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Protecting critical business processes

25 May 2012

From plant managers to IT staff in industrial companies, redundancy of system components is necessary to address three key concerns - safety, compliance and traceability - and the resultant cost of downtime. Rob Dinsmore, SolutionsPT’s product manager and availability champion, describes them as ‘essential to all businesses’.

Industry today is faced with the challenge of ensuring that their critical processes are running on resilient hardware platforms. In most cases this will require the three key concerns of safety, compliance and cost of downtime to be addressed. Problems relative to these types of issues will always have a significant negative impact on a business’s bottom line.

In the case of safety, a good example is the railway industry, where trackside communications process needs to be assured. This requires building a platform to build in redundancy and resilience. SolutionsPT achieves this using Stratus fault tolerant computer systems.

Meanwhile, compliance and traceability is vital in an industry such as pharmaceuticals, where data is logged and recorded. This data is critical and where it to be lost, the entire process batch would have to be rejected.

In the case of downtime, the costs can be considerable in operating environments such as oil rigs, production lines and the majority of process industries.

The Stratus fault tolerant computer platform distributed by HardwarePT, the industrial computing and connectivity division of SolutionsPT, offers a solution for mission critical processes. The equipment can practically manage itself, leaving their staff free to concentrate on data centre operations.

Stratus-based solutions are easier to maintain than complex measures used by IT departments to protect systems, like server clustering in data centres, for example. For Plant IT, having the most important processes running on fault-tolerant systems has two key benefits. Firstly, the system is deployed on an incredibly reliable platform which delivers the required uptime but also the relative ease with which these systems can be maintained makes it a double win for plant IT. Key systems do not suffer failure and the pro-active maintenance of these machines actually eases the burden on the IT infrastructure.

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