, and aggregation, and tunnels data through firewalls, eliminating problems related to DCOM security and timeouts. The OPC DataHub can connect to any number of OPC servers or clients at either end of the tunnel, and bridge data between OPC servers.

OPC tunnelling connects processes on a network, which is vital. But we feel a complete solution should offer access to that data anywhere -- from a control panel on the shop floor to a database file in accounting or a spreadsheet on the manager's desk.

The OPC DataHub, newly released by Cogent Real-Time Systems, offers an alternative to DCOM for networking OPC data. Connecting OPC servers and clients on different networked computers, it tunnels data through firewalls, eliminating problems related to DCOM security and timeouts. The OPC DataHub can also aggregate data from several OPC servers and send it through the tunnel, as well as bridge data between OPC servers at either end of the tunnel.

Multiple OPC servers and clients can use a single tunnel because the OPC DataHub accepts any number of simultaneous connections. Network bandwidth is reduced by the OPC DataHub's built-in bridging interface that lets users specify exactly which data gets transferred. Bypassing DCOM simplifies system configuration significantly, and it reduces the risk of network delays and timeouts.

"Now you can work with OPC data across a network or the Internet as reliably as within a single node," said Mr. Andrew Thomas, president of Cogent. "Configuration is quick and easy, and the connection is solid. There is no need to deal with DCOM at all."

In addition to tunnelling OPC servers and clients, the OPC DataHub also lets them share data with other applications and operating systems. It can connect any OPC server or client to an Excel spreadsheet, an ODBC database, a web browser, or an application running in Linux. All of these connections provide 2-way read/write access to and from any number of OPC servers or clients.

"The data available in OPC is becoming increasingly valuable in all areas of an enterprise," said Mr. Thomas. "OPC tunnelling connects processes on a network, which is vital. But we feel a complete solution should offer access to that data anywhere -- from a control panel on the shop floor to a database file in accounting or a spreadsheet on the manager's desk."

The OPC DataHub builds on Cogent's established middleware technology, first introduced in 1995 and currently in use in thousands of systems worldwide. This technology allows users to seamlessly integrate data across multiple Windows, Linux and QNX platforms.

Founded in 1995, Cogent Real-Time Systems is the leader in real-time cross-platform data integration between Windows, Linux and QNX. Customers include the Bank of Canada, Cadbury Chocolate and the European Space Agency. Cogent leverages its experience in real-time data communications to provide the next generation of OPC products.

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Robert McIlvride
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