Over the past eight years, we have seen our customers’ architectures grow from one application-specific OPC server to a complex connectivity layer with multiple integrated servers that enable users to control and monitor industrial automation data on the factory floor, process plant, pipeline, building, and beyond. In addition, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, and Smart Manufacturing are transforming the industry, inspiring new and innovative ways of optimizing the factory floor. This has led to a greater focus on standardizing communication solutions and creating a connectivity layer for moving data from hardware (such as PLCs, RTUs, machine controllers, and smart sensors) to the software application layer (such as SCADA, MES, and on-premise or Cloud data platforms).
KEPServerEX V6 was designed to meet these connectivity challenges, making more information accessible to more clients while running enterprise-wide as an integrated connectivity layer or single standalone server.
Based on market needs and customer feedback, we focused on six key enhancements for KEPServerEX V6:
- Multilingual support
- Remote programmatic configuration API
- Native OPC UA technology
- Streamlined server licensing, deployment, and maintenance
- Integrated security
- Improved user experience
These updates leverage OPC and IT-centric communication protocols for the high performance, reliability, and usability you expect from Kepware.
Over the next few weeks, we will run a blog series dedicated to exploring each of these new features in-depth. Continue reading below for brief overviews of the major updates that make KEPServerEX truly enterprise and IoT-ready, IT-friendly, and secure.
IIoT initatives have helped create wider-reaching connectivity needs across across global enterprises. As a result, Kepware has experienced high global growth, especially in Europe and Asia. But our multinational partners and users had to utilize an English-only user interface to configure KEPServerEX, which limited who could configure, troubleshoot, and monitor KEPServerEX.
In KEPServerEX V6, core components and key drivers have been localized into Japanese and German—enabling seamless user navigation and configuration for increased accessibility, safety, and productivity for these native speakers.
Remote Programmatic Configuration API
In today’s globalized enterprise, users need flexible, secure, and immediate access to their complex communications architecture. The new REST-based Configuration API available in V6 enables users to make remote programmatic changes to the KEPServerEX configuration via third-party or custom client applications.
Available configuration changes include adding, editing, reading, and deleting objects (such as channels, devices, and tags) in the server—and more. This enables IT departments to templatize and standardize object creation, and improves security and collaboration between Operations and IT. Through this feature, users can easily configure multiple KEPServerEX instances from their enterprise software, and remote technicians can change project configuration settings off-site.
Native OPC UA Technology
Our customers’ servers move high volumes of data between the device and application layers, and sometimes into another connectivity server. To streamline this process, we improved the KEPServerEX OPC UA Client driver, OPC UA server interface, and OPC tunneling solution through the native development of OPC UA technology. Developed in-house by Kepware engineers, the native OPC UA functionality provides a solid foundation for continued enhancements. It includes robust diagnostics and supports the high performance required in today’s environments—with integrated scalability for tomorrow’s enterprise-wide needs.
Streamlined Server Licensing, Deployment, and Maintenance
In today’s complex industrial ecosystem, our customers often have multiple servers that connect to the internet for process automation and have multiple licenses placed on them. KEPServerEX Version 6 features an improved license process that dramatically streamlines the steps needed to activate, maintain, and manage all licenses enterprise-wide. With new tools and enhancements that enable license management, users within a complex automation environment can now easily deploy, manage, and update their licenses.
When moving information between disparate hardware and software, data security is critical. With KEPServerEX V6, the Security Policies advanced plug-in has been integrated into the core server functionality and is now included with all licenses. This enables users to assign role-based access on channels, devices, and tags in KEPServerEX, and works in conjunction with the server’s User Manager to restrict access to the server data.
Improved User Experience
An updated user interface streamlines project setup, deployment, and interaction for an improved user experience and enhanced product manageability. The KEPServerEX user interface features updated wizards for channel and device creation, a new property editor for modifying channels, devices, and tags, a simplified driver creation process, and a new unified product tree for easier project management. These tools help increase user productivity and improve accessibility enterprise-wide.
We’ll be sharing more in-depth looks at KEPServerEX V6 enhancements in upcoming blog posts. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss out. And in the meantime, download a free trial to experience firsthand how KEPServerEX Version 6 can meet your needs for enhanced connectivity, increased productivity, and improved enterprise-wide accessibility.