Software Toolbox Technical Blog

5 Key Considerations For Choosing Tunneling Solutions for Remote OPC

7 min read

By Win Worrall on Jul 16, 2020 2:00:00 PM


OPC continues to be the standard of choice for interoperability between software and hardware in the multi-vendor real world, with wide adoption of OPC DA Classic still in the majority compared to OPC UA. Accessing remote OPC Classic data sources (i.e. OPC clients and servers are on separate machines and, sometimes, even networks) can be challenging due to a reliance on Microsoft DCOM technology for security and authentication on remote OPC connections.

Anyone who has ever heard of or dealt with configuring DCOM security for remote OPC connections knows it has its challenges.  The good news is that there is an alternative to DCOM for remote OPC Classic connectivity - a solution referred to as OPC tunneling.  In the blog post, we'll discuss five of the key considerations to remember as you're evaluating the best OPC tunneling solution for your projects.

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Tech Support Corner: DCOM Resources for Easier Troubleshooting

5 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 9, 2020 2:00:00 PM

DCOM security and its headaches continue to be a popular support topic - our DCOM tutorial videos consistently receive the most visits each month.  Speak to any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation space and they always have their own horror stories about fighting the woes of DCOM.

In our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post provides you with a high-level review of the troubleshooting resources we make available to our users including a DCOM companion checklist that can be used with our DCOM tutorials.

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Tech Support Corner: DCOM Horror Story - Part 2 - Locked Out With No Key

5 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on May 30, 2019 2:00:00 PM

DCOM Security and the headaches it tends to create are undoubtedly familiar to any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation industry. Stories about experienced DCOM woes are just part of the territory.

In this second part of a "DCOM Horror Stories" sidebar to our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers a DCOM user scenario where the user was a little too thorough in locking down their DCOM configuration, resulting in a locked out system. And it includes a reminder of options that help you avoid DCOM configuration altogether.

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Tech Support Corner: DCOM Horror Story - Part 1 - When Cortana Loses Her Voice

6 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on May 16, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation industry has almost certainly had their interactions with Windows DCOM security.  And most, if not all, are stories that we all shake our heads at and nod in understanding of the difficulties of traversing the pitfalls of DCOM security configuration.

In this first part of a "DCOM Horror Stories" sidebar to our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers a DCOM user scenario involving the Microsoft Windows Cortana search capabilities being sidelined by DCOM security misconfiguration. Additionally, it covers what options are out there for avoiding DCOM entirely for situations like this.

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OPC Connectivity & Security Concerns in IT/OT Convergence

6 min read

By John Weber on Dec 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM


Complications of Domains, Workgroups, & Mixed Windows Versions & Solutions

In the Operations Technology or OT world that most of our users live in, it’s normal to have multiple versions of Windows and systems that may not always be setup consistently but we have to make it all work anyway.   Connecting OPC clients and servers when the Windows computers are not on the same version, not in an Active Directory or, using older terminology, a domain, and having everything work well takes skill, and keeping it secure involves a lot of details.

In this blog post, our team asked me to explore with you the details involved to assist you with better understanding Windows Security and to converse more productively with your IT Team.  I’ll also share how you can learn more about how to make things easier on yourself through the use of OPC UA or with Tunneling.

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How Redundancy Can Define Success or Failure in a Control System

3 min read

By Win Worrall on Jul 12, 2016 2:01:29 PM


This is Part 9 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  Will a tunneler support redundant tunnel paths?

Redundancy is typically a more complex topic than it might sound especially if your automation control architecture is extensive and has multiple layers.  Redundancy has different meanings to different people for different applications.

This blog post will outline reasons why it's important for an OPC tunneling solution to support redundant paths for applications where it is essential minimize the risks of failure when transferring your control data and what questions to ask.

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Reasons a Configurable TCP Port is Important for OPC Tunneling

2 min read

By Win Worrall on Jun 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM


This is Part 8 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunnel” series.  What flexibility is there in how ports are configured?

Depending on your level of knowledge regarding OPC tunneling solutions, you may or may not be aware of how a tunneler uses TCP ports for transferring data between machines.  Your IT department likely gives you plenty of trouble whenever you mention needing to open a TCP port.  And with good reason - cyber attacks frequently exploit commonly used TCP ports.

This blog post will outline three top reasons why it's important for an OPC tunneling solution to support fully configurable TCP ports for transferring your data.

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Reasons why DCOM across Windows versions is a nightmare

2 min read

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.

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