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3 simple steps to start

a smooth migration
from OPC Classic

Many users of OPC Classic are

OPC UA represents an expansion and

starting to ask themselves how

improvement of the standards for data

and when they should begin the

connectivity previously established

migration to the new OPC Unified

by OPC Classic. But, what does this

Architecture (UA). They are also

mean for businesses that still use OPC

wondering where to begin with

Classic, and most importantly, how can

the integration of OPC UA enabled

they be sure and protect their existing

Industrie 4.0 solutions with their

investments in OPC Classic? The easy

existing OPC Classic components.

answer is find a mature OPC UA vendor

These are fair questions, so we are

like Matrikon that can provide an end

going to share some best practices

to end solution that includes a UA

that should help you manage the

Wrapper and UA Proxy that will allow

transition to OPC UA

legacy systems to expose and consume

classic data in the newer UA address


Started with IIoT using OPC UA

space format.


Before we go further, lets discuss some of the many improvements and added features
OPC UA provides above and beyond OPC Classic. Please note: This is by no means and
exhaustive list or complete comparison.

OPC Classic limitations


The most widespread specifications of the classical

OPC standard includes: OPC DA for the transmission
of real-time data, OPC HDA for the communication
of run data (or historical data), and OPC A&E, with
which alarms and events can be communicated. In
order to guarantee interoperability today, a separate
OPC server is needed for each device in the process
industry. The use of multiple OPC servers to connect
all devices and applications may, however, lead to the
internal communication structures becoming unclear
and difficult to manage.
These OPC variations are based on a couple
communication protocols from the Microsoft:
Component Object Model (COM) and Distributed
Component Object Model (DCOM). All control systems,
machine interfaces, and automation applications that
are based on the Windows platform can exchange data
smoothly with OPC Classic. Programmers are able
to quickly realize interface implementations thanks
to these close connections with Microsofts objectoriented COM and DCOM technologies, but these close
connections come at the expense of the flexibility and
expandability of interfaces. What we now refer to as
OPC Classic is still a tried and true solution, and surely
will be around for some time to come.

Unified Communication
OPC UA represents a major step forward for OEM
Device Manufactures developing the next generation
of Automation solutions. Developers are able to
exchange rich data securely, with even greater levels of
interoperability, while enhancing security and providing
new levels of value and performance. OPC UA is
platform independent, and expands on the standard
functionality of OPC Classic, while also resolving the
difficulties associated OPC Classic in terms of security,
platform dependence, and DCOM issues.
Because of its service-oriented architecture (SOA), OPC
UA can easily implement all established specifications
such as OPC DA, OPC HDA, and OPC A&E. This occurs
independent of the Microsoft DCOM technology, which
is replaced by an open, platform independent protocol
complete with integrated security mechanisms, and
adding an IIoT friendly informational model. This
provides a reliable connection between the company
management level to devices in the field that may use
different Windows and non-Windows operating systems.
With OPC UA, complex data structures and multilayered
processes can be easily modeled and connected to one

The OPC UA security concept is based on current Internet standards

and includes the possibility of user authentication, signing of
messages, and encryption of user data. OPC UA supports a specially
developed TCP-based OPC UA binary protocol for the exchange of
data over the Internet and efficiently through firewalls. In addition,
any message can be forwarded via an HTTP or any other port.
Furthermore, OPC UA supports configurable timeouts, automatic error
detection, and recovery mechanisms. It is comprehensively equipped
to prevent data loss and to do well in secure high-availability systems.

Benefits of OPC UA:


Unifies all specifications

Platform independence
Communication reliability
Enhanced performance
Vertical integration

Migration paths
It is clear that switching to OPC UA is worthwhile, and for those developing tomorrows
next generation devices its a necessity. OPC Classic simply cannot address the requirements of Industrie 4.0 or the latest IIoT initiatives. It is safe to assume that OPC UA will
one day replace OPC Classic. An immediate switch to OPC UA, however, is not always
necessarily required for every business. With the right tools and careful planning the migration process becomes clear.

Step 1

Be sure that all your legacy

proprietary protocols are future
Complete migration refers to replacing OPC
Classic via a comprehensive switch to OPC UA.
To that end, you need to keep the 3rd party data
always accessible using an open standard that
enables reliable communication between industrial
HMIs, applications and devices. Matrikon has a
wide range of OPC Servers that support open
connectivity to communicate with multiple units,
protocols, and APIs regardless of the vendor. With
this, users achieve secure connectivity with all
established management systems and applications
via OPC Classic.



Legacy Infrastructure

Step 2

Start with partial migration:

OPC UA has been designed to remain adaptable for the future and to support legacy
implementations. In the intermediate phase, it will still be possible to use DCOM based OPC
products together with UA products.
Users can still run a variety of products from their current favorite manufacturers. This allows
for a soft migration where users retain OPC Classic data sources and integrate OPC UA in
future devices according to their needs and capabilities. Devices using OPC Classic cannot
communicate with OPC UA on their own. For these instances, we would use a wrapper to
provide a partial solution for handling communication between existing classical OPC Servers
and OPC UA Clients. These UA wrappers will establish a connection from OPC Classic to OPC
UA and vice-versa. The introduction of wrappers are only recommended in a few complex
environments, as each OPC server must be individually evaluated.








Server for UA Wrapper

OPC Server

OPC Server

OPC Server

OPC Server

OPC Server

OPC Server


Enabling OPC UA connectivity

across products and platforms:
The continued demand for open and secure connectivity
between devices (machine-to-machine or M2M) and
edge to cloud solutions, along with the continued

Tomorrow Infrastructure

Step 3


Industrie 4.0, make it necessary to have a single fully

scalable toolkit to allow users to quickly and easily
interconnect industrial software systems, regardless
of platform, operating system, or size. The Matrikon
OPC UA Software Development Kit (SDK), provides a
fully scalable solution that delivers on high performance
(multithreaded, load balancing) and small memory

Phased Migration

adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and


The Matrikon OPC UA SDK was designed from the

ground up to make it easy for a developer to embed an
OPC UA server into a chip, device, and/or application.

Visit Matrikon OPC US SDK Web

Legacy Infrastructure

OPC Server

New Infrastructure

OPC UA Device

Be ready to migrate to OPC UA

We can help you

In order to ensure your OPC software is covered as you

prepare for a successful migration to OPC UA, MatrikonOPC
is prepared to further extend your Support Contract on
software orders placed before the end of September
With our industry leading, 24/7 support you receive:

24/7 troubleshooting assistance via phone and email

Software updates - both major and minor releases
Access to the online Knowledge Base
License transfers

Contact with your sales representative in your region.

Printed in Canada
Matrikon Inc. 2016



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