What's new in Reliance 4.8.0

June 12, 2018 | Reliance SCADA

The previous official version of the Reliance SCADA/HMI system (version 4.7.3) was released in March 2017. After 15 months, a new version is out with many new features and enhancements. As a result of the massive changes, we decided to release it as 4.8.0 instead of the planned version number 4.7.4. The major changes are summarized below.

Chapters

Arrow Improved security level

Arrow Better performance and reliability

Arrow OPC UA client and server

Arrow New components: Progress Wheel, AMiT – Time Program, Wago – Time Program

Arrow New objects in managers: Axes in the Trend Manager, user roles

Arrow Text replacement of properties in managers

Arrow IoT

Arrow New supported types of devices and drivers




Improved security level

Security requirements for information systems have been increasing lately. For control systems and SCADA applications, the criteria are very strict. Each function that increases security is therefore of very high priority when developing the Reliance system.


In version 4.8.0, the new features related to security are mainly enhancements to the individual Reliance modules:


  • All Reliance executable files are now signed with a certificate from a trusted certificate authority, the signature includes a time stamp.
  • We have improved the protection of projects against unauthorized modification.
  • We have improved the encryption of data transferred between the modules.
  • Storing user passwords is now more secure.
  • We have maximized the use of the latest tools of modern Web browsers to provide the highest possible security level for Reliance's data servers, Web pages, and thin clients.

In the new version, there are also many improvements, new features and possibilities that allow configuring a project's settings so that the demanding security requirements of end users can be met:


  • The possibility to easily set the required password strength, to set the maximum age of the password, and to require changing the password when logging on for the first time
  • User roles allow easily setting rights to user groups
  • The possibility to secure some project functions with access rights or to disable them
  • Integrated basic protection against DoS attacks
  • Other insecure functions can now be detected through Reliance Design's project diagnostics
  • A warning is shown at runtime software startup if a security issue is detected

Note: In the new version, there are a large number of other changes that increase the level of security. To maintain the protection of existing applications, we can't disclose details.


Important: In connection with the above-mentioned changes, we also had to change the format of some project files. When opening a project created or changed with an older version of Reliance, the user is prompted to convert the project to a newer version. You have to realize that you won't be able to open the project in older versions of Reliance after it is converted. For this reason, you should back up the project before the conversion.


We strongly recommend that you upgrade your existing projects to version 4.8.0!




Better performance and reliability

There have been a number of Reliance installations for complex and critical applications in recent years. These applications are often extreme in many ways:


  • A large number of devices and tags
  • A large number of alarms/events
  • A large number of clients (both runtime software modules and thin clients)
  • A large amount of historical data
  • Strict reliability requirements

During the development of version 4.8.0, we focused on optimizing the performance of Reliance's modules for complex applications. This includes:


  • Accelerating time-consuming operations as much as possible
  • Performing operations in the background
  • Minimizing system resource requirements (e.g., memory usage)

In addition to the runtime software, communication drivers, and thin clients, the performance of Reliance Design has also been improved. We have significantly accelerated exporting a project for remote users and performing project diagnostics. The reliability and accessibility of applications is a matter of course. Beginning with version 4.8.0, there is a separate process monitoring the runtime software. This process responds to any issues detected in the runtime software.


If you have a complex project created with an older version of Reliance, upgrade to version 4.8.0. You will know right away that the performance and reliability of your application are better.




OPC UA client and server

OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a communication protocol for industrial automation developed by the OPC Foundation. Recently, this standard has become increasingly widespread. It is much more advanced compared to its predecessor, OPC. Suppliers of OPC servers are gradually leaving traditional OPC for OPC UA. From the point of view of Reliance, OPC UA has the following advantages:


  • Platform independence (OPC, which is based on data exchange through COM, is dependent on Windows); an OPC UA server can be a direct part of a PLC (in such a case, there is no need to have any communication driver or OPC server installed on the computer)
  • Data exchange between multiple computers is easy to configure (DCOM, which is used in OPC, does no longer need to be configured); for communication, common data-exchange standards are used: TCP/IP, HTTP(S), and SOAP
  • Data encryption

Reliance 4.8.0 acts as an OPC UA client. This means it can connect to an OPC UA server on a local computer, on a remote computer, or in a PLC. What is more, Reliance 4.8.0 also acts as an OPC UA server! It can provide data (tag values) to OPC UA clients (e.g., other SCADA systems).


