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Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 100 / 3
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Microsoft contributing open-source OPC UA stack

New .NET Standard Library technology was developed and optimized by Microsoft to serve as a complete platform-independent infrastructure, from the embedded world to the cloud.

AT THE RECENT HANNOVER MESSE, the OPC Foundation announced an open-source implementation of the OPC UA technology, available on GitHub to enable the OPC community to successfully adapt OPC UA across all markets and all platforms.

Announced at the Hannover Fair, the OPC Foundation will continue to develop, maintain and extend newly introduced .NET technology as an OPC Foundation-endorsed, open-source .NET reference implementation.

The new OPC Foundation reference stack, based on the new .NET Standard Library technology, was developed and optimized by Microsoft to serve as a complete platform-independent infrastructure, from the embedded world to the cloud. This new version is enabled on the following supported platforms: various Linux distributions, iOS, Android, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Phone, HoloLens and the Azure cloud.

One of the important features of the .Net Standard stack is the expansion of the security features to meet the needs of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, as well as the requirements of "Plattform Industrie 4.0".

Additional benefits of the OPC UA .Net Standard Stack include:

  • The .Net Standard stack is cross platform specifically enabling OPC UA applications.
  • The .Net Standard API portability strategy is all about developing once and running everywhere: No need to special-case OS-specific functionality.
  • The architecture of the .Net Standard stack focuses on managed code, which translates to rapid application development.
  • Microsoft deliberately enabled the creation of NuGet packages, which allows suppliers to quickly integrate OPC UA support into their application with a few simple clicks.
  • The .Net Standard stack includes increased security inclusive of support for SHA512.
  • The .Net Standard stack enables support for cross-platform UI design tools through Xamarin.

Microsoft has provided, in conjunction with the OPC Foundation, a set of sample applications, inclusive of reference clients, reference servers, an aggregation server, an OPC classic wrapper and a web application to quickly display OPC UA telemetry data sent to the cloud.

Microsoft has also provided, in conjunction with the OPC Foundation complete samples demonstrating Azure connectivity leveraging the OPC UA publish/subscribe technology (the specification of which is currently being finalized).

Microsoft′s Sam George, Director of Microsoft Azure IoT said, "OPC UA has truly established itself as the interoperability standard for Industrial IoT. We are honored to work with the OPC Foundation on the continued evolution of the standard. The response from the Industrial IoT community to our .Net Standard reference stack contribution has been very positive."

Certification Lab in Europe

OPC Foundation also announced an expanded certification program due to a large increase in demand by end users and suppliers to certify their OPC UA enabled products.

"We opened up a new lab fourth-quarter 2016 with a new certification strategy inclusive of certification of our information models from our collaboration partners", said Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President.

"We decided to expand the reach of our certification process by opening up a new certification lab in Europe, and at the same time making this lab available to test both OPC Foundation member products as well as non-member products. This lab will not only test the OPC UA functionalities but will also certify the implementation of OPC UA companion specifications which is the real key for Industrie 4.0 and IIoT Interoperability," said Stefan Hoppe, OPC Foundation Global VP.

In-depth security analysis

The Federal Office for Information Security, (BSI) announced completion of in-depth security analysis of OPC UA.

Due to the relevance of OPC UA to Industrie 4.0 and German industry, the BSI performed an in-depth security analysis of the OPC UA specifications and a selected reference implementation. A video describing their recommendation and analysis is available on the OPC YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/OSfqXZ0AKzo.

The BSI has published the results of the OPC UA security analysis on their BSI web site. The OPC Foundation also published a commented version on the OPC web site in both German and English. An extensive analysis of the security functions in the specification of OPC UA confirmed that OPC UA was designed with a focus on security and does not contain systematic security vulnerabilities.

Industry news by OPC Foundation.

Source: Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 100 / 3
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