OPC Foundation Announces Collaborative Strategy with OMG for the OPC UA and DDS Standards

OPC Foundation Announces Collaborative Strategy with OMG for the OPC UA and DDS Standards

April 6, 2016 – OPC Foundation and Object Management Group® (OMG®) today announced a collaborative strategy for marketing and technical interoperability for the two leading standards for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The OPC Foundation and OMG have developed a technical positioning and FAQ document for usage of both the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and the OMG Data Distribution Service™(DDS) standard.

The Standards

OPC UA is an industrial communication architecture for platform independent, high performance, secure, reliable, and semantic interoperability between sensors, field devices, controllers, and applications at the shop-floor level in real-time as well as between the shop floor and the enterprise IT cloud. OPC UA allows SoA based easy “plug and produce” scenarios. The information about the system, its configuration, topology, and data context (the meta data) are exposed in the collective “address space” of the individual OPC UA servers. This data can be accessed by authorized OPC UA clients that can see what is available, and choose what to access. OPC UA truly supports timeless durability as new networking technology is developed it can be plugged into OPC UA seamlessly. Client/Server, Pub/Sub and cloud protocols are integrated into OPC UA.

DDS provides location transparent, interoperable, secure, platform independent, real-time data sharing across any kind of network.  DDS lets applications define and share user data with controlled “Quality of Service” (QoS) such as performance, scalability, reliability, durability and security. DDS hides network topology and connectivity details from the application, providing a data-sharing abstraction that scales from local area networks to fog and cloud computing. It can support large fan out and sub-millisecond latency.

Today, there is little overlap between OPC UA and DDS in applications. Even when used in the same market (e.g. energy) the use cases are quite different. Today OPC UA provides client-server interaction between components such as devices or applications. DDS is a data-centric “bus” for integration and peer-to-peer data distribution. Because the focal applications and approaches for DDS and OPC UA are different, most applications clearly fit better with one or the other. 

The OPC Foundation and OMG are working together on integration and have developed two ways for the technologies to work together. First, an “OPC UA/DDS gateway” will permit independent implementations to work together.  Second, “OPC UA DDS Profile” will enable integrated use cases. Initial work to define both approaches is underway at the two standards organizations.

About OPC Foundation
Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation’s mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets.