Opto 22 has debuted its second major firmware release for 2020 (the third since initial release in 2018) of the groov EPIC edge programmable industrial control platform. Version 3.0 focuses on enhancing the scalability of industrial internet of things (IIoT) and automation projects. It introduces centralized user management via LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol), the option of lower-cost Ignition Edge licensing, and improved maintenance and troubleshooting capabilities for remote installations.
Fulfilling the promise of IIoT requires building networks of hundreds, thousands, or millions of connections, but the very magnitude of these systems can create an administrative bottleneck. groov EPIC’s Linux-based operating system and embedded framework of connected applications allow it to grow to meet these challenges. EPIC already supports such IT standards as DNS, DHCP, HTTPS, VPN, and MQTT; and now with version 3.0, users can take advantage of central user management using an LDAP-compatible directory server, like Microsoft Active Directory. Rather than defining user access profiles repeatedly for individual network devices—creating potential gaps in security—with LDAP, IT administrators can define permissions once and manage them centrally across an organization. For regulated industries like pharmaceutical manufacturing, central user management is a critical data integrity requirement.
Cost can also be a limiting factor in the growth of IIoT and edge computing networks. That’s why long-time Opto 22 partner Inductive Automation has adjusted licensing for the Ignition Edge integration platform embedded in groov EPIC. Two field device connections and unlimited OPC UA client connections are now supported at a reduced base licensing cost for users who upgrade to Ignition Edge 8.0, available as an additional firmware update. For experienced Ignition or Ignition Edge users, version 8.0 also supports optional features like scripting and mobile visualization. The standard version 3.0 firmware retains current Ignition/Ignition Edge 7.x licensing.
In addition to administrative and financial overhead, long-term maintenance and troubleshooting challenges can break the feasibility of large networking projects, so the groov EPIC 3.0 firmware strengthens features designed to support these activities. The backup and restore function now captures the installed Node-RED node library, making it easier to archive, restore, and upgrade EPIC systems in remote locations or on isolated networks lacking internet access. Network engineers can also take advantage of integrated logging for groov EPIC’s native MQTT client. And with Opto 22’s always-free product support, maintenance personnel can enable the improved Remote Support Service in groov EPIC to receive remote troubleshooting directly from the manufacturer’s product support group.
Version 3.0 also includes other juicy extras:
- Node-RED is upgraded to version 1.1.3, with improvements to the editor and core nodes plus support for Websockets connections for data-rich client-side apps.
- Standalone PID capability debuts for groov Manage, allowing for control of up to 96 PID loops without any programming in PAC Control or CODESYS.
- MQTT/Sparkplug B support is enhanced with the ability to publish more tag properties, like deadband, scaled min and max values, and signal filter settings.
All these and more are available within groov EPIC’s secure industrial ecosystem. EPIC supports multi-threaded process flowcharts with PAC Control, IEC 61131-3 industrial control languages via CODESYS, or custom applications with groov EPIC secure shell access (SSH). Everything is protected with user authentication, a configurable device firewall, encrypted communications, and segregated network interfaces. Users can play it safe and still go big with the groov EPIC 3.0 firmware!
For new customers, all groov EPICs (GRV-EPIC-PR1) will ship with firmware version 3.0. Ignition Edge 7.9.16 is pre-installed but can be upgraded to version 8.0.16 through the manage.groov.com portal. Both versions of the 3.0 firmware are available for free for all current users as well through manage.groov.com. Complete upgrade instructions are available in the groov EPIC User’s Guide. For more information, visit opto22.com.