Reasons why DCOM across Windows versions is a nightmare

Posted by Win Worrall on Jun 7, 2016 4:19:49 PM

This is Part 7 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  How does the OPC tunneling solution work in a mixed Windows OS environment.

If you have ever used DCOM between two different varieties of Windows operating system (Windows 7 and Windows XP, for instance) you already know how painful it can be to configure DCOM.  DCOM configuration is never a walk in the park but the frustration multiplies when the operating system isn't the same on both machines.

This blog post will outline one of the easiest methods to avoid the problems of configuring DCOM when the operating systems do not match.

Many Different Versions of WindowsDCOM is painful even when both operating systems are the same version but can be nearly impossible if the versions are different.  Typically, the worst problem is when one version is running Windows XP or older and the other is running Window 7 and newer.  This is because the need for tighter security has caused Microsoft to change and continually update their security methods, making older OS interoperability more challenging, especially for DCOM users.

Many OPC users have wasted days of valuable time and resources trying to configure DCOM in this type of system architecture.  Instead of using DCOM you can simply install an OPC tunnel on both computers.

Since OPC tunneling does not rely on DCOM, there's really only one main consideration when evaluating an OPC tunnel solution for this purpose:

  • Is the tunneling software supported across the variety of operating systems you need to connect?

For the systems being connected, determine the operating systems that are either currently installed or that will be installed (if upgrades are being considered).  The OPC tunnel vendor should have thorough OS compatibility for their software either on their website or in the documentation (or both).

You were expecting a long list of considerations, right?  That's simply how straightforward OPC tunneling makes remote connectivity when compared with remote DCOM.  Tunneling takes the uncertainty and guesswork out of connecting two machines while still providing reliable, secure data transfer.

Just think about the last time you had to configure DCOM and how long it took you.  Now, how much do you get paid per hour?  And what other tasks weren't getting done while you were tied up configuring DCOM?  That's how much NOT using an OPC tunnel in these situations is costing your organization.

Before purchasing a tunneler, make sure it is supported on all of the Windows operating systems you are or will be using.  To reiterate from our other posts, choosing an effective tunneler that takes into account your application requirements will make a big difference in your operational effectiveness, resiliency, and profitability. Learn about the other reasons in the free whitepaper “25 Considerations when choosing a tunneling solution”.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, DataHub

Win Worrall

Written by Win Worrall

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