Application of Virtualization Technologies in Novel Industrial Automation: Catalyst or Show-Stopper?

Michael Gundall, Daniel Reti, Hans Dieter Schotten

In: 2020 IEEE 18th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN). IEEE International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN-2020) July 20-23 Warwick United Kingdom IEEE 7/2020.


Industry 4.0 describes an adaptive and changeable production, where its factory cells have to be reconfigured at very short intervals, e.g. after each workpiece. Furthermore, this scenario cannot be realized with traditional devices, such as programmable logic controllers. Here the use of well-proven technologies of the information technology are conquering the production hall (IT-OT convergence). Therefore, both virtualization and novel communication technologies are being introduced in the field of industrial automation. In addition, these technologies are seen as the key for facilitating various emerging use cases. However, it is not yet clear whether each of the dedicated hardware and software components, which have been developed for specific control tasks and have performed well over decades, can be upgraded without major adjustments. In this paper, we examine the opportunities and challenges of hardware and operating system-level virtualization based on the stringent requirements imposed by industrial applications. For that purpose, benchmarks for different virtualization technologies are set by determining their computational and networking overhead, configuration effort, accessibility, scalability, and security.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence