Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Tech Support Corner: Understanding TOP Server Channel & Device Limits

4 min read

By Zachary Parham on Sep 8, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Our team often gets questions about the extent to which our products can be used. It’s important to differentiate between technical versus practical limits when discussing what is and is not possible.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, I will be providing some insights into how many channels, devices, and tags it is technically possible to set up in TOP Server while also highlighting some practical rules of thumb to observe to ensure the best performance.

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Tech Support Corner: Using TOP Server Simulated Device Mode

9 min read

By Connor Mason on Sep 1, 2022 2:00:00 PM


If you're a TOP Server user, you're likely accustomed to connecting to a device configured in TOP Server that is sending real-time data through one of its many available drivers. But did you know you can setup devices in a "Simulated" mode for a variety of client testing purposes when a live device isn't available?

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers how the "Simulated" device property works, why you might implement it into your testing and a brief walkthrough on connecting a variety of client applications to a simulated device in TOP Server.

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Video Tutorial: Using DataHub Advanced MQTT Parsing

4 min read

By Win Worrall on Aug 25, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Cogent DataHub® is a gateway that enables a wide range of connectivity interfaces for different data sources such as OPC UA, OPC DA, ODBC, DDE and so much more.  Included in those available interfaces is the ability to act as both an MQTT client and broker even including Sparkplug B support for enabling MQTT integration with many other types of systems that don't natively support MQTT.

A key facet of the MQTT specification that can sometimes be complex for our users and cause issues with compatibility between DataHub and other MQTT clients and brokers is how to handle the formatting of MQTT messages. As you may or may not know, while MQTT does specify how to construct a message header for routing by an MQTT broker, it does NOT specify the actual message content. This tends to be a challenge when MQTT clients from different developers need to work together, since they need to be using the same format for the message content.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to use DataHub V10's Advanced MQTT Parser capability to specify flexible formats that will work with virtually any other vendor's MQTT clients and brokers.

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AVEVA System Platform to TOP Server via OPC UA Expands Connectivity

23 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Aug 18, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Many AVEVA users are probably already aware of the native connectivity options they have for interfacing with different systems. Many AVEVA users have also turned to TOP Server over the years, both for standardizing device connectivity in a single server and for drivers/protocols not available as native AVEVA options.

Those users of AVEVA System Platform have traditionally connected to TOP Server directly via either its native SuiteLink interface or OPC DA Classic. AVEVA's OI Gateway provides those users the additional option of connecting to OPC UA data sources, for easier and more secure remote connections to such data sources.

In this blog post, we will cover the basic steps to connect AVEVA System Platform to TOP Server via OPC UA, expanding device connectivity options for AVEVA users.

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Tech Support Corner: Understanding TOP Server Device Scan Modes

7 min read

By Jessica Dillon on Aug 11, 2022 2:00:00 PM


If you are reading this post, chances are you have configured your TOP Server project and are communicating with your devices successfully. Perhaps, you also have a client application successfully writing and/or reading to or from TOP Server. Did you know all TOP Server drivers provide several different Scan Modes for controlling how client requests affect the polling frequency for your configured devices? In fact, these Scan Modes apply to all client connection types including OPC UA, OPC DA and AVEVA SuiteLink.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this short post will discuss the five Scan Mode options available in the TOP Server Device Properties. Each Scan Mode serves a different purpose depending on your specific scenario. We will explain each mode, giving you a better understanding of which mode is best for your situation. Correctly setting the Scan Mode to match the capabilities of your device will help to provide optimal performance for your automation system.

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AVEVA System Platform to OmniServer via OPC UA for Non-PLC Devices

18 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Aug 4, 2022 2:00:00 PM


AVEVA users already have a wide range of connectivity options for interfacing with different systems. For many years, OmniServer has been expanding that connectivity to include non-standard, non-PLC type devices that don't have an existing off-the-shelf communications driver. Users of AVEVA System Platform have traditionally connected to OmniServer via either the native SuiteLink interface or OPC DA Classic. AVEVA's OI Gateway provides those users the additional option of connecting to OPC UA data sources, for easier and more secure remote connections to such data sources.

In this blog post, we will cover the basic steps to connect AVEVA System Platform to OmniServer via OPC UA, expanding non-standard device connectivity options for AVEVA users.

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AVEVA System Platform to DataHub via OPC UA for Expanded Connectivity

15 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jul 28, 2022 2:00:00 PM


AVEVA users already have a wide range of connectivity options for interfacing with different systems. Cogent DataHub® also supports an extensive selection of connectivity to different systems that users sometimes need to access from AVEVA System Platform. Users of AVEVA System Platform have traditionally connected to DataHub via OPC DA Classic. AVEVA's OI Gateway provides those users the additional option of connecting to OPC UA data sources, for easier and more secure remote connections to such data sources.

In this blog post, we will cover the basic steps to connect AVEVA System Platform to Cogent DataHub via OPC UA, expanding connectivity options for AVEVA users.

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Enabling Rapid Interoperability Between OPC UA & MQTT Sparkplug B

5 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jul 21, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Ongoing digital transformation and operational visibility initiatives continue to demand the integration of different systems using different technologies. With increased adoption of secure OPC UA and MQTT Sparkplug B, it’s only to be expected that users will have systems that support one or the other technology but need to communicate with each other.

Although OPC UA supports a publish-subscribe mechanism with OPC UA PubSub, and adoption of OPC UA is strong and growing, the reality is there will be situations where the user is already using MQTT Sparkplug B and needs to integrate it with OPC UA or vice-versa, without writing custom code or going through complex configuration.

Software Toolbox was founded 26 years ago on the principal of making data and device integration easy by using configurable off-the-shelf software to avoiding writing custom solutions and knowing the pros and cons of and ins and outs of many technologies. That mission remains strong, as you’ll see, as we discuss interoperating between OPC UA and MQTT in this blog post.

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