Earlier this month, tens of thousands of HMI, SCADA and MES systems lost their safety net. The problem?Microsoft no longer supports Window XP.
Granted that XP is pretty old, but it still runs on more than a quarter of PCs worldwide. And there is probably a greater portion of SCADA systems still on it.
According to the Microsoft website: “After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP. Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that you migrate to a current supported operating system – such as Windows 8.1 – so you can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks.”
Of course Microsoft believes that everyone should always upgrade and buy the latest version of their OS. But for most users running HMI, SCADA and MES software it's seldom a simple upgrade.
Most users would prefer two weeks of army boot camp followed by a dental visit for a root canal compared to what they now face.
I believe the problem with traditional SCADA software has to do with developers veering too far from Microsoft's mainline API, such as using newfangled features before they really gain widespread acceptance, so they get deprecated. An example of this is Silverlight. Silverlight is dead yet so many software vendors bet the farm on it. The main point is this... Upgrading a SCADA system from one version of Windows to the next is usually a crap shoot.
That’s why we decided to make Ignition cross platform from day one. That means that it runs on Linux, Unix, OSX, but most importantly, any newer version of Windows right out of the box. So far, we've been ready day one for each new release of Windows. And do you have to pay for an upgraded version of our software to do so? Probably not.
So the real question is this... are you ready to get off the merry-go-round and solve the real problem once and for all? Seriously, next time you are ready to upgrade to a new version of Windows, try Ignition - costs nothing to try - and you'll be glad you did.