As the number of generation and storage assets connected to the grid grows daily, the complexity and resource requirements to manage them and their data grows at a geometric rate. To answer these demands, more utilities are employing OT middleware within their OT/IT hybrid architectures that provide for bi-directional communication between SCADA systems, assets and devices utilizing various protocols (ICCP DNP3, MODBUS, OCP, etc.), IT and OT Analytics applications, operational historians and SQL databases.
Employing an OTMB as a bridge between IT and OT reduces operational complexity and costs while reducing the time required to bring new analytics applications online. The single architectural layer enables utilities to unify and manage distributed assets and their data regardless of their relation to a system or protocol language. In addition, this middleware layer establishes an operational technology structure to simplify growth and data management as well as enable greater business intelligence. Frequently an OTMB is a better integration bridge to analytics applications than a traditional SCADA system.
This presentation will share experience and information derived from establishing bi-directional communication and interoperability between independent and unique smart grid data networks and SCADA systems or SCADA-less systems at numerous utilities including KCP&L, Central Minnesota Power Authority Services, NTE Energy, and many more. We will examine scenarios for SCADA system applications, OT real-time middleware applications, and a hybridized approach that uses both SCADA and middleware. As we can demonstrate, the growth of marketplace assets and complexity requires utilities and generation operators to implement OT middleware solutions to successfully manage their systems and data today while having high performance scalability tomorrow.