RedundancyMaster

Configures multiple OPC servers into redundant pairs

Licensing starts at $658.00
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Product Overview

RedundancyMaster increases the reliability and availability of your OPC data by allowing multiple OPC servers to be configured into redundant pairs. Each redundant pair seamlessly appears as a single OPC server to any OPC client application. RedundancyMaster can be added to an existing client/server application without any reconfiguration of the application, keeping your processes going without any downtime.

Industrial Strength Reliability

OPC Data Access (OPC DA) technology has been proven to be reliable in virtually every industrial environment requiring consistent data access to devices and systems. However, there are other factors that can jeopardize the integrity of a system, including software, hardware, and even human error. By using OPC redundancy technology, you can help make these systems more reliable and efficient.

Increased ROI & Reduced Downtime

RedundancyMaster resides on your OPC client machine and facilitates connections to a primary and secondary OPC server on the system's networks by "hooking" into the OPC calls made between the client and the server. If for any reason the OPC client loses its communications link with the primary OPC server or a user-specified condition is met (such as an item is not receiving updates, a specific item value is met, or the quality of an item is set to bad), RedundancyMaster will drop the primary OPC server and promote the secondary OPC server on your networkreducing system downtime and saving you money.

Ease of Use

RedundancyMaster is a drop-in application that does not require you to make any changes to your OPC client or server applications. Its intuitive configuration takes only minutes and will allow you to easily establish a redundant OPC system. Simply browse and select your primary and secondary OPC servers, and then your system is up and running. RedundancyMaster includes features such as email notification, object and link monitoring, and diagnostics logging. In the situation where you need multiple redundant OPC server pairs that utilize the same OPC server vendor, we have added the capability to alias the ProgID (Program ID) of the OPC server. (Aliasing may require minor OPC client modifications.)

Product Features

Explore the features that will change how you think about OPC redundancy. The innovations in RedundancyMaster can work together seamlessly with your current OPC application to give you a more reliable, cost-effective solution.

Primary/Secondary Machine Names

Browse for the primary machine that specifies the preferred connection that should be made to an OPC server and the secondary machine which specifies the fallback connection that should be made to an OPC server when communications to the primary machine are unavailable. Every time a new client connection is made to the underlying server, the application will first attempt to make a connection to the server running on the primary machine. In the event that the connection to the primary fails or communications to the primary is lost, a connection to the secondary server will be attempted and, if available, established. Depending on the connection mode, you can configure the application to automatically establish communications with the primary machine when it becomes available.

Connection Mode

The connection mode defines how and when the redundancy application should connect to the underlying primary and secondary servers. The mode in which you operate affects the amount of time it takes to fail over from one OPC server to the other. Some modes allow you to automatically promote communications to the primary when it is available. The following summarizes connection modes:

Cold (active machine only): In this mode, the application will only connect to one underlying server at a time. On startup, a connection to the primary server will be made and all client related requests will be forwarded onto the primary. In the event that the connection to the primary fails, or communications to the primary is lost, a connection to the secondary will be made. If the redundancy application is unable to obtain a connection to the secondary, it will continue to ping-pong between the two servers until it makes a successful connection.

The "cold" connection mode minimizes the amount of system resources that are allocated since there will only be one connection to one server at any given time. It also reduces network traffic since there is no need to poll the inactive machine in addition to the active machine, as in other modes. The drawback to this setting is the amount of time it takes to fail-over to the inactive server. When communication loss is detected with the active server, the application needs to establish the connection to the inactive server, subscribe to all items on behalf of the client, and initiate the appropriate callback mechanisms.

Warm (both machines, subscribe to items on active machine): In this mode, the application will attempt to maintain a connection to both the primary and secondary servers at all times. Only items in the primary server will be active and polled. In the event that the connection to the primary fails, or communications to the primary is lost, the identical items in the primary server will be set to active in secondary server. Periodically, both servers will be pinged to determine if the connection is still valid.

