Over the last decade, Cloud-based applications have become integral parts of our daily life, from providing conveniences like GPS navigation and “to-do” list tracking to providing assurance that our most important personal data is backed up and secure. The promise of the Cloud now extends to manufacturers, reducing costs and improving productivity across the plant floor and entire enterprise.
4IR Solutions, a leading provider of Cloud-based Platform Solutions for Manufacturing, has created FactoryStack, a curated Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that uses best-in-class applications and a DevSecOps framework to deliver a secure, scalable, and fully managed solution platform for Industry 4.0.
FactoryStack is designed to enable Cloud-based SCADA, analytics and control using Ignition. 4IR Solutions provides both the Cloud infrastructure as well as industrial edge devices as a fully managed service. We manage security, software updates and support of the platform, and provide each subscriber with a fully licensed instance of Inductive Automation’s Ignition with full Designer access for designing and configuring Ignition applications.
The ability to provide a premium experience on any device, at any location is not a differentiator any longer for software – it’s a minimum expectation.
By leveraging the modern capabilities of Cloud infrastructure such as Cloud-provided services, orchestration engines such as Kubernetes and container technologies such as Docker, you can craft an architecture that is both resilient and scalable. If you layer on top of those core services the ability to perform automated tasks such as monitoring, disaster recovery, testing and the generation of automated artifacts, you gain the ability to create a highly available environment that is well-suited for a continuous deployment model like DevOps.
Not forgetting about security, the public Cloud platforms available such as those from Amazon, Microsoft and Google have comprehensive security and monitoring services so you can be confident that your data is private and secured.
There are significant benefits to adopting a Cloud-based architecture – and many companies have done just that. According to the 2020 Cloud in Discrete Manufacturing Industries Survey, 64% of companies surveyed are actively using the Cloud, and another 20% are currently in the process of rolling out Cloud technology. According to that same survey, the largest opportunity for improvement to profitability is in the manufacturing portion of the business, with procurement and marketing following in second and third.
Unfortunately, the news is not all rosy, as many have found that Cloud technology is more complex than they had initially expected. We believe that with adequate planning, clarity of goals and choosing the right combination of technologies and partners in the space, the opportunity is immense.
The FactoryStack Advantage
FactoryStack combines the power of Ignition with the flexibility, availability, and security of the Cloud, while abstracting away the complexity from customers. Besides Ignition, the platform comes with two key application components per customer – firstly, a dedicated database instance, pre-configured and optimized for securely storing configuration, audit trail, and time-series data. And secondly, a dedicated Git repository with a web-based frontend that is used for maintaining customer Ignition projects themselves. This infrastructure can optionally be scaled-up to support “DevOps”-style deployments that include Dev, Test, Staging, and Production environments.
To manage the application-level changes, we provide an environment-specific Git repository that captures and tracks resource changes made to a Development system with the Ignition Designer.
When an authorized user requests to promote the latest Development system to Test, or Test to Stage or Stage to Production, our deployment pipeline will notify the appropriate customer-appointed users for approval and produce artifacts that represent the changes made and the activities performed thus far.
This combination of environment, pipeline and controls for both the platform and the application decreases the time to qualify changes, reduces the risk of unauthorized changes to a system and makes it easier to maintain an up-to-date and secure environment.
Help Is Here
FactoryStack was purpose built by 4IR Solutions with the needs of manufacturers in mind. Our unique combination of factory-floor know-how and modern, Cloud-based architectures allows for same-day adoption of Cloud technologies without needing to worry about loss of data or a degraded user experience if plant-level Internet connectivity goes down.
Let our decades of expertise lead you on your digital transformation journey. To learn more, or to schedule a call with an expert from 4IR Solutions, please click here: https://www.4ir.cloud/contact.