Turning this idea into reality is Santa Clara-based ioTium that offers a secure, intelligent, and flexible plug-and-play converged infrastructure for IIoT. ioTium’s dynamic infrastructure combines software-defined WAN, security, and edge compute, and is purely managed from the cloud. “Our objective is to securely connect any industrial machine that uses any protocol, through any gateway over any operator to any cloud and then onto any application, in a scalable drop-ship plug and play manner while minimizing the need for expensive IT personnel,” says Ron Victor, founder and CEO of ioTium.
A pioneer in offering managed converged network infrastructure as a service, ioTium has proved its mettle time and again assisting various industries in successfully resolving scalable IoT deployment, security, edge compute and vendor lock-in issues. Reaping the manifold benefits of ioTium’s solution are organizations across building automation, manufacturing, oil and gas, power and utility, and transportation.
For ioTium, solving IIoT deployment complexity is right up its alley, and since its inception, the company has been successful in simplifying IIoT deployments across industry segments. Unlike other IoT vendors, ioTium uses scalable, extensible open network infrastructure that allows organizations to bridge their entire legacy brownfield assets and greenfield machines to applications that provide business insights. This zero touch, cloud-managed service securely collects data from legacy mission-critical brownfield machines and sends it to greenfield applications which reside in public, private, and hybrid clouds. This methodology eliminates the need for customers to buy hardware, software, or SDKs. Instead of deputing an engineer for deployment, customers can now literally plug and play. “Truck rolls are minimized and in most cases eliminated because the solution is managed from the cloud,” emphasizes Victor.
ioTium’s multi-tenanted extensible cloud-managed architecture allows each tenant within the network to create any custom logic such as filters, compression algorithms, encryption algorithms, and analytics applications in any language they prefer—including python, java, shell script— and deploy it at scale from the cloud. Elaborating on their infrastructure service, Victor says, “We strive to take care of all the IIoT deployment and security tasks while allowing organizations to focus on their core mission that will add value to their company.”
We strive to take care of all the IoT deployment and security tasks while allowing organizations to focus on their core mission that will add value to their company
The Robust Architecture
At its core, ioTium’s network infrastructure supports a robust architecture. The architecture has two components to it—an iNode and an Orchestrator. The iNode through its security mechanisms protects legacy devices and gateways. As a book-ended solution, iNode facilitates both the data source and data sink. An iNode at the edge resides on certified third-party substrates as chosen by the customer; and in a cloud, it resides as a virtual machine. The cloud-based Orchestrator, on the other hand, is used to manage workflows and IIoT systems. “Our converged network infrastructure software solution solves the critical issues of networking, security, provisioning, WAN optimization, QoS, edge analytics, and protocol software adapter as well as edge application lifecycle management for any IIoT deployment,” says Victor. ioTium thus provides a horizontal, multi-tenanted, plug-and-play, policy-driven converged network infrastructure solution eliminating the need for vertical custom-built solutions. The converged network architecture is designed in such a way that all the functional appliances such as encryption, compression, DPI, machine learning, and AI run as containers on the iNode at the edge. ioTium also has a full-fledged industrial application store, which includes everything from AWS IoT Greengrass software, to third-party protocol software adapter libraries, third-party analytics applications for multiple verticals, deep package inspection engines, as well as Azure IoT hub component and more.
Multi-Layered Security Approach
As industrial enterprises start to scale their solution, adding layers of security to devices and networks proves to be a crucial factor for success in the IIoT arena. ioTium’s converged network infrastructure has seven layers of security built into the system. Once ioTium is deployed, every single port on the iNode at the edge is under lockdown and unless the user gives permission the iNode cannot connect to any machine. As a primary layer, ioTium’s platform has a built-in firewall to create a secure perimeter that protects the assets on-premise. “When it comes to security, one of the reasons why CISOs and CIOs bank on us is because of the flexibility, they don’t have to make any changes to the existing firewall and proxy policies—everything can be tunneled out using outbound ports,” explains Victor.
ioTium’s entire infrastructure is based on certificates and keys, which eliminates the need for APNs and VPNs completely. ioTium’s bookended approach minimizes potential for DDOS attacks as well as rerouting of traffic by fraudulent employees. Add to that, CIOs do not have to open an inbound port and change the enterprise firewall and proxy settings; since ioTium uses outbound ports only it can limit all issues related to changing firewall and proxy policies. ioTium protects the assets, secures the data, and isolates individual data feeds from all sensors and monitoring devices. With the isolated memory and compute environment, ioTium can form a micro-tunnel and transfer data to the customer’s respective cloud as well as minimize east-west hack proliferation. ioTium’s security layer also includes complete isolation of all the OT traffic from the IT traffic.
ioTium follows a unique process for seamless provisioning and implementation of their solution. When a customer decides to deploy ioTium and places an order, Arrow, ioTium’s distribution partner, delivers the hardware to the respective destination. Arrow images ioTium’s iNode operating system on the hardware. Once the hardware reaches the customer, all they have to do is plug it into the required port whether it is RS-232 or serial port or Modbus port or any other. “On the network side, we leverage internet access provided through physical layer or the corporate WAN to securely connect all assets,” elucidates Victor.
