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Siemens and Aruba Collaborate to Bridge the OT-IT Divide

By Michael Tennefoss, VP of IoT and Strategic Partnerships, Aruba

The proliferation of connected industrial devices, Industry 4.0, and the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have moved in lockstep with corporate mandates to optimize operations, boost efficiency, better manage inventory, and enhance safety. Powered by insights from data analytics applications, and fueled by device data and contextual information like location and identity, these initiatives have generated an almost insatiable demand for high-availability, connected industrial devices.

The challenge is that connected devices are only useful when they‘re operating correctly, and the data they generate are trustworthy. These requirements demand data visibility and cybersecurity spanning from I/O to CEO, from manufacturing cells to business applications. Enabling enterprise-wide visibility and security mandates bridging the divide traditionally separating information technology (IT) networks that interconnect the enterprise, and operational technology (OT) that runs plants and factories.

IT and OT have different perspectives on operating practices and the meaning of trust. In the IT world, trust is associated with the provenance and security of data and devices. In the OT world, trust is equated with the reliability and resilience of systems that are often in place for decades. Both forms of trust are relevant to achieving enterprise-wide data visibility and cybersecurity, and realizing one without the other puts an enterprise at risk. So, the focus needs to be on bridging the trust divide and ensuring that the needs of both IT and OT can be satisfied.

Siemens and Aruba have partnered to realize that vision. Siemens brings over 30 years of experience in the fields of OT automation and communication technology, with services and infrastructure that can be customized and scaled to meet the needs of a wide range of industrial and manufacturing customers. As one of the world’s largest IT networking companies, Aruba brings unparalleled experience in high-reliability, secure mobility, LAN switching, SD branch, locationing, application assurance, and network management systems. Working in concert, Siemens and Aruba can together deliver the most secure, resilient, and insightful integrated OT and IT systems available.

Siemens’ OT solutions include the Scalance, Ruggedcom, Simatic, and MindSphere product portfolios. The Scalance product family includes industrial Ethernet switches, modems/routers, security appliances, and deterministic wireless systems. Ruggedcom communication networks are designed for harsh temperature and electromagnetic environments and include Layer 2 and 3 Ethernet switches, media converters, servers, routers, deterministic wireless systems, WAN radios, and modems. The Simatic RTLS Real-Time Locating System tracks mobile robots and self-navigating transport systems, while Simatic RFID systems track assets through production and the supply chain. Finally, MindSphere is a cloud-based, open IoT operating system.

Aruba’s solution platform is built around seven building blocks, which together form its architecture for building trust-based IT and IoT networks for business-critical applications. The building blocks include connectivity and data collection, security, edge computing, location services, performance analytics, application assurance, and network management, diagnostics, and visibility.

Taking the Guesswork Out of OT/IT

Siemens and Aruba have taken the guesswork out of OT/IT deployments by validating interoperable operation across products, and documenting reference designs across a range of manufacturing, industrial, power generation, and transportation applications. As a result, systems should go in faster and work more reliably. An example integrated OT/IT system architecture follows below.

Siemens and Aruba Typical Reference Architecture

To ensure that deployed systems continue working at their best, Siemens and Aruba have also an established engineer-to-engineer escalation program so the best technical resources are available 24/7. Customers and resellers get faster answers and faster problem resolution.

Working in close collaboration, Siemens and Aruba have ensured that connected devices operate reliably, and that the data they communicate are trustworthy. Data visibility and cybersecurity now span from I/O to CEO, and customers can have confidence that their systems and data are trustworthy in every sense of that word.

In future blogs, we’ll explore our joint solution for IoT infrastructure and applications.

Related Content

Learn more about the Aruba and Siemens strategic partnership.

Infographic: State of IoT Industrial

Aruba’s IoT solutions