Virtualization As An Enabler

Businesses are challenged to reduce operating costs while maintaining plant safety and production levels. At the same time, they are working with less staff and require accelerated project commissioning at lower cost. In the control system environment, these challenges translate into the following requirements:

  • Reduced hardware and Operating System changes
  • Improved computer platform resource utilization
  • Ease of maintaining the system
  • Improved availability, reliability and disaster recovery.

Virtualization enables businesses to achieve these objectives while taking advantage of technology advancements offered on these platforms.

Virtualization provides a software layer that abstracts operating systems and applications from the underlying physical infrastructure. This hypervisor layer provides an environment for software computers (known as virtual machines), to execute the operating systems and applications that are traditionally installed on physical computer hardware.

In the context of process control systems, many of today's manufacturers require separate servers to support different applications. With virtualization, a single server can simultaneously run multiple virtual machines that are insulated from each other and the underlying hardware. Virtualization also encapsulates these virtual machines into a single set of files that can be easily moved, replicated, and converted to templates that allow new machines to be generated with ease.

Virtualization provides unique benefits to the control system environment, and its implementation requires guidance from the solution provider. When evaluating virtualization technology providers, end users should ask:

  • Does the supplier have a dedicated, strategic approach to virtualization, including a roadmap for future products?
  • Does the supplier have the ability to provide a complete virtualization solution consisting of all the required components?
  • Does the supplier provide installation and configuration assistance to aid in virtualization deployment, including performance guidelines for supported nodes?
  • Does the supplier have the ability to design, deliver and maintain its virtualization solutions over the long term?
  • Does the supplier have proven expertise in virtualizing process control systems in the industrial domain?

Honeywell was the first automation supplier to provide a turnkey virtualization solution and continues to offer industry leading solutions that reduce implementation and lifecycle management costs for automation systems. Honeywell is the leader in process control virtualization and continues to provide innovation and valuable solutions for the world of open system technologies.

Honeywell’s Experion® Virtualization Solutions include the following:


Proven, Next Generation hardware and software from Honeywell’s technology partners provide the foundation for virtualization.


Honeywell applications across the entire control, optimization, and business layers are tested and certified for the virtual environment.


Honeywell leverages virtualization technology to create a range of innovative solutions for automation systems. Honeywell’s Next Generation Premium Platform and Experion Backup Control Center provide superior availability and reliability to our industrial control systems.


Honeywell has the expertise to help users assess, design, implement, and manage their virtualize systems. Comprehensive documentation, training options, and a global organization of certified resources help users to readily achieve the benefits that virtualization can offer.

Benefits Of Virtualization

Process control systems employ numerous platforms and present opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvements. Virtualization brings compelling value for both operators building new plants and for those seeking to reduce the lifecycle costs of their existing systems.

Which Platform Is Right For Me?

Honeywell was the first automation supplier to provide turnkey virtualization solutions that are supported from design through implementation and management. We were also the first to provide virtualize project design capability, and now offer a turnkey Premium Platform with advanced virtualization capabilities.

Honeywell offers two platforms to meet your specific needs. Each platform is based on a different type of server, but both deliver complete turnkey solutions.


Essential Platform

Premium Platform

Avoid reinstalls for a hardware refresh

Upgrade and patch rapid fallback

Computer Infrastructure reduction

Facility savings (space, power, cooling, weight)

Add new ICSS nodes without requiring additional hardware

Fault tolerance

Simple and scalable shared storage

Full remote maintenance of hardware

Extended life hardware platform

Automatic recovery from failed nodes

Replace computer hardware transparently

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