Updating application on a remote machine: available procedures

Hello to the B&R Community,

After analyzing the possibilities to do remotely a software update of an application on a machine, we found 7 different methods.

We have only covered incremental software updates. We have therefore not included on this list the methods of update through a new project installation or through the creation of a new flash memory. We have nor included the method of an upgrade through the network via DHCP, since this is used seldom for updating existing machines.

Please, feel free to add your comments to improve this summary:

OPTION 1: TRANSFER WITH AUTOMATION STUDIO
Using a local PC controlled remotely or with a VPN, we may download from Automation Studio directly to the controller.
:point_right: Any AR
:point_right: No controller restart mandatory
:point_right: Transfer can be done:
a) Access from our facilities to a PC plugged locally
b) VPN from our remote facilities
:slightly_smiling_face: Easiest procedure when you have a very broad bandwidth
:slightly_smiling_face: Faster than any other method
:slightly_smiling_face: No/few intervention of a remote user is required
:slightly_smiling_face: No controller restart mandatory
:frowning_face: When accessing by VPN, there is a risk of loss of communication, especially if the changes are relevant and if the AR <4.33
temp empty

OPTION 2: UPDATE BY INSTALLATION PACKAGE AND ARPROJECT
The B&R Library ArProject allows you to update your application by choosing a software package, turned accessible to the controller. The user or the programmer may choose the right package for being installed even directly from the visualization. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR >=4.33
:point_right: No controller restart mandatory (except if you modify the program containing ArProject or any other program on that Task Class)
:point_right: The installation package can be copied on:
a) User partition from controller
b) Remote PC locally connected to the controller
c) Local USB pen drive (not available in ARwin)
:point_right: Copying the installation package can be done:
a) By FTP from a remote PC access plugged locally
b) By FTP from our PC by using a VPN
c) Local user copies it on a local USB pen drive (not available in ARwin)
d) Local user copies it on a local PC connected to the controller
:slightly_smiling_face: Secure procedure
:slightly_smiling_face: No/few intervention of a remote user is required
:slightly_smiling_face: Adequate procedure whenever you may have an unstable bandwidth (e.g., wireless connection)
:slightly_smiling_face: No controller restart mandatory (except if you change the program where an ARproject FBK is used)
:frowning_face: If the machine hasn’t been delivered with it before, it requires a first software update to add the program with ArProject
temp empty

OPTION 3: UPDATE BY MAPP BACKUP
In a similar way to Option2, Mapp Backup allows you to update your application by choosing a Project Installation Package or PIP inserted on an USB memory. The user or the programmer may choose the right package for being installed even directly from the visualization. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR >=4.33
:point_right: No controller restart mandatory
:point_right: Copying the installation package to a local USB pen drive can be done:
a) By FTP from a remote PC access plugged locally
b) By FTP from our PC by using a VPN
c) Local user copies it on a local USB pen drive (not available in ARwin)
:slightly_smiling_face: Free of charge, since mapp Backup is included on the mapp Services Starter Package
:slightly_smiling_face: Secure procedure
:slightly_smiling_face: Powerful diagnostics on Logger
:slightly_smiling_face: No/few intervention of a remote user is required
:slightly_smiling_face: Adequate procedure whenever you may have an unstable bandwidth (e.g., wireless connection)
:slightly_smiling_face: No controller restart mandatory
:frowning_face: If the machine hasn’t been delivered with mapp Backup before, it requires a first software update to add the mapp Backup and the program
temp empty

OPTION 4: USER PARTITION INSTALL
Every time a controller restarts, it checks if there is a new software update available on user partition. If he founds one that it hasn’t been installed yet, it will install the software update. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR >=4.33
:point_right: Controller restart is mandatory
:point_right: Copying the software update can be done:
a) By FTP from a remote PC access plugged locally
b) By FTP from our PC by using a VPN
:slightly_smiling_face: No/few intervention of a remote user is required
:frowning_face: Controller restart is mandatory
:frowning_face: Disabled per default in Automation Studio. If the machine hasn’t been delivered with it before, it requires a first software update to enable it.
temp user partition