Customers also get access to an account in the Orchestrator. Through this account, they can remotely control and manage who can view what, and can separate nodes by zones, country, and vertical. Once the account is activated, the customer uses the Orchestrator to create a template and deploy edge software. All the activities are further provisioned and controlled from a central location in the cloud. In addition, the Orchestrator has an API Layer which can be integrated directly into the user’s existing workflow while eliminating the need to go to the Orchestrator every time.
Influencing the World with IoT
ioTium has helped many organizations across industries to focus on attaining real innovation and ability to implement long term sustainable, robust, cost-effective solutions without being held captive by expensive, in-house systems. Victor draws an anecdote to highlight the effectiveness of ioTium’s converged network infrastructure where one of the clients had to manage multiple building management systems in commercial buildings spread all over North America. They were using expensive dedicated firewalls and VPN hardware at each site to ensure security and remote connectivity. They also ran Niagara building automation software on a separate server on-site with BACnet-IP connectivity to the BACnet server. The challenge was a technician had to visit each site to configure the hardware and provision the firewall in order to access Niagara from the cloud. Their in-depth search for a cost-effective, scalable, and extensible IoT solution provider that abstracts out the deployment and security complexity came to an end with ioTium. ioTium installed its iNode software on a Dell 5000 gateway that resides on-site. The Niagara application software runs in a container on the iNode and a virtual iNode resides on the cloud. The entire solution is now zero-touch provisioned as ioTium securely connects the two locations.
"Our objective is to securely connect any industrial machine that uses any protocol, through any gateway over any operator to any cloud and then onto any application, in a scalable drop-ship plug and play manner while minimizing the need for expensive IT personnel"
ioTium’s solution has enabled clients to eliminate visits to their customer location to install and provision IIoT.
Adding to its IIoT leadership, the company has recently joined Siemens’ MindSphere Program as a Gold Partner. With this partnership, ioTium is working to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 across enterprises. To achieve Industry 4.0, it is important for organizations to combine elements of security, network, and edge computing in a multi-tenanted, scalable, and open manner to realize IIoT deployment. “Since the beginning, our focal point has always been solving the deployment and security complexities faced by asset-intensive industries while embarking on digital transformation. We have realized that flexibility and simplicity is the key to reach Industry 4.0 and we deliver that through our software-defined converged infrastructure solutions for IIoT,” ends Victor.
ioTium Appoints Seasoned Executives and Expands Global Footprint to Accelerate Growth
SANTA CLARA, Calif: ioTium, the first commercially deployed Software-Defined Converged Infrastructure company for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), today announced significant company growth and geographic expansion, fueled by global demand for its solutions amid the transition to Industry 4.0. To support this growing demand, ioTium has opened a new location in Australia and appointed Lee Burrows as the APAC Director, with plans for further sales and engineering talent in the coming months. Additionally, ioTium also added two new executives Jason Cooper, vice president of sales, and Ganesh Ramamoorthy, vice president of business development to support the company's strategic direction, strengthening our customer and partners relationship as well as expanding our global sales support coverage.
ioTium is the only zero-touch solution to combine security, network and edge computing in a multi-tenanted, scalable way to help industrial enterprises move toward digital transformation. Major industrial enterprises in building automation, energy and manufacturing environments have already deployed ioTium, and the company's reputation is quickly spreading worldwide. Now, with capital from its latest funding round, ioTium is expanding its sales and engineering operations to address a broader regional market overseas.
"Industry 4.0 is a primary factor driving digital transformation among industrial markets, and ioTium plays a role as the only company to help these organizations achieve it," said Cooper, a former Siemens executive. "At ioTium, I have a tremendous opportunity to participate in the next generation of the industrial revolution with a thriving company and a world-class team."
"ioTium's exceptional growth speaks to its innovation in an industry that is just beginning to evolve," said Microsoft alum Ramamoorthy. "The company has dialed in to a heretofore unaddressed need, which presents unending opportunity for additional growth and expansion. I'm excited to join this talented, forward-thinking team, and to see what the future brings for ioTium."
"Australia is an untapped well of opportunity, with a strong industrial economy that demands innovations to support a trend toward Industrial 4.0," said Ron Victor, founder and CEO, ioTium. "With Jason, Ganesh and our new Australian team, ioTium is poised to build a greater overseas presence and add to its ever-expanding client roster."
ioTium will be exhibiting at Total Facilities in Sydney on March 20-21, 2019. If you are planning to attend, be sure to visit ioTium at Booth No. G6 and see a demonstration of our Secure Converged Industrial IoT Infrastructure for smart buildings.