The groov EPIC has always come pre-installed with Ignition Edge® by Inductive Automation® on board. Ignition Edge in the EPIC means you have OPC-UA drivers built in to communicate with other control systems (for example, Allen-Bradley and Siemens PLCs). It also means you can use MQTT/Sparkplug for more efficient and secure data communications.
But starting with groov EPIC firmware version 1.4.0 (released in August 2019), that changes—in a good way. You now have the option to choose which edition of Ignition you run on your Edge Programmable Industrial Controller—either Ignition Edge or full Ignition.
So, what are some of the features and benefits that come from running full Ignition on groov EPIC?
External access to the OPC-UA server. With Ignition Edge, the OPC-UA server is internal to groov EPIC. Connections to the server are available only from local applications like groov View and Node-RED, and external software cannot connect to the OPC-UA server. With full Ignition, external connections can be made to the server running on the EPIC. (If you use this feature, you’ll need a standard Ignition license and need to open the groov EPIC firewall port 4096 via groov Manage).
More Ignition modules. With Edge, only a subset of Ignition modules can be installed. But with full Ignition, a vast array of modules becomes available. One example of a powerful module that becomes an option is SQL-Bridge. This module is not available for the Edge edition, but on full Ignition, it opens a powerful opportunity for database connectivity. Other module options worth mentioning include reporting, text/email alarming, and all Sepasoft MES modules.
Scripting. Disabled in Edge, scripting is available in full Ignition.
Database support. Disabled in Edge, database support is enabled in full Ignition.
Here are a couple of things to closely monitor when you’re using full Ignition.
- CPU. It is possible to load up the EPIC such that performance starts to suffer. Be sure to keep an eye on the CPU status page in the Ignition Gateway or in groov Manage and ensure that Ignition is not using too many resources.
- RAM. The same amount of Random Access Memory is allocated for both Edge and Ignition, so be mindful of that. Again, the status page on the Ignition Gateway has a clear graph that will show you how much memory you use. Keep an eye on it as you roll out your application.
Choosing one Ignition edition over the other
How do you choose between Ignition Edge and full Ignition? It all comes down to how each best fits your application. For example, if you want connect to legacy PLCs from Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley, Siemens, Emerson ROCs, or Modbus systems, or need to migrate legacy infrastructure to MQTT and Sparkplug communications, then Ignition Edge is ready to go and very cost effective.
If you need full database connectivity, alarming, OEE downtime tracking, or heavier scripting, then full Ignition is just a mouse-click away.
Full Ignition can also help resolve the issues related to putting Windows PCs on the edge. By running Ignition on a Linux-based groov EPIC instead, you could ease the burden on your IT department and help trim costs.
How to get started
To select which version of Ignition you'd like to run on your groov EPIC, log in through the groov Manage home screen, click Ignition, and then scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll notice an Advanced option. Clicking here will allow you to choose between Ignition Edge and Ignition.
When you change editions, you'll need to stop and restart the Ignition Gateway from the groov Manage screen. If you’ve changed from Ignition Edge to Ignition, once you restart the Gateway, you’ll see that the green theme of the Ignition Edge web pages has been replaced with the traditional blue and orange of the full Ignition Gateway.
When you’re using full Ignition, keep two points firmly in mind:
- First, you will need a different license. The GROOV-LIC-EDGE only applies to the Ignition Edge edition. When you switch to full Ignition, you’ll need a new license, and it will work just as any traditional Ignition license does. Please contact our Pre-Sales team for details on full Ignition licenses.
- Second, with great power comes great responsibility. Pushing the limits of the full Ignition Gateway on an edge device would not be wise; but if you wield your power carefully, you can do great things.
This new option with groov EPIC firmware version 1.4 and higher means you can now pick which Ignition edition is right for your application. Look at the features and benefits, review your license costs, and make your choice.
And don’t forget: you can run either version in full feature mode for two hours at a time, so you can test each option fully before you decide.
Till next time. Cheers, Mate.