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Application of cloud infrastructure for purposes operational management of production

Automation of production processes is impossible without the use of specialized information systems (hereinafter IS). A characteristic feature of modern IS, used to automate production, is the use of interrelated databases, knowledge and tools that determine the properties and capabilities of a single enterprise IS.  The functioning of such IS s is provided by a corresponding complex of software and technical means, with different options for using them.  The most common are the following:

- equipment (computer facilities - further SVT) and software (hereinafter referred to as software) are located directly in the offices of the company (enterprise);

- The cloud infrastructure is used when calculations are performed remotely (cloud computing) on ​​the servers of the provider where the corresponding software is installed.

In the second case, the model of providing network access on demand to a configurable computing resource is used, which usually has the following properties (defined by NIST-USA):

 - On-demand self-service when a consumer without interaction with a service provider can determine and change parameters such as access speed, processing time, amount of stored data, etc .;

- Universal access through the network (it does not depend on the type of device / platform from which access is made);

- pooling resources, while the computing resources of the supplier can be used by several consumers together;

- elasticity, i.e. allocation and release of resources in automatic mode;

- consumption accounting, when the service provider automatically (according to certain criteria) estimates the volume of services provided to consumers.

The functionality of services using cloud computing is determined by such basic service models (Figure 1) as:

 IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) -infrastructure as a service;

 PaaS (Platform as a Service) -platform as a service;

 SaaS (Software as a Service) - software as a service.



From the user's point of view, the cloud-based SaaS model is the simplest, because unlike other models, the user uses the application software without his technical support - the customer receives only the application interface and the end result. As a result of the use of the SaaS model, the customer significantly reduces the initial costs of acquiring the software and the subsequent renewal of the license agreement, and also does not bear the cost of maintenance of software and hardware. The SaaS model allows a company employee to use computational resources through standard mechanisms for various platforms, thin and thick clients (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, workstations, etc.), thus providing mobile accessibility, which allows not to become attached to a workstation or a computer. The SaaS model provides access to the most advanced data processing technologies for a wide range of enterprises. Additionally, SaaS has such advantages as convenient payment through subscription, extensive customization options, etc. These key features and caused the popularity of the SaaS model around the world. According to consulting company Panorama Consulting Solutions, the number of respondents who chose the SaaS model in 2018 as compared to 2017 increased by 37% and now makes up 64% of all used IP deployment options (models) (Fig.2) . The number of respondents who chose local IP (in the offices of companies) decreased significantly from 67% in 2017 to 15% in 2018.  In the next 2-3 years (according to Pagely), 88% of enterprises plan to invest in SaaS technology. There is a growing trend when companies conduct business operations through smartphones.

In addition to the above advantages, it should be noted that the level of security of using software in the SaaS model is higher than in the case of local hosting.


 This is because the information security solutions designed to work on the SaaS model allow companies to obtain more current protection in comparison with on-premise systems (hosted by the enterprise) due to several factors:

 developers and users of the system receive more signatures, information about attacks and threats and other indicators of compromise due to the large amount of data for analysis;

 information about attacks and threats is updated in real time and this occurs in the centralized core of the SaaS product, i.e. actual and permanent updates are made, in contrast to on-premise solutions, which need time to receive and apply updates;

 The company quickly receives the most advanced technologies, especially when using cloud services for information security, or security as a SecaaS (Security as a Service) service - when security services are integrated into the customer's corporate infrastructure.

In this case, the cost of ownership of such technologies for enterprises is much lower in comparison with similar solutions designed for local systems due to the cloud architecture of solutions, payment for services by subscription and lack of capital costs. To manage and plan production in various types of business there are currently many foreign companies offering the SaaS model. For small businesses, the most popular solutions are: Realtrac, Sync, Adjutant, Blue Link ERP, Visco, Pilot ERP, Foundation 3000, WinFDS. In Russia, software products in the field of production planning and with the possibility of servicing by the SaaS model are mainly represented by CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems (for example, from 1C-Bitrix, Softline) or systems for managing production stocks for example, Replenishment + from company ABM Cloud).

In world at the current time, the tasks of operational planning (management) of production are very actual. This level of planning involves the use of complex optimization algorithms to calculate production schedules with a sampling time that can be several seconds. To achieve the required calculation speed, considerable computing resources are required, which can be organized in data centers (data centers) or data centers (from the English data center).

