Starting to Emulate Your Industrial Control System Environment
Developing a mimic system to reflect the Industrial Control System environment is not a trivial effort. There is some challenges to be countered in order to set up proper environment of ICS as per plant environment. The major challenge is lack of budget to develop such mimic system, another challenge is lack of resources to cover the developed mimic system since it usually not being utilized optimally other than just sitting like a garbage in the corner of Control Room.
The current virtualization technology has made able the idea of emulating the ICS environment in less required infrastructure. Virtualization platform such as Hyper-V, Parallel, VMware or VirtualBox have made this idea become realistic and affordable, and cost efficient in term of budgeting.
The hypervisor platform that being used to emulate networking environment has integrate the capability of emulating the whole ICS environment into one basket, despite of we still need some simulation or real DCS/PLC/RTU as the field devices interface if we want to get some “real” sense of control respond framework for our lab.
Now we can develop our mimic system to reflect the real ICS environment with more cost efficient, more manageable, and it can also be expanded as far as we go further depends on our needs (surely the computing device that being used for this lab is another limitation, but theoretically it can be expanded as far as we go, with several options to boost up performance such as using grid computing).
Let’s do it, and build your own lab, explore the hidden possibility, reduce the maintenance cost, increase investment in research engineering and boost up the production operations reliability. Keep it safe and stay away from tweaking the live system on its online state.