Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Next Generation Monitoring with SNMP and OPC

Posted by Erik Dellinger

Today’s automation engineer has the critical job of monitoring PLCs and different devices on the plant floor. But what happens when there is an issue with the IT infrastructure that interconnects these devices? What if a port on a switch goes down? At that point, there’s unfortunately not much that the automation engineer can do except contact the enterprise IT department. That’s their domain.

This “us” and “them” delineation is changing, however, with the increasing migration to Ethernet-based networks and adoption of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). SNMP is an Internet-standard protocol for managing devices on the very IP networks that are typically the domain of the enterprise IT department. 


As such, adopting SNMP provides significant advantages to the automation engineer on the plant floor. It enables other Ethernet-supported devices like PCs/servers, switches, routers, and Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) to run on the network and consequently be managed and monitored. This gives the automation engineer visibility into network equipment performance upstream, as well as to the PLC level from within standard automation software applications. Broadening what can be monitored from the plant floor allows users to minimize downtime by identifying and resolving problems faster. Furthermore, because SNMP is a standard protocol and not specific to any one plant or device manufacturer, it provides high levels of device and network flexibility.

Kepware is a strong believer in SNMP and the benefits it provides to users. The SNMP Driver for KEPServerEX delivers valuable insight into the performance of many industrial control system networks. The SNMP Driver enables your automation system to monitor and manage your automation infrastructure. In addition to PLCs and field devices, you will also be able to communicate with all the pieces that comprise your automation network— the very backbone of your plant.

With the SNMP OPC Server Suite, you can monitor and analyze your plant’s Ethernet-based network from within your existing HMI package. You will never have to rely on blind faith that the network is performing to specifications. The SNMP Driver is also included in the IT and Infrastructure Suite.

Download Kepware's SNMP Whitepaper