9 Facts About the Ins and Outs of tManager

Supplier: Ti2 Pty Ltd By: Deane Horn
12 November, 2021

In Case You Missed It — Q&A From Our Recent tManager Webinar

We recently participated in a Rockwell Automation webinar that explored many of the features and benefits of tManager™. This PLC in-chassis transaction manager moves plant floor data between enterprise systems and PLCs. It also connects PLCs to cloud applications, analytics apps or dashboards in minutes. The webinar also involved a live demo, consisting of a  CompactLogix™ tManager module, utilizing an Ethernet connection to an SQL Express database and running on a local server. 

Over the course of the event, which happened on August 25, 2021, our experts answered audience questions about the ins and outs of tManager. We’ve compiled some of these questions and answers to broaden your understanding of how tManager works. Of course, if you have any additional questions, just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to answer!

1. What databases can I connect to tManager? 

tManager is compatible with a variety of databases including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, MySQL, AWS IoT SiteWise and Azure Cloud. This means your ControlLogix or CompactLogix PLCs can connect natively to databases and clouds, eliminating code, OPC protocol translations and PCs in the middle.

2. What does the tManager configuration process look like?

tManager’s configuration software provides extensive online help for end users, as well as unlimited installations on computers, making the system easy to set up and monitor. And once configured, tManager handles all data transfer and transactions within the hardware itself. In other words, software is no longer required after configuration. Once you insert tManager into the PLC rack, the in-chassis module automatically enumerates PLC and database tags and structures — no software coding or scripting required. And with licensed access to the Rockwell backplane, tManager eliminates the need for a separate computer or operating system.

3. How different is tManager from PTC applications? Do they complement each other?

tManager simplifies the flow of data between PLCs and PTC applications by removing OPC and middleware layers and by providing native store and forward buffering. As an in-chassis module, it also eliminates the need for a PC. And, you don’t have to worry about any software coding. The configuration process for tManager consists of simple drop-down menus.

4. Can tManager connect to OSISoft Pi Systems? 

Although tManager will not send data directly to PI Historian, it can send data to SQL Servers, which PI Historian can access using the correct drivers.

5. Have you implemented tManager as a replacement to the FactoryTalk Transaction Manager in any production environments? 

Yes. Using tManager instead of FactoryTalk Transaction Managers has the added advantages of eliminating the server and software, increasing transaction speeds and decreasing project risks.

6. From a cybersecurity point of view, what are some of the security features available with tManager? 

Unlike a PC, tManager isn’t subjected to anti-virus updates and ongoing patches. Being a ControlLogix in-chassis module, it therefore resists viruses. Other security features include Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, username and password protection and separate independent Ethernet ports.

7. What is the maximum distance from tManager to the server cabinet?

Because tManager runs on an Ethernet connection, standard Ethernet cable distances apply — i.e. 100 meters for copper cables. You can run repeaters to extend this distance, and many customers will opt to connect to a remote SQL Database Server over VPN/WAN.

8. What is tManager’s data rate from the PLC to Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

The answer to this question depends on the rate you set in the trigger. During our demo, for example, we set the rate for 1 second. Although faster rates are possible, there are many variables to consider. Triggers can be either time-based or event-driven.

9. Does tManager require firmware updates and if so, how regularly are these updates released? 

Firmware updates are posted on our tManager support page and are free to download. Updates are rare, however, as the core code remains stable even after 15 years. You only need these updates to support new database revisions or PLC models.