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Rockwell Automation meets customer requirements without sacrificing performance with FairCom DB

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The embedded database's speed and flexibility allow Rockwell to enhance its product offerings

With more than 20,000 employees, Rockwell Automation is the world's largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information. Its mission is to improve the quality of life by making the world more productive and sustainable by enabling the next generation of smart manufacturing.

Rockwell Automation produces a wide range of products, including the Studio 5000® Automation Engineering & Design Environment. With this software solution suite, users can design, build, and maintain their industrial automation systems. Customers enjoy the ability to respond quickly to changing market and business needs. Studio 5000 also enables its customers to reduce the total cost of ownership, including maintenance and training.

One of the major components that allows Studio 5000 to work so well is the FairCom DB database management system, which is embedded into its main file format.

Rockwell decided to use the embedded model of FairCom DB as part of its architectural strategy for the product. Lightweight and fast, FairCom DB operates seamlessly within applications, meaning end users and customers don't have to worry about managing internal data access. Typical use cases are data dictionaries, metadata, and embedded devices, which usually require high throughput with resilience and minimum human intervention for data administration.

In line with the approach of high performance and high throughput, FairCom DB's embedded model is a perfect fit for applications like Studio 5000. Designed with developers in mind, FairCom provides a full SDK, low-level APIs, and library integrations.

In Studio 5000, FairCom DB is configured into tables containing all customer content. Because data is critical for an organization's operations, FairCom DB is tightly integrated into Studio 5000's persistence layer (the location in which the information is stored).

FairCom DB has been powering data management in Studio 5000 for more than 20 years. Rockwell Automation selected  DB because it was the only database solution that provided high levels of performance and integration while maintaining the low-level database control required by Studio 5000.

According to Rockwell Automation Software Project Engineer Derek Miller, FairCom DB has always supported the company and its customers in the areas of performance, integration, and low-level database control.

"There have been several instances where we've needed very fine-grained control over exactly how data is stored in the database—and ultimately our project files," Miller says. "FairCom DB gave us all the capabilities we needed to meet our requirements without sacrificing performance."

FairCom DB: Fast and flexible

FairCom DB is known for its speed, which Rockwell Automation's engineers and developers have lauded. FairCom DB provides the fastest possible database operations, regardless if it is being used as a standalone database or embedded into a mission-critical solution like Studio 5000.

Using a fast database is good, but it becomes even better when that database is flexible. With Rockwell Automation serving the ever-changing manufacturing industry, the Studio 5000 solution has had to evolve in order to continue providing the high-performing, reliable automation solution their customers need. FairCom DB's flexibility has allowed Rockwell Automation to do just that.

"One major advantage of FairCom DB's speed is that it has allowed us to develop features that are very data intensive with only a minimum amount of caching, in particularly performance-sensitive areas," Miller says. "We have mostly leveraged the performance and customizability of FairCom DB in our product, but its lightweight and straightforward interface has also been beneficial.”

Among the reasons for this adaptability is that FairCom DB is highly configurable, with more than 500 parameters that allow for tight calibration, enabling system administrators to maintain strict security and the delicate balance of performance versus reliability that is so unique from business to business.

The combination of the NoSQL interfaces (for schema-less data sets, like the ones produced by PLCs and automation controllers) and SQL (for integration with analytics, business intelligence, and other applications that require structured, relational models) gives software developers the power and control that they need from an embedded database solution like FairCom DB.

The end result is that the speed and flexibility of FairCom DB have played a key role in Rockwell Automation producing Studio 5000, one of the most reliable automation solutions on the market today.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world's largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, making its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs approximately 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

Allen-Bradley, GuardLogix, LISTEN. THINK. SOLVE., Rockwell Software, Studio 5000, Studio 5000 Architect, Studio 5000 Logix Designer, Studio 5000 Logix Emulate, and Studio 5000 View Designer are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Last Update:
November 11, 2022