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Subject: RE: [oBIX-xml] RE: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases


Title: Message

>> In a homogeneous control network, there is no need for oBIX

 

 I think this misses something. oBIX is building controls to the Enterprise, which is different from Enterprise-wide Building Controls.  There is a wealth of enterprise interactions out there that require several salient features of oBIX whether or not the control network is homogenous.

 

1)       Abstraction: Can we give the Enterprise User, who is not a trained engineer, a cohesive, coherent dashboard on the controls world.

2)       Boxing: (or occlusion, or...) Can we hide functions that are entirely appropriate g for the maintenance guys, and for the integrators to do, but not appropriate for the Enterprise to do. I don't want the SAP accountants getting access to loop tuning.

3)       A preference for a common taxonomy across systems (this is similar to (1) but I wanted to say it aloud) - this should come out of the best practices.

 

 

If we accomplish 1-3 properly, than interoperability between heterogeneous controls will come automatically.  An advantage will be that boxing and abstraction will simplify inter-system integration, even if the two systems use the same protocols.

 

Tc

 


"The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil." -- Thomas Alva Edison

Toby Considine
Facilities Technology Office
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
   Email: Toby.Considine@fac.unc.edu
Phone: (919)962-9073
 

 


From: Jeremy Roberts [mailto:jeremy@lonmark.org]
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 11:19 AM
To: OBIX XML
Subject: RE: [obix-xml] RE: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases

 

Charles,

 

I think you've hit Levels 1 and 2 dead on.  However, the term "extension" used for Levels 3 and 4 may be slightly off:

 

It is the goal of oBIX to cover the interfaces to 3 and 4, but as a whole instead of as parts.  oBIX should cover the types of data (Level 2) and their general normalization, but it should also cover the Web Services -- which is how Levels 3 and 4 communicate with Level 2.  The actual HMIs and loggers at those upper levels is for developers of those platforms.  We will provide the Level-3 and -4 hooks those developers can use to access our Level-2 information.

 

As for firewalls: I suspect the IT experts know how to get the SOAP bubbles through in their individual installations.  I think you are right:  that "we (OBIX) don't need to concern ourselves with this issue."

 

Thank you for helping to clarify these issues because it's important that everyone have a unified view of the big picture.  Since I am not a part of the [obix-req] email list, perhaps you can forward this email thread to that list.  I think it's important for that list too.

 

Cheers,

Jeremy ROBERTS, LONMARK International

TEL:  +1-215-918-1026

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Watson, Charles D [mailto:CharlesDWatson@eaton.com]
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 10:41 AM
To: OBIX XML
Subject: RE: [obix-xml] RE: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases

 

Jeremy, I think we substantially agree. If I may summarize this e-mail chain:

 

Level 1 - No direct OBIX involvement

Level 2 - Main OBIX involvement

Level 3 - OBIX extension

Level 4 - OBIX extension

 

Is this correct in everyone's opinion?

 

The original reason this chain was started was to discuss the need to need for firewall traversal. In my opinion, we (OBIX) don't need to concern ourselves with this issue. It will be covered by others as long as we use standard XML web services to communicate data. The OBIX data will need to traverse firewalls in many systems to get from Level 2 systems to Level 3 and higher systems. Sorry I did not get this point out in my long e-mail below but it was necessary to get the levels defined before it could be discussed.

Thanks,
 
 
Charles Watson (Chuck) CEM CMVP
tel: 724-779-5937

http://www.eatonelectrical.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeremy Roberts [mailto:jeremy@lonmark.org]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 2:04 PM
To: OBIX XML
Subject: RE: [obix-xml] RE: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases

Charles,

 

I'm sorry for adding my 2 so late to your comments.  Travel is my pathetic excuse.

 

oBIX should be concerned with levels 2 through 4, as you have described them, below.  The reason for acting at level 2 is because at that level we have a transformation from the controls network to the IT-interfacing specification (oBIX).  Level 1 is handled entirely by the controls network of choice (be that BACnet, LonWorks, or any other installed device network).  To propose oBIX at the buildings-control level would mean modifying the massive installed base of controllers, actuators, and sensors that have benefited from such existing controls network.  Economics aside, for this group of people in oBIX to redefine installation methods, configuration methods, and general IT-like maintenance of the devices at the controls level would be far to daunting a task, and would be a reinvention of the wheel (with arguably something less robust that presently exists). 

 

The controls networks can reach as far as level 3 and 4 as well - and presently do.  However, in a campus containing level-1 controls networks comprising more than one protocol, there is no interoperability at levels 2 through 4 (or of course at level 1).  It is this case/reason that oBIX is needed:  In a homogeneous control network, there is no need for oBIX.

