The Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS) has now been officially launched globally for 12 months and in use at some key clients for over two years.
RMS is a modern continuous monitoring system that embraces open architecture and interoperability as well as providing a compliant system for validated applications.
But how is this achieved and what exactly is RMS. There are two ways I find myself answering this…
- The technical answer – for IT project managers, system integrators and cyber security managers.
- The practical answer – for end users, project managers and smaller organisations.
What is RMS – The Practical Answer…
In short RMS provides a modern and complete monitoring system with a detailed web interface. The system provides users with ease of access to data, reliable and manageable alarms and extensive reporting. Importantly RMS can support existing hardware and interact with other software/hardware platforms.
RMS can be provided as a hosted cloud service or using a traditional licence whereby the client installs the system on their servers (local or cloud).
In summary RMS provides amongst other things…
- Live interactive charts
- Full reporting and automated/scheduled report generation
- Complete event logging in line with GxP requirements
- Full alarming with logic and time schedules
- Email, phone, sms, relay and custom protocol alarm outputs
- Auto back fill and retrospective alarms (ideal for transport logging)
- Interactive layouts
- Complete user rights management
- Compliant to GxP designed around ease of validation
Core RMS hardware includes Ethernet, WiFi, industrial wireless and RS485 devices as well as full support for existing Rotronic devices, 3rd party analogue devices and 3rd party digital devices using any of the above interfaces. The below graphic outlines the wide range of options available.
Contact us for further information or visit our website
What is RMS – The Technical Answer…
Let’s now go a bit deeper. For many organisations once end-users approve of a system the challenge is getting the system approved and installed in line with wider corporate policies and security. So far we have found that in discussions with IT project managers and cyber security managers, RMS has met their requirements – usually much to the surprise of the end users who perhaps initially expect a protracted battle! Typically for larger more secure organisations software is required to be installed within their network rather than using the Rotronic Cloud service. Below we discuss the main elements of this type of RMS installation.
RMS has two core elements.
1. Webservice; This is software aspect of RMS. The webservice provides the interactive webpage to present data for end users and allow system configuration. The webservice also works in the background to interact with hardware and the database. Typically the webpage will be part of the local intranet with an address like rms.yourorganisation.com, optionally the webpage can also be made accessible from the internet outside your organisation (like our cloud service which is available at http://rms.rotronic.com/rms – request guest access to the demo system here). For the clients (end users) no special software or plugins are required just a standard web-browser.
More technically the RMS webservice is built around ASP.Net framework and runs under Windows IIS (internet information services). The webservice therefore requires a Windows Server (2008, 2012 or 2016). The RMS software can be run on a standard PC with IIS enabled but this is not usually advised except for specific applications.
A note on RMS hardware; All Rotronic hardware initiates communication with the webservice via port 80. For cloud applications this means only port 80 must be opened outbound to allow the devices to initiate outbound communications to the server. All gateways have standard IP configurations (DHCP or fixed).
2. SQL Database; The second part of the RMS is its database. All device, configuration, user and measured data is stored within a standard MS-SQL database. The database is accessed by the webservice to store and read data as required. An existing SQL server can be used if available otherwise SQL-Express is free to install.
More technically the RMS database requires Microsoft-SQL Express or higher, the database can be on the same server as the webservice or a separate machine.
As RMS is built around standard server based systems, there is full support for load balancing and failover, as such should a webserver or sql server fail a redundant/spare can take over. This is standard procedure for larger IT systems.
Some other technical points about RMS.
- Supports LDAP (so you can use windows login and password)
- No personal data stored outside SQL database (hardware only stores unique serial code, date, time and measured values – as such no private data passes between hardware and software).
- Webpage data is binary coded and authentication uses AES128 encryption.
- Key exchange uses diffie-hellman key alogrithm.
- 3rd party data / device support is possible via RESTful API or direct interaction with SQL database.
An overview of the RMS communication can be seen here.
For many projects clearly we go much deeper but hopefully this provides an overview. Our experience to date has shown that RMS is closely inline with what our clients expect in terms of operations and security. Further developments are always underway, lead by our customers and their requirements.
Please contact us if you wish to discuss a project or gather further information.
Dr Jeremy Wingate