In any complex process automation industry, whether it is oil and gas, chemical, pharma, power generation, or another process-intensive industry, alarms can mean the difference between life and death, profit and loss, a stellar reputation and infamy. Thus, the continuous monitoring of process control alarms – even amid emergencies and disasters – is crucial not only to the safety of employees, but also to the continuity of business. Companies cannot afford to operate without it. That’s where TiPS LogMate High Availability (LMHA) offers niche value.
Laying the groundwork
TiPS LogMate Capture module is the cornerstone of the LogMate alarm management solution. Capture does what its name implies – it captures alarm and event data from alarm monitoring interfaces at locations and feeds it to a Microsoft SQL server database.
Using the other LogMate modules, engineers can receive real-time notifications, analyze alarm data, and configure alarm response procedures.
To ensure reliability, this process requires an uninterrupted flow of accurate, complete data. Gaps in data, such as those caused by disasters, will cause any alarm management program to not perform as intended.
Alarm monitoring and disaster recovery
Disaster recovery (DR) events pose a serious risk to alarm monitoring continuity. Among those risks are:
- Failure of servers to transfer on failover – data is lost forever.
- Operators cannot readily communicate with servers as to status and are unaware of issues before or during the event.
- Operators cannot actively manage failovers or force manual failovers if needed.
- Servers may require resyncing for recovery. The databases will have variances between them, and they need to be reconciled before a restart.
Any of these issues may result in a loss of data and cost hours, even days, of operator time and lost production. Indeed, some concerns that may come to mind include:
- How do I protect stored data if a Capture server fails in a disaster?
- What if the Capture servers go out of sync, creating different data streams?
- How can I easily communicate with the Capture servers to check status?
- How can I actively manage failovers or force manual failovers?
- Do I need to reconfigure Capture servers during recovery?
TiPS LogMate High Availability is the bridge over Disaster Recovery
By utilizing LMHA in a disaster recovery situation, businesses will not lose access to historical data, and they will be able to continue to collect and process alarms seamlessly as operations recover. Here’s how it works.
LMHA interfaces with and enables two Capture installations to communicate with each other in order to ensure that if a failover is required, the Capture system on standby is able to pick up from where the primary system left off, and vice-versa once the primary system is back online.
It is a seamless disaster recovery tool that offers robust protection from data gaps in a number of ways:
- Saves the time and effort of manual failovers: The manual process is extensive and can take up to an hour or more in a stressful environment. Operator errors in the process can cause duplicate data records that require manual cleansing, which can take 1-2 days to complete. LMHA automates this process and eliminates this risk.
- Provides transparency: Operators can collect accurate, real-time alarm data in the primary and backup servers with the LMHA Capture module. Metrics provide the ability to benchmark performance along with analytics to identify specific areas for improvement.
- Ensures continuity: LMHA parses data to minimize loss upon transfer from the primary to the backup server.
- Syncs primary and backup Capture servers: This ensures seamless transitions in the event of failovers. There will be no gaps in the historical database and no need to reconfigure Capture servers during recovery.
- Enables communication for status checks: This happens through a “soft handshake” dialogue between primary and backup servers – a “What’s up?” and “All okay here,” or “Nobody is home.” Operators won’t be caught by surprise by server failures.
- Puts users in control: LMHA facilitates the active management of failovers from Capture servers if operators need to be hands-on. It allows hard failover of Capture servers if necessary. If one goes down, the other picks up. If all else fails, LMHA enables manual force failovers.
Most plants avoid failover tests because manual restarts get complicated – without an expert on the phone, we’re talking 90+ minutes following all the right instructions for a process that’s prone to user errors. However, avoiding tests also makes businesses more vulnerable during serious disasters where these errors can cost them dearly. Thus, implementing a solution that defends the systems is a must.
LogMate High Availability provides protection
The net result of installing LMHA is protection from hours, perhaps days, in the restoration of operations and loss of production.
LMHA works continuously, so operators who rely on the data for reports and alarm management analysis don’t get disrupted. As a result, it is as though the disaster recovery event never occurred.
To spare operations and control teams from data loss and user errors, LMHA can supplement disaster recovery tools. Other valuable and complementary components of the TiPS LogMate Suite include:
- Signal: A real-time alarm event detection tool.
- netView: Gain full visibility into alarms from any modern browser.
- TRAC: An alarm KPI toolset with trend displays.
- ACE (Alarm Configuration Expert): Alarm rationalization and analysis suite.
- KB (Alarm Knowledge Base Agent): A companion tool for alarm database imports.
Process control alarm management has been TiPS’ business since 1990:
- As acknowledged industry experts, TiPS was actively involved with the International Society of Automation in the development of ISA 18.2: Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries.
- TiPS’ solutions monitor, analyze and report on control systems alarms in real time to provide a platform to support all phases of the alarm management lifecycle.
- TiPS’ tools are compatible with many control systems.
To learn more about LogMate High Availability or our other products, contact us for a no-obligation demonstration!