The "warm" connection increases the amount of system resources that are allocated, since there will be two server connections made on behalf of the client. There is also a minimal increase in network traffic due to periodically pinging two servers instead of one, as in "cold" mode operation. The benefits are that fail-over time is minimized over "cold" mode operation, since the redundancy application will only have to initialize data callbacks to the inactive server to begin receiving data. If you need to minimize the loss of data in your application, and at the same time want to minimize network traffic, you should use this connection mode.

Hot (both machines, subscribe to items on both machines): In this mode, the application will attempt to maintain a connection to both the primary and secondary servers at all times. On startup, the application will initialize data callbacks for both primary and secondary servers so that both servers will send data change notifications. The data received from the primary server will be forwarded on to the client. In the event that the connection to the primary fails, or communication to the primary is lost, data received for the secondary will immediately be forwarded onto the client. In either case, writes will only be forwarded to the active server. Periodically, both servers will be pinged to determine if the connections are still valid. If at anytime the redundancy application loses communications to either server, it will periodically attempt to reconnect to the failed server. This setting increases the amount of system resources that are allocated, since there will be two server connections made on behalf of the client. There is also an increase in network traffic due to receiving data change notifications from both underlying servers, as well as periodically pinging both servers to determine if they are still available. The benefit of this setting is that fail-over time occurs immediately after detecting the loss of the active server. If loss of data is very crucial to your application, you should use this connection mode.

OPC Server Aliasing

This feature allows you to configure multiple pairs of OPC servers with the same ProgID. This feature permits you to use one OPC server vendor if you have multiple OPC server nodes on your network. This will allow OPC clients to connect to a specific redundant pair by referring to the aliased ProgID of that redundant pair.

Always Connect to Primary Machine Upon Availability

This setting enables RedundancyMaster to automatically promote communications back to the primary machine when the OPC server becomes available.

Query Server Status Interval

This interval (specified in milliseconds) determines how often RedundancyMaster will ping the underlying servers to determine if there has been a loss of communications. By querying at a faster rate, you can minimize fail-over time since failure detection occurs more frequently.

Query Server Status Timeout

This interval (specified in milliseconds) determines how long the redundancy application will wait for a ping response from the underlying servers before considering there to be a loss of communications.

Monitoring Settings

This feature allows you to configure certain conditions which will initiate a fail-over to the inactive server. These conditions allow you to monitor server items for specific states to determine the health of the underlying servers/devices, above and beyond the automatic fail-over that will occur due to the loss of communications.

Diagnostics Settings

Events can be preserved to disk when the application is shutdown. The next time the application is started, the events will be displayed and any new events will be concatenated to the end of the view.

Since diagnostics utilizes memory and storage resources, you may want to limit the number of diagnostics that are preserved at any given time. RedundancyMaster allows you to set the maximum number of events to capture. Once the maximum number of events has been reached, the oldest events will be discarded as necessary.

Notifications Settings

This feature allows you to configure one or more recipients to receive email notifications for one or more diagnostics events. The events that are available to send as email notifications are the same events visible to the local Diagnostics Settings event view.

Use Case Scenarios

Mitigating Object-Based and Link-Based Failures

There are a many variables that could impact the quality and reliability of your data or cause an OPC system to lose connection to an OPC server. The most common include:

  • The PC running the OPC server is shut down
  • User errors cause the OPC server to exit
  • The network connection to the OPC server is lost or unreliable
  • The network setting is changed causing link failure
  • The OPC server itself fails for any reason, known or otherwise
  • The login account is changed on the OPC server's PC

In most of the cases above, the OPC DA server fails to provide data due to an actual failure underlying the OPC server or the connection to that server. These types of failures are known as "object-based" failures. Object-based failures occur when the actual link between your OPC client application and the target OPC server breaks down. In these examples, software is at fault. However, physical hardware breakdowns within an application can dramatically affect reliability as well. Some of these physical factors include:

  • Physical connection failure (the cable is pulled)
  • Hardware failure (router failure)
  • Electrical Interference (high current discharge)
  • Delays due to signal propagation (radio links)
  • Environmental factors (lightning)
  • Random accidents

In these situations, the virtual connection between the OPC server and the client may be perfectly intact but the physical link to the underlying device or system may be broken. These types of failures are known as "link-based" failures. Link-based failures occur when the connection to the target device or system has been lost. In most cases, the OPC server is still completely operational, but simply cannot supply the data to the rest of the system.

