Architecture & Protocols

System Architecture

OpenData provides facility and data center managers with a cost-effective, vendor-neutral, and easy-to-integrate software platform that collects, normalizes and analyzes data from all of the power, cooling and mechanical equipment, including data from environmental management systems. This means facility operators don't have to kludge together various point solutions, or contend with different data formats or increments that add complexity to facility management.

  • OpenData Collectors - The OpenData platform supports an infinite number of software based “Collectors” that provide protocol interface support, not device drivers, for communicating to facility equipment, data center infrastructure and sensor arrays.  OpenData Collectors are very “lite” weight software processes that can be deployed on virtual machines, appliances, or any networked server.  In addition to data collection, the OpenData Collectors also provide data normalization, computed point generation and threshold violation detection at the edge of the network, significantly reducing network traffic and improving data collection efficiency.
  • OpenData Message Bus - The Collectors communicate with the OpenData Event Manager through the Message Bus using user-defined polling intervals. Typically, 100 bytes of data per data point is transferred over the OpenData Message Bus with reporting intervals ranging from 1 minute (default) to 15 minutes depending on how frequently the data points change.  The data transfer on the OpenData Message Buss is encrypted for additional security.
  • OpenData Event Manager - The Event Manager is responsible for interpreting the data polled from the Collectors and taking appropriate actions.  In some cases the Collector will be monitoring device points for alarm conditions. When data point thresholds are exceeded, the Collector messages the Event Manager and triggers alarm notification workflows in the OpenData application.  The Event Manager is also responsible for updating the OpenData database with data from the Collectors.
  • OpenData Web Portal - All the OpenData functionality is accessible through a browser-based application portal.  The core functionality includes operational monitoring of devices, sensors, and facility infrastructure, intelligent alarm and alert escalation, data visualization and reporting, and application configuration and administration.

The following diagram illustrates how the components of the OpenData platform are architected to provide a highly-scalable solution for monitoring and managing facility infrastructure.

Protocols & Gateways

OpenData interoperates with most network equipment through its support of the essential communications protocols, including SNMP, Modbus, BACnet and wirelessHART. This enables OpenData to capture equipment performance data from all major device categories from any equipment vendor.

A brief summary of OpenData supported protocols is found below:

  • SNMP – Simple Network Messaging Protocol is used to control and monitor IP network devices and ancillary equipment such as routers, switches and servers.
  • MODBus – Machine to Machine industrial control protocol, commonly found in switching or single-variable sensor applications.
  • BACnet – Building automation standard for access control, heating/cooling, fire, and security.
  • WirelessHART - a wireless sensor networking technology based on the Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol (HART). Developed as a multi-vendor, interoperable wireless standard for the requirements of process field device networks.
  • EtherCAT - Ethernet for Control Automation Technology - is an Ethernet-based fieldbus system, invented by Beckhoff Automation. The protocol is suitable for both hard and soft real-time requirements in automation technology.
  • Mitsubishi (CC-Link IE) - CC-Link was originally developed by Mitsubishi and is a popular open-architecture, industrial network protocol in Japan and Asia. CC-Link is based on RS-485 and can connect with up to 64 nodes on the same network with speeds up to 10Mbps.

OpenData Serial Gateway
For equipment not accessible on the network, Modius provides a serial-to-network gateway (i.e., a data collector) to ensure that all equipment in the facility is fully monitored. OpenData also captures data from building and environmental management systems, thus enabling facility managers to leverage legacy systems.