OPTION 5: USB INSTALL
Every time a controller restarts, it checks if there is a new software update available on a pen drive inserted on it. If he founds one that it hasn’t been installed yet, it will install the software update. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR >=4.33
:point_right: Controller restart is mandatory
:point_right: Copying the software update can be done:
a) By FTP from a remote PC access plugged locally
b) By FTP from our PC by using a VPN
c) Local user copies it on a local USB pen drive
:slightly_smiling_face: No/few intervention of a remote user is required
:frowning_face: Not all USB pen drive are valid
:frowning_face: USB pen drive must be previously been formatted with FAT16 or FAT32
:frowning_face: Controller restart is mandatory
:frowning_face: Disabled per default in Automation Studio. If the machine hasn’t been delivered with it before, it requires a first software update to enable it.
temp usb partition

OPTION 6: RUNTIME UTILITY CENTER – RUC PACKAGE TRANSFER
Runtime utility center allows to transfer a RUC package created from Automation Studio. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR >=4.33
:point_right: No controller restart mandatory
:point_right: Executing the Runtime Utility Center installation can be done:
a) From a remote PC access plugged locally (no risk of communication interruption)
b) From our PC by using a VPN (risk of communication interruption)
:slightly_smiling_face: Runtime Utility Center is free of charge and may be easily installed on a local PC
:slightly_smiling_face: If installed from a PC plugged locally, the RUC Package doesn’t contain the source code
:slightly_smiling_face: No controller restart mandatory
:frowning_face: No other big advantage in comparison with other methods
temp empty

OPTION 7: RUNTIME UTILITY CENTER WITH INSTRUCTIONS LIST
Runtime utility center allows to load an instruction list created from Automation Studio, contaning the transfer of some B&R modules. B&R Online Help (br-automation.com)
:point_right: AR <4.33
:point_right: No controller restart mandatory
:point_right: Executing the Runtime Utility Center installation can be done:
a) From a remote PC access plugged locally (no risk of communication interruption)
b) From our PC by using a VPN (risk of communication interruption)
:slightly_smiling_face: Runtime Utility Center is free of charge and may be easily installed on a local PC
:slightly_smiling_face: Selective transfer can be done by choosing specific binary files to be transferred
:slightly_smiling_face: No controller restart mandatory
:slightly_smiling_face: Only remote alternative to Automation Studio transfer when using AR < 4.33
:frowning_face: Transfer list has to be written manually; it requires experience and it is somehow risky

6 Likes

Thanks for sharing the list of possiblities.
I basically have another question about transferring via VPN. What infrastructure do I need to set up a remote connection via VPN? Is there a recommendation for this?

Hello, Hubert, nice to get your message!
Well, there are only 2 different methods of connecting through VPN:

  • B&R’s Secure Remote Maintenance solution, or similar
  • Access provided by the IT team of the end-user of our machine, by setting properly the NAT/PAT of their local router

Nevertheless, your request of a further analysis requires a new topic. I leave that task to someone else. :wink:

Hello,
I think that while mentioning ArProject, you should also point out that there is also mapp Backup available. The procedure is more or less the same but programming is quicker and easier when using mapp components!

1 Like

Hello Bartosz,
Thank you for your contribution! You are totally right! mapp Backup has even a Use Case dedicated to show how a software upgrade should be done. Therefore, it make sense to be, at least, mentioned in the list.

mapp Backup may be considered as a use case of ArProject, that allows you to use different media for the upgrade (mapp Backup only allows the use of an USB). In fact, I learned that mapp Backup is using ArProject FBKs in the background.

Up to now, I have never seen it as an upgrade tool and I don’t know any user who is using mapp Backup for upgrading machines. Anyway, I will make some tests and probably it should join the list as 7th valid procedure. Or may be not, since it doesn’t provide a “proper different use case”.

What do you think? Feel free to add your opinion inside this topic.

  • mapp Backup doesn’t provide a useful alternative and should not inserted
  • mapp Backup is a valid upgrade procedure and it makes sense to be added
0 voters

Hello @bartosz.pawlik ,
The poll result has provided a clear statement.
Therefore, I have just inserted mapp Backup as 3rd update procedure.

Thank you once again for your valuable contribution to this summary!
Luis Miguel Sainz Pena

2 Likes