The goal of minimizing downtime has been a priority for the manufacturing industry, really all industries, for some time now. However, recent technology shifts and the emergence of a booming IoT (Internet of Things) has moved downtime prevention from a goal to a business-critical need. The trend of moving from a “thick client” to a “thin client” is a great example of how a technological innovation put preventing downtime into the “essential” column. Instead of a traditional (thick) client-server setup, many businesses have moved to a centralized (thin) computing architecture.
For a manufacturing organization, a thin client setup could mean that handheld devices are now able to send inventory data directly to a central repository. Whereas previously, the data may have been input manually or via download once the inventory was completed. In addition to efficiency, this thin architecture is generating real-time data that allows the business to make production and materials decisions as the inventory is being taken.
Many manufacturing organizations have inadvertently created a patchwork system architecture in order to keep pace with the requirements of things like a thin client setup. These stacked systems can be difficult to maintain, upgrade and troubleshoot. John Fryer, Senior Director of Product Management at Stratus Technologies shares that he often sees organizations with, “three, four and sometimes five server implementations that provide redundancy schemes.”
Manufacturers leaning on outdated, stacked systems could very well find themselves left behind if they don’t modernize in order to keep pace with the explosive IoT. Gartner predicts that by 2020 the number of IoT devices will reach an astounding 50 billion. The need to maintain a system with zero downtime will continue to rise as the the existing network of physical devices grows.
To keep pace with emerging trends, and prepare for the IoT boom, many organizations are migrating to fault-tolerant servers. Fryer calls this type of server a, “failure prevention mechanism” because even if there is an issue, there will be no interruption to business critical applications.
To learn more about how current and emerging technology trends are shaping the manufacturing industry take a look at the webinar with John Fryer and Robert Landick, Vice President of CB Pacific.