Running software such as BellHawk in the Cloud has many advantages, whether it is being run on computers at a secure data center managed by BellHawk Online staff, or is being run at a client's data center, or on a private Cloud based server.
For smaller organizations, without their own IT staff, BellHawk Online eliminates all the hassles of securely setting up and managing their own server computer and the BellHawk software as well as performing necessary functions, such as nightly backups to the Cloud, and, if needed, restoration of the system. This also enables KnarrTek's staff to make changes and upgrades seamlessly without any interruptions to production operations.
For larger organizations, which are renting BellHawk to run on their own computers, it enables BellHawk to be run at a centralized data center, or in a private Cloud, along with many such applications, which makes IT management much simpler.
There are, however, disadvantages especially in the area of efficiently communicating with local systems and devices within a plant or other facility. To this end, BellHawk Online makes available the following Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) appliances:
The BellHawk IIOT appliances are fan-less units that are designed for use in an industrial environment. Physically they are about 6"x6"x2" and have external USB, LAN, and HDMI connections. Wireless LAN and Bluetooth, as well as RS232 connections can be provided, if needed.
"Under the Hood" the appliance consists of a multi-core processor running the Windows 10 IIOT Embedded Workstation operating system. These units can be installed as a "Guest" on the local area network in the plant or can be joined to the organization's Active Directory domain by knowledgeable IT staff of the client.
All the IIOT appliance requires is an outbound connection from the unit to the Internet, just like the PCs and mobile computers used for data collection, and reliable power, such as from an uninterruptable power supply. There is no need for an inbound communications "hole" through the firewall, which could otherwise pose a security risk.
These units are shipped to clients pre-configured, so that the level of involvement required from a client's IT staff is minimized. Once installed, changes to configuration, such as adding printers and configuring interfaces, can be managed remotely by KnarrTek's support staff.