RedundancyMaster can be configured to monitor these conditions and prevent unnecessary downtime in your system, saving you time and money.

Two OPC Servers Paired with RedundancyMaster

If multiple OPC DA client applications are accessing a single OPC server, the potential exists for both an object-based failure or a link-based failure. If for any reason the single OPC server fails to operate, an object-based failure can result. Furthermore, since this single PC is responsible for data collection from the underlying devices, a single point of failure exists for the device connections as well.

To increase the reliability of your OPC system, you need to remove these single points of failure by redesigning your OPC system to use more than one OPC server. To facilitate the redundant operation of the OPC servers, each OPC client is paired with RedundancyMaster.

Using the configurable options within RedundancyMaster, the use of either the Primary or Secondary OPC server can be controlled directly. Based on the modes selected, RedundancyMaster will keep both servers active or (if configured to do so) start the secondary server only when the primary server fails.

Local Machine Redundancy

In this scenario, the OPC client, RedundancyMaster, and the secondary OPC server all reside on the local machine, and the primary OPC server resides on a remote machine. For this system, be sure to make the most reliable server your secondary OPC server. This scenario reduces the need for another machine to run the secondary OPC server.

Multiple OPC Server Pair Redundancy

RedundancyMaster can be configured to have multiple OPC server pairs. In this scenario, there are two pairs of OPC servers that are gathering data from two separate device networks. If the multiple OPC server pairs are all of the same ProgID, then you will need to use the Aliasing feature. If the two pairs have different OPC servers with different ProgIDs, then you will not need to use the Aliasing feature.

Resources

Available Languages

  • English

Application Support

  • OPC Data Access (OPC DA) Versions 1.0 and 2.05a

Release Notes

2.0.128.0

2/2/2016

  • Updated the system requirements to reflect the new requirement for Windows XP SP3 or higher (SP2 is no longer supported).
  • Fixed an issue where a graceful shutdown of the primary server could delay switching over to the secondary server.
  • Added return value OPC_STATUS_SUSPENDED for IOPCServer::GetStatus to indicate the service has been stopped.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the switch over from the secondary server back to the primary server to take longer than expected when the primary was shut down gracefully.
  • Corrected a failed startup that could cause connecting clients to wait indefinitely.
  • Fixed an issue where licenses could show up as expired on some 64-bit machines.
  • Installing on a non-system drive no longer displays a message that the log file could not be converted.
  • Added an option to “Remove User Data” during un-install with the Kepware install executable, which removes all redundant configurations and associated settings (not available through Windows program removal).
  • Corrected an issue where synchronous reads would not succeed for some specific clients.
  • Fixed issues with asynchronous and synchronous reads and writes where the values could be mismapped if invalid and valid tags were in the same tag group.
  • Resolved an issue where certain versions of Kepware OPC client products were not interoperable with RedundancyMaster. This issue was introduced in version 2.0.99.0 of RedundancyMaster.

2.0.99.0

10/21/2014

Configuration and Runtime

  • Improved the user experience of configuring a project in a Windows UAC-enabled environment by separating the configuration from the runtime service. This improvement applies to the following operating systems:
    • Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate
    • Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Professional, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise
    • Windows 8, Windows 8 Professional, and Windows 8 Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2012
    • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • The install will now notify users when another application is using the Sentinel HASP hardware key. In order for the Hardware Key to be properly installed, it requires that all Sentinel HASP hardware keys be disabled while the install is running.

2.0.48.0

2/29/2012

  • Fixed an issue where the install failed to detect the previous version which resulted in two installed versions of the product.
  • Fixed an install issue where the legacy project file was not properly migrated to the new version on an upgrade.

