Upgrade or Replace? How to Determine the Best Strategy for Your SCADA System

Technology moves fast, and keeping up with it can be frustrating and expensive. Plant SCADA systems are built on advancing technology, which typically becomes outdated within 10 years of installation. And as SCADA systems become obsolete and unsupported, utilities struggle with staying current. Ultimately, they need to determine if—in the long run—it’s better to upgrade or replace their system.

Determining whether to upgrade or replace your SCADA system is complicated and overwhelming. You must consider costs, downtime, training and support. In addition, there are myriad questions to answer.

  • Should you stay with the current SCADA vendor and upgrade to their new system, or change vendors and systems?
  • Is it best to use the same vendor for PLC hardware and HMI software, or should you pick two different vendors?
  • What functionality do you need? will an upgrade meet those requirements?
  • How will an upgrade or replacement increase your visibility, improve your control and heighten your security?

In this award-winning paper, McKim & Creed I&C Manager Mike Stoup, PE explains how utilities can make the decision whether to upgrade or replace by:

  • objectively analyzing their existing SCADA system,
  • examining whether a new system can accommodate their needs and wants, and
  • defining budgets, schedules and a suitable migration path.

Mike discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-phase migration plan that can span two or three years. And he addresses the challenge of hardware and software platforms that become outdated before the conversion is complete.

Deciding where, when and how to spend funding will make the difference between a simple replacement with little added functionality, and a system improved through a well-designed solution. To learn more, click here.