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SiteManager Hardware vs Software, which should I choose?

The ability to install a remote access gateway as software is quite unique to Secomea. SiteManager Embedded is today used on many different platforms and under different brands such as GE, Pro-face by Schneider, Hirschman and KEBA.

Generally, both SiteManager types have the same look and feel, and you can even migrate easily from one to the other. But when would should you consider software over hardware and vice versa? Instead of a detailed article, we have decided to make a table with a verdict and a short comment.

We hope it will help you decide.

Scenario SiteManager
Hardware
(SM HW)
SiteManager
Embedded
(SM-E)
Comment
I want the cheapest possible solution X An SM-E license does cost less than an SM HW, especially if you only need access to the device of the SM-E itself. If, however, you don’t have a suitable platform to run the SM-E on, you should include costs for applying and maintaining such a platform and consider the low cost 11xx series hardware models.
I want to pre-install remote access functionality, but only pay the first time I need it. X One of the main arguments for SM-E. SM-E can be configured and connected to GateManager M2M server, but you don’t need to apply the activation license from GateManager until first time you need to use remote access.
I need differential user access to different devices via the same SiteManager simultaneously, compliant with Industry 4.0 X X Both SM-HW and SM-E supports multiple access connections simultaneously.
I want easy uniform provisioning using same configuration on all SiteManagers. X X SM HW can be configured with the same configuration via the USB port, and SM-E can have the same configuration file pre-loaded on all your devices.
I need to facilitate IoT Big data cloud storage connections via all the remote controllers/machines. X X Both SM-HW and SM-E support IoT Big data cloud storage connections via the GateManager M2M server.
I need to connect to any UDP/TCP device on their IP address X X Both SM-HW and SM-E support any UDP/TCP protocol used by automation equipment today.
I need to discover devices based on broadcast X Only SM-HW support true Layer 3 and Layer 2 broadcast
I need to connect remotely to Serial and USB devices X SM-E currently does not link to the platforms USB or Serial ports
I need to connect to the Internet via WiFi, broadband or local network X X SM HW has uplink options integrated, whereas the SM-E will automatically find its way to the Internet via any Internet access router your platform has access to.
My machine has certifications for all global regions, and I need the SiteManager to cover the same regions. (X) X Although SM HW has multiple certifications, they might not cover some of the less harmonized regions. With SM-E your just exploit your existing certifications. If a special Internet access method is needed, you may well be able to buy a local 3G/4G gateway.
I need to have GateManager send alarms based on digital input triggers X If the alarms are just for alerting when the device with the SM-E is up or down, you can make a trigger on GateManager M2M server for the SM-E itself.
I need to have SMS alerts sent directly from my PLC X Any SM HW model supports alerts sent as either SMS or Email.
I need to setup a data collection infrastructure for access concurrently with remote programming access using the LinkManager client. X X Supported using the LogTunnel client feature by both SM HW and SM-E, although only SM HW can act as the central LogTunnel Master.
I need to signal to the factory personal when remote access is on, as an extended, and in some cases mandatory safety feature. X X This is easily done on SM HW, using the digital output port. The SM-E can facilitate the same by adapting your signaling device with the open API of the SM-E
I need to connect to any device in the remote subnet, and not just the ones configured with a specific agent X X Both SM-E and SM HW supports a so called “subnet agent”, which allows you to do just that.
I need a reliable and dedicated remote access gateway independent of devices out there X We can only recommend the SM HW, as it is a solid embedded system that is sold in thousands a month all over the world. SM HW also has special features such as device scan and auto-detection for easy agent setup.
I want the most secure solution X X Both SM HW and SM-E are subject to intensive security auditing. Some customers prefer the SM HW for its hardened Linux system, warrants for the OS security.
References
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“Having easy and instant access to control systems as if we were on the boat has made a huge difference to the way we work."

- Gifford Hooper, Design Director
Alliance Partners
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