The outbreak of COVID-19 has underscored the need for improved disaster recovery solutions in many industries, including power generation. Mission-critical environments like data centers and power generation facilities have complex infrastructure, and downtime can be extremely costly. A comprehensive disaster recovery solution is essential to maintain business continuity in the event of an interruption. Matrox Extio 3 KVM extenders can help make disaster recovery solutions possible.
The client is a power generation facility located in the United States that supplies electricity using natural gas. Their facilities include a primary control room that runs the plant and a secondary simulator room designed for operators to conduct training. The existing facilities were not designed to accommodate a backup system in case of an emergency, so a solution was needed that could be integrated into the current infrastructure. The solution had to support the current business processes and maintain compliance with all relevant regulations.
The task at hand required a viable solution that would provide a power generation facility with backup access to its control room in the event of an emergency. It was essential that the solution allow them to continue operations seamlessly, without jeopardizing security or incurring extensive costs.
The challenge for power generation facilitiesIntegration
As power generation facilities increasingly rely on automation and monitoring technology for their operations, they must have a robust backup system in place that does not interfere with their current workflows. The power generation plant’s system in place had recently adopted new technologies, which meant the solution must be compatible with the new infrastructure system. The integrated solution would allow them to remotely access their control room using their existing infrastructure to ensure that the plant can quickly resume operations in the event of an emergency. This solution would also provide operators with more physical space in the simulator room as the same computer equipment would be used for multiple purposes.
Security is important for any business, but it is critical for companies that handle sensitive data. It was crucial that the solution did not involve the installation of additional software on the source computer system to avoid any security vulnerabilities or entry points for malicious actors. The electric generation facility required a solution that would allow them to not only provide them secure remote access but also comply with industry-specific regulations set out by the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) for critical infrastructure protection (CIP).
Since the pandemic, it is highly recommended for electric utility centers across the United States to have backup centers in case of an emergency. The government will not provide funding to facilities without a comprehensive plan that includes a backup center. In light of this new trend, the electric generation facility needed a cost-effective yet reliable solution that could be quickly implemented.
Instead of building a third room to house backup equipment and workstations, the solution was to leverage the client's existing secondary room, the simulator room, and use Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders to access their backup systems from any new workstation. Fourteen KVM transmitters extending up to 4 video signals were connected to the source systems. The video, audio, keyboard, and mouse signals were extended over a 1 GbE fiber network to fifteen KVM receivers connected to various workstations in the control room. No software installation was required on any of the source systems.
In the event of an interruption or emergency in the primary control room, the workstations in the simulator room can now quickly switch from their typical training content to the primary control room content. Even though the secondary simulator room is equipped with less overhead, workstation consoles, and supervisor displays than the primary control room, the KVM workflow’s flexibility to switch sources on the go provides the operators with complete control over all the feeds. Matrox Video’s Extio 3 IP KVM extenders allow for a seamless and successful transition to a backup system, ensuring that the power plant could continue to operate in an emergency.
The advantage of choosing Matrox Extio 3 Series
From security to cost savings, Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders exceeded all the requirements for the electric generation plant. Extio 3 technology provides the power plant with a quick and seamless disaster recovery system that can be built into the simulator room. They needed certified hardware that could fit into their air-gapped environment. Matrox KVM over IP hardware required no additional software installations, which guaranteed the power generation facility would continue to comply with security and certification regulations.
Even though this is a unique IP KVM technology use case, the versatility and ease-of-use of Matrox Extio 3 Series enables the technology to adapt to any installation. Unlike its competitors, Extio 3 Series was the only product that would allow the client to maintain their current system while adding the new functionality they required. To ensure a smooth and proper installation, the client was at ease knowing that any questions or concerns would be quickly and thoroughly answered with Matrox Video’s ongoing and free customer support.
Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders were the simplest, safest, and most affordable way to create a backup system. The Matrox KVM over IP technology allows them to quickly re-route their video, keyboard, mouse, and audio streams from their primary site to the secondary simulator room. The power generation facility can maintain communication and control during and after a disaster, preventing any loss of production. In terms of cost, the installation of the Matrox Extio 3 Series was very reasonable and saved the company a considerable amount of money. The fact that it was able to be used in conjunction with the existing infrastructure was also a big selling point.