 

Level-two interfacing is the heart from which oBIX stems:  It allows for a BACnet system to feed information to a black box, and a LonWorks system to feed information to a different black box, where those two boxes then convert the information to an IT-palatable, web-services -based set of standardized "rules" (oBIX) to allow levels 3 and 4 to assimilate those data into their appropriate systems.  Icing on the cake is being able to share those same data between systems that play at levels 3 and 4 - with 4 being the primary field of high-level sharing.

 

Unless I have missed, or misinterpreted, something (which is always possible), this was and is the goal.

 

Best Regards,

Jeremy ROBERTS, Technical Director

LONMARK International - http://www.lonmark.org/

Main Technical Office - mailto:tech@lonmark.org

PO Box 268, Jamison PA 18929-0268, USA

Telephone: +1-215-918-1026, Fax: +1-215-918-1027

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Watson, Charles D [mailto:CharlesDWatson@eaton.com]
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 9:01 AM
To: obix-req@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases

This question depends on where OBIX fits in the system scheme. If my understanding of the OBIX scope from the last conference call is correct, we don't need to concern ourselves with firewall traversal.

 

However, I don't agree with the limited OBIX scope that was suggested on the conference call. I believe we need to go lower in the system which means we may require communication between remotely located devices communicating over the internet traversing firewalls. We don't need to layout the exact method of communication at this time because this standard has not even been 100% defined by the IT (MS and others) powers concerned. But I believe we can layout some high-end standards for data formats and minimum data content so that hardware and system manufactures have something to guide them.

 

Let me explain for the people who were not on the latest phone conference and to be clear I understood what was discussed on the phone. We had a short discussion pertaining to the different levels in a system and where OBIX should spend its time and resources.  The levels assigned here are my words, not what was discussed on the phone but I believe the group needs to formally define these levels.

 

Level 1: Communicating hardware devices: electrical meters, security and fire alarm system components, HVAC components, etc.

 

Level 2: The communicating gateway:  This device normally communicates with the level 1 devices, packages/transforms the data, and communicates it up to a central data logging system.

 

Level 3: Central logging and alarming system: Collects, monitors, alarms, and logs the data from the Level 2 systems and occasionally communicates with high-end level one systems directly. This level is usually the HMI or visual process control level of the system. The direct users of this system are still technical users who have some understanding of the underlying hardware systems. These users are usually concerned with how well and efficiently the system (HVAC, electrical, etc.) operates from a technical perspective. They communicate with the system in real time, know what is happening right now through direct interaction with the system and the lower levels of the system.

 

Level 4: Enterprise systems.  This is where the accountants, building managers, and general management interact with the system. These users usually have little understanding of the lower level components and usually are concerned only with how much it costs, not how it technically works. At this level, the communication is usually via reports or some real time viewer (dashboards) but not direct interaction.

 

Some of these levels are combined in one device or system but a single device rarely constitutes the entire system. So the format of communications between levels needs to be defined.  This is where OBIX needs to define the XML standards/guidelines in my opinion. During the phone call, it was stated that OBIX should only be concerned with the transfer of data at the higher end of this scheme: between levels 3 and 4. I don't agree.

 

Although we don't want to meticulously define the data interchange format between hardware devices (level 1) and the level 2 & 3 systems, we do want to define some standard of data content and some idea of its format. Otherwise, we will get to the level 3 systems and the data may require complex transformation to get the data into an acceptable format for the level 4 systems.  There could even be data pieces missing. If we start laying some data transfer standards/formats lower in the system, the data will already be practically in an acceptable format for the next level with minimal transformation

 

In summary, if you want high-quality data at the top, you need to collect high-quality, comprehensive data at the bottom. This means the rights pieces of data in the right format at the right time. The exact method of data transfer can be determined later.

 

Thanks,
 
 
Charles Watson (Chuck) CEM CMVP
tel: 724-779-5937

http://www.eatonelectrical.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Ransom [mailto:Doug.Ransom@pwrm.com]
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 6:38 PM
To: obix-req@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: [obix-req] Firewall traversal use cases

We have not had any use cases involving firewall traversal.  Is this an issue.





Doug Ransom
Energy Analytics Domain Expert
Power Measurement
2195 Keating Cross Road
Saanichton, BC, Canada  V8M 2A5
Tel: (250) 652-7100  ext. 7558
Fax: (250) 652-0411
E-Mail: mailto:doug.ransom@pwrm.com
Website: http://www.pwrm.com
 
ION  smart energy everywhere(tm)





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