Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Exploring TOP Server's Out-of-the-Box Security Features

10 min read

By Kyle Persyn on Nov 16, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Whether you're running a production system in manufacturing, oil and gas, building automation, or energy, safety and uptime are of the utmost importance, especially with cybersecurity attacks increasing in frequency and complexity.

That’s why when running an application with widespread user access, managing user permissions and configurations is so important, and you need a solution that is as security centric as you are. In this blog post, we delve into how to manage user groups and permissions inside the TOP Server’s User Manager and Security Policies Plug-In to ensure a robust and secure gateway to your TOP Server Configuration.

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TOP Server Troubleshooting Scenario: Device Side Communication Issue

17 min read

By Nicole Knox on Oct 26, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Your operations visibility relies on real-time data from machinery, systems, and field devices. When there are communications issues resulting in loss of or inaccurate data, addressing issues promptly is critical. Whether it's stale, poor quality, or missing data in your SCADA or HMI application, a well-defined troubleshooting procedure is a must. Like all our products, the TOP Server OPC Server offers an arsenal of tools to inform you about what is happening and streamline your troubleshooting process, summarized in our previous blog post, Minimize Downtime with TOP Server Troubleshooting Tools.

In this post, we'll take a deep dive into some of those tools, with an emphasis on the device connection side of TOP Server, teaching you a step-by-step process to pinpoint communication issues at their source. While this specific example uses the Modbus Ethernet Driver and an OPC DA Client connection, the same principles can be applied when troubleshooting various other scenarios.

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Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for GE Ethernet Controllers

1 min read

By Lauren Conrad on Oct 19, 2023 2:00:00 PM

The GE Ethernet family of PLCs and PACs is one of the most popular controllers across many automated industries. If you're reading this, you likely have at least one GE Ethernet controller being used in your industrial process and need to integrate data from that process.

The TOP Server GE Ethernet driver supports data access from devices using the GE SRTP Ethernet Protocol, including Series 90-30, Series 90-70, Horner OCS (Horner's Operator Control Stations), PACSystems RX3i and RX7i, and the VersaMax Family, as well as an expanded range of GE PLCs through the open device model selection within the driver.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to get started using our GE Ethernet driver to connect and gather real-time process data from GE controllers for HMI, SCADA, MES and other client applications.

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Revisiting TOP Server Redundancy with Communication Paths

7 min read

By Jessica Dillon on Aug 31, 2023 2:00:00 PM

In a prior blog post regarding redundancy, we learned how critical it is to plan for redundancy in the Industrial Automation space. We covered how the TOP Server Media-Level Redundancy Plug-In  facilitates duplicate or backup systems used to maintain reliable communications with the critical components in your environment which in turn minimizes data loss and increases the availability of your critical industrial data.

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Tech Support Corner: Flexible Options for Tag Management in TOP Server

10 min read

By Haley Waddell on Aug 17, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Tags, nodes, points, items, symbols – in our industry, we often see these terms thrown around, but in most instances, we’re all talking about the same thing. From the TOP Server OPC Server's perspective, we refer to them as tags. A tag is an OPC Server software application’s representation of a device address to use for communication. This is how your HMI, SCADA, MES, historian, or other client application is able to consume data. If you’re a TOP Server user, you know that you are required to configure tags to get data from your device, but did you know there are multiple options of how to accomplish this?

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Tech Support Corner: Making TOP Server Config Changes While Active

2 min read

By John Gonzalez on Aug 3, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Have you ever wondered why certain features in TOP Server work the way you experience them, or how something might work in certain scenarios?  Well this blog post tries to answer a few of those type of questions!

Anyone that has used TOP Server before has had to make edits to the configuration. While TOP Server allows changes to many settings while actively collecting and serving data, and makes it simple, there are things to consider to avoid disrupting operations. TOP Server has certain restrictions in place when making configuration changes, and while potentially frustrating, these are for your benefit and security. For example, perhaps you have tried to make a certain change, but observed that the setting immediately changes back and “doesn’t stick”. Or maybe you’ve logged onto your machine and were unable to make any configuration changes at all. Why is that?

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Insuring Data Availability with the TOP Server Redundancy Plug-In

6 min read

By Jessica Dillon on Jun 29, 2023 2:00:00 PM

The engineering definition of redundancy is “the inclusion of extra components which are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components.” In the Industrial Automation space, redundancy is critical. Not planning for redundancy can easily result in vulnerability to financial losses due to unexpected downtime. There are multiple types of redundancy in the industry. In this blog, we will be covering “Media-Level Redundancy”.

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Tech Support Corner: Three Ways to Mass Create TOP Server Static Tags

8 min read

By Ganesh Kalipershad on Mar 23, 2023 2:00:00 PM

It's common for members of the Software Toolbox Technical Team to encounter instances where users need to configure thousands of static tags for the devices in their TOP Server projects. We have even supported implementations with over a million tags.

In such situations, it would be inefficient to manually add each individual tag to TOP Server. There are several better alternatives for adding large quantities of static tags to a TOP Server project: Automation Tag Generation (ATG), Bulk Tag Creation, and/or CSV Import/Export.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers what methods you have available to mass create large quantities of static TOP Server tags and how to use them for greater efficiency.

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