Middleware interface between the OT and IT environments

01 June 2021

The dataFEED Secure Integration Server product from Softing Industrial works as an abstract interface between the worlds of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), offering users a set of key functionalities for efficient data exchange in a single component.

In its role as an aggregating server, this middleware makes use of OPC-UA’s address space modelling, especially for interface abstraction and data aggregation. In the process, this interface abstraction handles changes or extensions within one domain (OT/IT) without modifications then being needed in the other. 

Advantages include the ease with which new IT applications can be integrated into the overall solution, to exploit short innovation cycles in IT or make targeted changes to the production environment. With data aggregation, data from multiple sources can be consolidated on a single OPC UA server, so the IT application now only needs to access this one server. This simplification to the communications infrastructure cuts configuration effort for users.

Another key feature of the dataFEED Secure Integration Server is its in-built security, with filters available to restrict the address space for individual OPC-UA client applications plus definable access types. Apart from full implementation of OPC-UA security functions, whitelists and blacklists can also be defined to control data access from specific IP addresses, and detection of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks targeting OPC UA authentication is also included.

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