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This document is intended for the purpose and use of onboarding MindConnect Software Agent (MCSA) asset and ingesting data into MindSphere.

Purpose and Scope

This document provides step-by-step guide to onboard MindConnect Software Agent and perform data ingestion as per the applicable field protocol.

Pre-requisites

MindConnect Software Agent allows to setup the software on the PCs for the agent. Using this setup, any CPU can be quickly converted to ingest data into MindSphere.

MindConnect Software Agent is a virtual representation of the MindConnect firmware, which can be installed on Windows 10 system that supports Hyper-V.

Hardware: PC System requirements

Depending upon the available hardware for your machine, below are the general requirements. Based on the PC hardware and information, the below multiple instances can be set. Consider the PC hardware selection depending on the Operating System requirements as well as MindConnect Software Agent requirements along with the number of instances.

Operating System Windows 10
Operating System–Features-enabled Hyper-V
Operating System-RAM requirements 8GB
Operating System-Core Requirements 2
MCSA Per Instance RAM-Max 8GB
MCSA Per Instance RAM–Min 4GB
MCSA Per Instance Core 2
MCSA Per Instance Disk Space Needed 15GB
Network Interface(s) Dual / Single supported as per Network design

Networking requirements

The following information shall be useful during setup while single / dual network adapters or network adapter is connected to internet’s web interface card.

DHCP – Web Interface DHCP required

Firewall rules

MindConnect element is required to open by HTTPS and DNS ports for communication with MindSphere. To enable the port, open with 443.

The following DNS names will connect to MindConnect element: For "region", enter the area that is defined in your contract, example "*.eu1".

MindSphere uses modern cloud principles (such as content delivery networks) to achieve high availability/scalability. The above mentioned DNS names can be resolved to a large range of IP addresses based on the context of the caller and the state of the backend.

If you are trying to login from the firewall backend, you need ".eu1.mindsphere.io" and in addition a MindSphere Interactive Login page URL is required, example "diswlogin.siemens.com". The below given links are the examples for interactive logins in the browser for agents or application starting with "*.eu1.mindsphere.io":

To communicate agent only, you need the “southgate.eu1.mindsphere.io”.

Note

Port exceptions Add the following port exception to enable the online firmware download for region eu2: - https://mdspedgeprodstorageact.blob.core.windows.net

Technical Overview of MindConnect Software Agent

This section describes the technical overview of MindConnect Software Agent and shows communication between different components.

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Configuration Workflow

After successful login into MindSphere Launchpad, follow these steps:

  1. In "MindSphere Asset Manager/MCSA plugin", create MindConnect Software Agent asset type and download the setup file from MindConnect Software Agent plugin.

  2. In "PC Station", install the setup by selecting suitable network components.

  3. In "PC Station" Local Web UI: Connect to the Webserver of the Virtual Machine and get details of installation UID etc. of this instance.

  4. In "MindSphere: MCSA Plugin", enter the configuration data in Asset Manager plugin after the UI object settings symbol. Enter the network details and UID to download onboarding key.

  5. In "PC Station" and "MCSA plugin" Local Web UI: In onboarding tab, enter the configuration. Check the local indications for onboarded and online indications as well as MCSA plugin.

  6. "MindSphere MCSA plugin" prerequisite:

    • Data Sources – PLC etc. the protocols and variable addresses, tags are known.
    • Enter Datasource configuration and Datapoints as per communication protocols at field level.
  7. In "Asset Manager" Data Modelling: Create Aspect Type, Asset Type and Data Asset.

  8. In "MCSA Plugin": Perform mapping between agent, asset and data asset and then download the configuration.

  9. In "Fleet Manager": Verify data is available in data asset in the applications hosted in the Launchpad via Fleet Manager or Operations Insight.

MindSphere Asset Manager/MCSA plugin

To download Asset Manager/MCSA plugin, follow these steps:

  1. In Launchpad, click on Asset Manager app.

    AssetManager

  2. In Asset Manager, click on viewyourassets.

    resultviewyourassets

  3. Click on createasset.

  4. Select MindConnect Software Agent, click Create and enter the relevant details and then click Save.

    mcsaagentasset

  5. Click on MCSA connectivity arrow arrow.

  6. Accept terms and conditions and click Download Setup.

    downloadmcsa

Installation of MCSA

To install MindConnect Software Agent, follow these steps:

  1. Extract the downloaded setup file.

  2. Run setup as administrator, proceed with Yes. Select network cards as per topology and click Next.

    networksetup

    • Web Interface connects to MindSphere.
    • Production interface connects to PLCs.
  3. Select Complete and click Next.

    completenext

  4. Click Install.

    install

  5. Click Finish and restart the machhine.

    finish

Connecting to Local Web UI

To connect MindConnect Software Agent in local web UI, follow these steps:

  1. Open Hyper V Manager, right click on MindConnect Software Agent and click Connect.

    serialnumber

  2. Access web interface by accessing URL via http protocol.

    interface

  3. Note the details in the onboarding the tab.

Entering onboarding configuration

  1. Open plugin and enter required network configuration and save the configuration.

  2. Click on Download Onboarding Key button to download the onboarding configuration.

    • Under downloads, you can view the file with extension .cfg and file name as ConBox_UID_Config.

Onboarding configuration and verify in Local Web UI and Asset Manager

To onboard the configuration and verify in local web UI and Asset Manager, follow these steps:

  1. In Onboarding tab, Select File and click Start Onboarding button or click Insert JSON Content button to copy and paste from the downloaded configuration file.

    interface

  2. You can verify the status of the agent:

    • In Local Web UI

    localwebuistatus

    • In Asset Manager MCSA Plugin

    assetmanagerstatus

Entering Data Source and Data Point configuration in Agent asset

To enter the Data Source and Data Point configuration in Agent asset, follow these steps:

  1. Open MCSA plugin and click Edit Mode. Click Add new Datasource button.

    • Datasource configuration is prepared by selecting required protocol.
  2. Enter Datapoints / Tags to communicate with the added data sources and relevant addresses as per selected protocols. Select R, W, R/W, if the protocol selects the same along with the data type.

    enterdatapoints

    • Enter the required Datapoints over the protocol.

Data Modelling in MindSphere

It is required to configure the data in Asset Manager as we need to have a data connection to receive data from our MindConnect Software Agent. Mapping is required to be done between physical asset and virtual asset.

datamodel

Depending upon tags, you need to create the Aspect types.

Example to configure pressure and temperature with data type as double

  1. Click Aspect Types to create aspect and add variables in the required section.

    variablespt

  2. Click Asset Types to create asset type in Asset Manager.

    assettype

  3. Click Create Asset to create data asset and select the data model

Perform Mapping between Agent Asset and Data Asset and then Download

To perform the mapping between agent asset and data asset and then download:

  1. Open MCSA plugin and click Data Point Mapping to select data asset and create mapping

    • Link the variables between Data Asset and Agent Asset

    selectdatapoint

  2. Click Apply Changes to download the configuration

Verify Data in Fleet Manager

To verify the data in Fleet Manager, follow these steps:

  1. In Fleet Manager, select the data asset and click aspect tab and then click the relevant asset.

Data is ingested successfully.

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Last update: July 29, 2022