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Friday, April 18, 2014

Honeywell Launches Solution to Virtualize Process Control Systems

Honeywell has launched Experion Virtualization Solutions, a package of tools designed to simplify the computing environments, streamline maintenance and reliability, and reduce the amount of hardware space needed at offshore oil and gas, refining, and petrochemical users. The virtualization package, which Honeywell claims is the industry’s first turnkey blade solution, is described as being able to reduce total cost of ownership and increase operations availability for industrial process control users.

Credit: Honeywell

Credit: Honeywell

Virtualization represents hardware as virtual devices and is a major productivity and efficiency tool, Honeywell describes. Process controls, it says, typically require separate servers to support different applications — requiring additional space and hardware and adding maintenance costs. Honeywell writes, “Virtualization allows a single server to simultaneously run multiple operating systems and applications, insulating the operating systems from hardware changes, improving overall server utilization, simplifying maintenance, and reducing costs.”

The company also notes that plant operators are working with less staff and being required to commission new projects faster and at lower cost, which puts pressure on reducing hardware and operating system changes, improving utilization, easing maintenance, and ramping up reliability.

The newest member of the Experion Virtualization family, called the Premium Platform, is based on blade server technology. The Premium Platform is said to reduce setup time by 90 percent, generates 40 percent more energy savings, has 22 percent greater density than alternative virtualized server platforms, and allows recovery from a processor failure in minutes. The platform is based on IBM blade server technology.

Virtualization solutions using blade servers offer that extra layer of reliability,” said Jason Urso, Honeywell Process Solutions’ vice president of technology. “Virtualization simplifies operation and allows manufacturers to modernize their facilities.”

Honeywell also has the Essential Platform, a virtualization solution that uses conventional server technology. Experion Virtualization Solutions work with the company’s Experion process control and automation systems. Honeywell’s flagship system, Experion PKS, is an open-platform, enterprise-wide distributed control offering that consolidates an organization’s plant controls across its facilities.

The company provides an infographic on virtualization here.

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