2.0.47.0

2/21/2012

  • Initial release of version 2 RedundancyMaster with a stand-alone License Management Utility with enhanced Hardware Key support.

1.10.54

11/23/2005

  • Added ProgID Aliasing to allow redundancy to be provided to multiple pairs of servers with the same ProgID.
  • Fixed anomaly that occurred when sending an e-mail notification to an SMTP address that specified a DNS name with 'dots' in the name. The application was treating this as an IP address which resulted in a runtime anomaly. (SWTB)
  • Fixed issue with properly updating DCOM configuration when uninstalling as a service.
  • RedundancyMaster will now send IOPCShutdown notifications to clients when the application is terminated by an end-user.
  • Fixed anomaly that occurred when sending an e-mail notification to an SMTP address that contained dots in the address, but was not in the form of an IP address.
  • Added the ability to alias a server's ProgID, so that we can provide redundancy to multiple pairs of servers with the same ProgID.

1.01.41.0

1/7/2005

  • We now properly apply the 'Notifications' settings prior to sending a test e-mail.

1.00.38.0

12/20/2004

Initial Release

  • Fixed issue where -unregister would not uninstall application as an NT service.
  • We no longer post the default monitor item dialog validation box for 'Specific Time Period' trigger.
  • Fixed ability to manually enter in a larger monitor item failure count in the xml file then the number of monitor items defined.
  • Removed monitor test interval, as this can be automatically calculated by the runtime. There are built in precautions so that we do not fail a monitor item test until we receive an initial update on the item.
  • We now force the 'No item changes for a given time period (ms)' trigger data to be at least 2 times the update rate associated with the monitor item. If the trigger data is less an informational prompt notify the user that the value was auto-adjusted will be displayed. Also, care was taken when loading the XML file to enforce this in case it is changed outside of the configuration utility.
  • When a monitor item can not be added, it will now be considered in error.
  • We now prevent entering trigger data that contains non-numeric characters, is empty or is set to less than 10ms for the "Specific Time Period" condition.
  • Fixed the ability to maintain the active connection appropriate machine (primary or secondary) when changin the machine names on the fly in cold mode.
  • Made modification so that there is always a new monitor test after reconnecting to a server.
  • Fixed ability to change machine name on the fly.
  • Fixed repetitive Connect/Disconnect messages when we can successfully connect to the server and call methods, but the server can not initialize a callback back into us.
  • Added ability to save diagnostics to a text file.
  • Added ability to set an update rate on a monitor item.
  • Added support to fallback to 1.0 interfaces for monitor items.
  • Fixed proper assignment of diagnostics events when switching between servers.
  • Added necessary logic to send clients bad quality updates for items when a connection to both primary and secondary servers is lost or can not be made.
  • Fixed issue which would allow a process to unload our runtime dll even if we providing services for the process.
  • Added 'Date' data type support.
  • Added the ability to import the necessary OPC server configuration from a remote machine.
  • Added registry modification log when enabling/disabling redundancy on server(s).
  • Added date as well as time to the e-mail notifications.
  • Added redundant SMTP server support for e-mail notifications.
  • Added error code to string mapper for SMTP errors.
  • Added e-mail notification support.
  • Added the ability to enable/disable the "hooking" of a redundant server.
  • Added tooltip support for the monitor item / diagnostic view list controls.
  • Added support for default canonical datatype.

Operating Systems

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2
  • Windows Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Windows XP Professional SP3 or higher

System Requirements

  • 2.0 GHz Processor
  • 1 GB installed RAM
  • 180 MB available disk space
  • Ethernet Card
  • Super VGA (800x600) or Higher Resolution Video

End-of-Life

As of November 15, 2016, RedundancyMaster V1 is no longer supported. You can continue running a V1 instance, but will not receive technical support or software patches. Please contact a Kepware representative or your local Kepware Partner to discuss your options for upgrading.

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Purchasing Information

RedundancyMaster
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$658.00/year

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