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

Posted 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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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, DCOM, Technical Support, DCOM Horror Stories

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

Posted 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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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, DCOM, Technical Support, TOP Server, DCOM Horror Stories

Did You Know? OmniServer Supports CSV Import/Export

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 2, 2019 2:00:00 PM

OmniServer's main purpose is enabling connectivity without custom code for devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.  And OmniServer does that in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than writing custom code.

Furthering the goal of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, you may or may not be aware that OmniServer supports CSV import and export for speedy configuration of many things including topics, devices and, in the actual protocol itself, items, registers, topic variables and even messages.  On larger projects, this provides a substantial time savings.

In this post continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to use CSV import and export in OmniServer to facilitate faster configuration on larger protocol implementations.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Tech Support Corner: Defining a TOP Server Administrator Password

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Apr 25, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, you may or may not be aware of the built-in User Manager that allows you to define user roles and associated permissions when accessing your TOP Server configuration.  As security continues to be a key focus for many process industries, keeping your process communications secure is as important as ever.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers how TOP Server for Wonderware now prompts users to specify an Administrator password during the installation process to ensure your TOP Server is as secure as possible.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Technical Support, TOP Server

Tech Support Corner: Virtualization Best Practices for TOP Server for Wonderware

Posted by Kevin O'Connor on Apr 18, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're familiar with the term high availability, then you're also more than likely at least aware of virtualization environments such as VMWare and Hyper-V.  As computer hardware specifications have grown exponentially over the years, virtualization is more and more becoming the norm for hosting of automation control systems.

A common question that our support engineers at Software Toolbox receive from new and veteran TOP Server for Wonderware users alike is whether TOP Server supports virtual environments, which ones and what are the best practices.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers best practices with respect to using TOP Server for Wonderware in virtualization environments such as VMWare and Hyper-V.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support, Troubleshooting, Automation 101

Preview the Future of Non-Standard Protocol Creation

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Apr 11, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're familiar with OmniServer, you know that OmniServer is frequently used for accessing information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers either over serial connections or Ethernet connections.

With the advent of touchscreen technology and the increasing availability and familiarity with drag-and-drop functionality across computer systems and applications, we feel it is important to evolve the OmniServer user experience to be more inline with current technologies and user expectations regarding ease-of-use.

In this blog post, we will cover a visual protocol builder we've been working on for OmniServer, showing you the key enhancements to the user experience that will make integrating your non-standard devices easier than ever.  And you'll be given the chance to request more information and consideration for our new beta program.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Tech Support Corner: "It has to work, I can ping it, right?"

Posted by Marc Holbach on Apr 4, 2019 2:00:00 PM

As you are probably aware, the Ping command is one of the most widely used diagnostics tool when troubleshooting communication issues on Ethernet networks. I would accredit this popularity to the fact that everyone knows how to use the command, it's extremely simple to execute, and the results are not really open to interpretation (i.e. it either works or it doesn’t); or are they?

When troubleshooting communication issues, the most common line we hear when something isn’t working is “but I can ping it” as if this alone should serve as definitive proof that everything is working as expected and the communications server is choosing to not communicate.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers some common misconceptions about the Ping command, particularly how it can be used efficiently, and when it may not be the best tool for the task, as well as, better alternatives to Ping that actually provide actionable data.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support, Troubleshooting, Automation 101

Tech Support Corner: Did You Know about TOP Server Language Support for German, Chinese and Japanese?

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Mar 28, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Our technical support engineers at Software Toolbox work with users like you from around the globe to keep their TOP Server for Wonderware implementations running with the highest performance and reliability possible.  Yet, many engineers pride themselves on their ability to self-help, as well.

To that end, in a continuance of our "Tech Support Corner" blog series, I'd like to review TOP Server localized language support for German, Japanese and Chinese that is included with TOP Server.  For our users whose primary language is not English living in regions speaking one of the supported localized languages, I'll show you how to take advantage of this support to enhance your overall user experience and self-help journey.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Technical Support

Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for Omron FINS Ethernet

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Mar 21, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're reading this, you likely have at least one Omron PLC being used in your industrial process and need to integrate data from that process.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to get started using our Omron FINS Ethernet driver to connect and gather real-time process data from Omron FINS Etheret PLCs for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, TOP Server, Video Tutorials, Omron

Tech Support Corner: Why You Need Your TOP Server Emergency ID

Posted by Kevin O'Connor on Mar 14, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, when you ordered your license, you've always received a serial number, a Permanent Activation ID and an Emergency Activation ID.  But what is your Emergency Activation ID used for, exactly?

Continuing our “Tech Support Corner” blog post series, this blog post covers why your TOP Server Emergency Activation ID is important, how to use it and what to do when you need to then re-register your permanent activation.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support, TOP Server

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Working in industrial automation since 1996, the Software Toolbox team has seen a lot. The level of automation system sophistication of our integrators and users has evolved, each driven by the demands of their market and clients.  Everyone's learning continues as technological change accelerates.

This blog is about sharing from these journeys.  From tips on implementing software, successes our clients have experienced, or new ideas and things to consider in your journey, we'll be sharing them here.

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