Logging on to Reliance OPC UA Server

Logging on to Reliance OPC UA Server


Reliance OPC UA Server – Monitoring Client

Reliance OPC UA Server – Session Information


Reliance OPC UA Server – Configuration

Reliance OPC UA Server – Configuration


Reliance OPC UA Server – Address Space

Reliance OPC UA Server – Address Space



New components


» Progress Wheel

This component is a modern progress bar in the shape of a circle. It has a wide range of settings – its range can be both static and dynamic, it allows displaying limits, segments, and a color gradient.


Progress Wheel

Progress Wheel



» AMiT – Time Program

This component allows configuring the properties of a time program in AMiT devices. The time program's data is stored in two tags – Times matrix and Values matrix. The Times matrix tag must be of type Array of LongInt while the Values matrix tag can be of type Array of SmallInt, Array of LongInt, or Array of Float.


AMiT – Time Program

AMiT – Time Program



» Wago – Time Program

This component allows configuring the properties of a time program in Wago devices. It works with tags of type DataBlock (29 bytes).


Wago – Time Program

Wago – Time Program


WAGO – Time Program

Wago – Time Program



New objects in managers


» Axes in the Trend Manager

Until now, Reliance's historical trends have been able to display all series on a common vertical axis or to use a separate vertical axis for each series and customize it (e.g., by configuring its range or appearance). Maintaining a project that has multiple series with separate axes is very difficult. In version 4.8.0, however, this is much easier because you can create axes as separate objects. Each axis defined this way can be set as required (e.g., its range) and assigned to one or multiple series of one or multiple trends.


Trend Manager – Axes

Trend Manager – Axes


Trend Manager – Trend Chart Axes – Basic

Trend Manager – Trend Chart Axes – Basic



» User roles

In the User Manager, you can now define roles. A role can be understood as a group of access rights. For each user, you can choose whether to assign access rights directly (like before) or whether to assign them using roles. You can benefit from using roles when managing projects with users that have a similar (large) number of access rights. There is no need to assign all access rights to each user. Assigning one role (or multiple roles) will suffice. Any change to a role (to the list of access rights) will take effect for all users to whom this role is assigned.


User Manager, Roles, Reliance SCADA

User Manager – Roles


User Manager, Roles, Reliance SCADA

User Manager – Roles



Text replacement of properties in managers

The Replace Object Properties Wizard has been part of Reliance Design since version 4.1.5. So far, though, it has only been used for replacing the properties of visualization windows and components. Beginning with version 4.8.0, you can access this handy tool from all managers of the development environment (except the String Manager).


Replace Object Properties Wizzard

Replace Object Properties Wizard



Replace Object Properties Wizzard – Confirmation

Replace Object Properties Wizard



IoT

The IoT (Internet of Things) field is a dynamically growing market. It's good news that Reliance 4.8.0 can communicate with IoT devices. For this purpose, the system uses some new communication drivers. It has support for devices communicating via the LoRa, Sigfox, and MQTT standards.



New supported types of devices and drivers

The Reliance system is continuously enhanced with new communication capabilities (support for protocols and control systems). The following communication drivers have been added to version 4.8.0:


  • DNP3 (Distributed Network Protocol) – a driver intended for communication with telemetry systems communicating via this protocol.
  • SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) – a driver intended for communication with network elements (networking devices). Today, most network management tools are based on this protocol.
  • DLMS (Device Language Message Specification) – a communication driver intended for reading data from telemetry systems communicating via this protocol.
  • IoT (Internet of Things) – a communication driver that allows reading data from devices communicating via the LoRa and Sigfox networks.
  • MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) – a communication driver for modern home and industrial IoT systems communicating via this protocol.

Some other new features and enhancements have already been published on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ and there are more to come.


Have you not found the feature you were looking forward to? The above are only some of the new features. The full change log is available on this page.



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