Modern data centers, forming the core of any IS, are able to provide an exceptionally high level of availability, reliability and data security in the operational planning of production. Often in the data center are built-in security mechanisms such as gateway screening, protection of communication channels (VPN / SSL VPN), intrusion prevention (IDS / IPS), segmentation of client networks, delineation and control of access to resources and other.  Consolidation of computing resources in the data center allows enterprises to reduce the total cost of information infrastructure by reducing administration costs and through more efficient use of technical means. There is a worldwide trend, when modern large corporations, holdings choose a network-centric model (Fig. 3) of building a corporate information system.



With this model, all data, services and applications of the company are stored and executed centrally in one data center. All these factors have ensured the recent growth in the world market of customers' interest in the services provided on the basis of the data center. One of the global trends in the development of the global data center market is the transition to infrastructure services IaaS, Paas and SaaS.

Currently, there is a shortage of IS proposals for the MES class in the world market, designed for operational management of production with the possibility of providing services on the SaaS model. One of such solutions in the Russian market is the C-MES: SaaS product, in which the opportunity to provide software as a service (using a data center) is implemented.

IS C-MES: SaaS was originally developed as a SaaS-solution, so this system implemented the latest technological solutions in the field of cloud computing. In particular, modern encryption technologies are used that reliably exchange commercial information on the network. The main task of C-MES: SaaS is to process data characterizing the production process, the generation and delivery of information in a standardized form to the user. C-MES: SaaS provides information about customer orders, production technology, parameters and availability of equipment, snap, labor resources, as well as raw materials and schedules for their supply, as well as maps of optimal technological transitions of equipment. This information is used by the C-MES: SaaS system for the operational management of production activities from the moment the manufacturing order is issued and to the release of the finished product.

C-MES: SaaS can be used in such divisions of companies as the sales department, the planning and economic department, the chief designer department, the chief technologist department, the production and dispatch department, the purchasing department, the enterprise departments, etc. Specialists of these departments have access to the information and tools necessary for the department to influence the course of production, either through client applications or through an ordinary web browser. The application of web applications allows you to use C-MES: SaaS regardless of hardware solutions (it can be a smartphone, tablet or personal computer) and operating systems (this can be Windows, Android or iOS) (Fig.4).

 Therefore C-MES: SaaS can also be used in large companies with a wide network of offices or branches, between which a permanent exchange of data must take place. In order to exchange data with production units (workshops) in C-MES: SaaS, an information model of production, built in accordance with the ANSI / ISA-95 standard, "Enterprise- Control System Integration). The possibility of exchange with SCADA systems is realized (Figure 5) (to provide the functionality of the c-MES model), the following tasks are solved:

 the state of production and progress of the production process is visualized;

 the number of items produced, whether good or bad, is calculated;


 the calculation of the operating time of the production equipment (machine tools, production lines, machining centers, etc.) and tools (rigging) (for maintenance planning);

 The values of the most important technological values and the state of the equipment are monitored, and it is possible to generate messages if they exceed the permitted limits.

Thus, continuous monitoring of production processes in the enterprise and in the event of a mismatch of the previously calculated plan with its current implementation, data coming from SCADA systems allow C-MES: SaaS to quickly recalculate equipment operation schedules. In general, the C-MES IS: SaaS is primarily designed to deal with events caused by deviations from normal operating modes. An example of such events may be the fact that an enterprise needs to produce new products for which a production technology has not been developed. As a result, C-MES: SaaS forms a request for the department of the chief designer to enter (or change) the composition of the product. After that, the request to the department of the chief technologist is automatically formed - and then to production. Or when there was a breakdown of equipment that caused its simple - in this case C-MES: SaaS, using SCADA-system data, recalculates the release plan with the change in the date of shipments of products.

With any change in the production situation, data is processed in the data center and then received by all interested parties in the production process in standardized formats. All events and the causes that caused them are recorded by the system in a database (located also in the data center), thus, statistics are generated, which can later be used in calculations. The structure of the IS based on the model Saas allows you to quickly respond to events generated by the system and through any customers and platform (including mobile or web applications) directly affect the production process, while C-MES: SaaS can offer solutions based on the accumulated statistical data. For example, if there is no technology for the production of a product - C-MES: SaaS can prompt the user to run the process on the basis of a "phantom resource specification" using some averaged values ​​or some other parameters obtained as a result of statistical processing.

Confirming that SaaS systems are economically more profitable (in comparison with on-premise solutions) are the results of calculating the cost of using C-MES (Table 1) for different models of location. Costs when using the C-MES IC in the SaaS model are significantly lower than the cost of the software when it is locally hosted.

Thus, the technologies implemented in MES: SaaS provide efficiency, security, accessibility and flexibility in solving the problems of planning and production management in conditions of high demand dynamics in the market and the need to minimize costs, which is especially important for small and medium-sized businesses.