OS Client, Batch Client and Route Control Client with SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update 1 Released for Virtual Operating Environments
Virtualization permits the implementation of several isolated virtual machines (VM) with own hardware components on one real physical computer (host system). These virtual machines perform like real computers and can each execute applications. OS Clients, Batch Clients and Route Control Clients based on SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update 1 are herewith released for use on virtual machines under VMware ESX V5.0. These client types are thus made independent of the real hardware and several clients can be run simultaneously on a common hardware basis.
1 Coverage of the release
In addition to the OS Clients, Batch Clients and Route Control Clients based on SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update 1, the following software components are also released for virtual operation:
- SIMATIC PCS 7 SFC Visualization
- SIMATIC PCS 7 Web Server
- SIMATIC PCS 7 OpenPCS 7/OS Client
- SIMATIC WinCC Data Monitor
- SIMATIC PCS 7 Terminal Server
Other software components of the SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update1 process control system have not been subjected to a test for compatibility on a virtual machine and are therefore not released for this purpose!
For technical reasons the operation of the regional product variant SIMATIC PCS 7 OS Software Client ASIA is not possible on virtual machines.
Irrespective of this release for operation on virtual machines, we consider the use of SIMATIC PCS 7 in real, non-virtual operating environments to be the standard priority. If SIMATIC PCS 7 is employed in a virtual environment and the operating characteristics should deviate from those of the standard operation in a real, non-virtual environment, this will only be documented by means of FAQs.
Problems that occur during operation on virtual machines will be corrected by Siemens, if they can be reproduced on the standard runtime environment released for SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update1 and higher (real, non-virtual operating environment). In other cases it must be assumed that the problem is caused by the virtualization software or the hardware components. In this case Siemens regrets to be unable to correct the problem. Please take this into acount in your system configuration and possibly reach an agreement with the supplier of the hardware components and the virtualization software for suitable support services.
2 Advantages of virtualization
Virtual technologies permit cost-effective, resilient and flexible IT infrastructures, which offer the following advantages:
- Reduction of the hardware costs
- Reduced hardware costs due to the consolidation of several physical computers
- More cost-effective hardware can be used for clients (so-called ThinClient solutions)
- Reduction of the time for maintenance and upkeep
- Time saving due to centrally executed updates and backups
- Reduced maintenance costs and time due to central administration
- ESXi Server configuration with remote management tools
- Increased safety
- Increased safety due to remote access and centralized computer management
- Reduced chances of attacks on Thin Clients; central protection on the ESXi server for the virtual machines
- Increased availability
- Replacement of the hardware on the ESXi server during operation
- Increased flexibility
- Additional virtual machines can be added by starting another VMware session
However, please also take possible negative aspects into account:
- Significantly increased system complexity
- More administrative work
- Possibly increased security expenses (additional layer, data security)
- Danger of a "Single Point of Failure"
3 Hardware and software requirements
The hardware requirements of VMware ESXi V5.0 are applicable to the host systems. By host system is meant the real hardware, on which the ESXi server for the virtual machine runs. The host system provides its resources to the virtual machines.
In addition, the instructions and requirements of the following entry IDs are applicable:
- Update 1 for SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0 EU and ASIA released for delivery, entry ID 60179643
Comprehensive technical information on virtualization with SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update 1 will be supplied in a separate FAQ entry (in preparation). This will contain the following in-depth installation instructions and requirements:
- Configuration of the host systems
- The user/administrator must provide suffient system resources for the ESXi server and the virtual machines
- Configuration of the virtual machines
- System bus, terminal bus and Windows network must be separate (where appropriate, the terminal bus and the Windows network can be combined)
- The CPU load of the dedicated logical CPU cores may not exceed 70 to 80%
- Archiving of large amounts of data requires a reserve (high I/O load, hard disk capacity)
- Hardware version of the virtual machines: 8
- Lateste VMware tools must be installed
- Graphics card setting: min. 36 MByte
4 Licensing of the virtual machines
There is no difference in the licensing of a SIMATIC PCS 7 software installation on a virtual machine and the installation on a real hardware (SIMATIC PCS 7 Industrial Workstation). Each SIMATIC software installation on a virtual machine, e.g. SIMATIC PCS 7 and other SIMATIC applications, must be licensed.
Each SIMATIC PCS 7 OS Client installation on a virtual machine must be suitably licensed.
5 Project-specific virtualization
In addition to virtual OS Clients, Batch Clients and Route Control Clients, it is also possible to implement the following virtual systems with SIMATIC PCS 7 software V8.0+Update 1 under VMware ESXi V5.0, in specific projects:
- OS Server and OS Single Station
- Batch Server
- Route Control Server
- Engineering System
A special project release is required in such cases, which necessitates a detailed analysis of the desired configuration based on the technical limiting factors.
The purpose of the project-specific release is to ensure that the necessary hardware requirements are met.
When you parametrize a virtual machine please use the hardware recommendations in the readme files of SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0+Update 1 (see entry ID 57358973) as orientation.
It is also possible to monitor all virtual SIMATIC PCS 7 stations via the central administration of the ESXi server. More information on monitoring options and configurations is available from the FAQ entry "Virtualization with PCS 7 V8.0 incl. Update 1 - Technical Information" (in preparation).
- Only the hardware certified in the VMware Compatibility Guide may be used for the ESXi-Server and its components: http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl;
communication modules, e.g. CP 1623, multi-monitor graphics cards and signal modules can thus not be employed.
- The system bus communication to the automation system is only via the virtual standard network card (BCE coupling).
- For technical reasons the connection to redundant automation systems (fault-tolerant and failsafe) is not possible.
- The connection between redundant OS servers, Batch servers or Route Control servers must be implemented via an Ethernet connection and separate virtual network cards.
- Virtual SIMATIC PCS 7 stations must be treated like real SIMATIC PCS 7 stations. This means:
- Firewalls, virus scanners, Application Whitelisting and update mechanisms (patch installation via WSUS) must be integrated and configured like real installations.
- Pausing of virtual SIMATIC PCS 7 stations is not possible.
- No support of VMware options such as vMotion, High Availability (HA) and Fault Tolerance (FT).
- All operator stations can be operated via a opened Remote Desktop connection. This applies to both a remote desktop connection (Basis Windows Session) and a RealVNC connection (RealVNC Enterprise Edition V4.6.3); Remote Desktop may only be used via /console or /admin.
- A Remote Desktop connection may only be used for OS Clients, Batch Clients and Route Control Clients via /console or /admin. Please read the information in chapter "4.8.2 Functions for remote Diagnostics" of the user manula "PCS 7 - PC Configuration and Authorizations".
- Audio signals cannot be transmitted via a RealVNC connection.
7 Information sources
Information and hints on the optimal operation of the VMware is available at:
A summary of the hardware components that have been validated and released for VMware is available at: