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Nerve's modules and their features

Base Features

Regardless of which module you license, Nerve offers a set of base features. These features provide a secure foundation for managing software and devices on our IIoT platform Nerve.

The Nerve Management System provides a central point for managing all connected edges. Users update the Service OS, monitor performance and deploy and manage workloads. It is available as a hosted service run by TTTech Industrial, or for on-premise (or on customer cloud) installation.

The hypervisor ensures with HW based separation a perfect isolation for the real time performance, reduces complexity and substantially increases runtime security.

Nerve DNA, short for Deterministic Node Automation, is a mechanism to ease edge commissioning and scale roll out agendas. Working in a declarative way of configuration the user can list all applications and configuration definitions in a DNA file. The DNA is sent for application to the edges.

Nerve includes a wealth of features to ensure that the system always operates securely and keeps production data secure. All connections are secured using TLS. Nerve is regularly penetration tested. Software processes are according to IEC62443.

Nerve Nodes offer full functionality even when not connected to the Management System for whatever reason. When a node comes online, the Management System syncs to the node and recognizes any modifications made while it was disconnected.

Nerve can be managed through an API for automating repetitive tasks or for connecting the Nerve Management System to other systems.

All system events, edge events and applications are logged centrally. Pre-configured dashboards allow users to get started quickly.

Nerve Edge SW can run on any IPC. For guaranteed real time performance a device qualification service is available. Nerve without real-time capabilities can be used as VM in virtualized environments.

Nerve Architecture

Edge Hosting

The Edge Hosting feature enables you to run multiple applications in the form of e.g. docker containers and virtual machines side-by-side on standard industrial hardware and manage them locally or remotely from cloud.

Docker container management   

  • Nerve Edge can run standard Docker containers. Docker images are securely stored in Nerve's Management Systems registry for distribution to the Edges. Nerve allows to apply persistent configuration files that include specific settings. 

Virtual machine management 

  • Nerve Edge can run virtual machines in its hypervisor. Applications and operating systems can be migrated from existing solutions into Nerve. Virtual machines can be created on an edge, then pushed to the workload repository in the Nerve Management System and distributed to all edges worldwide. 

CODESYS Applications - 61131-3  

  • Nerve Edge supports CODESYS 61131-3 PLC applications as workloads. 61131-3 PLC applications can be programmed and tested using the CODESYS IDE.  

The workload repository in Nerve's Management System holds all kind of applications and their configuration. Workloads are Applications including with all the parameters needed for installation. Edges are required to use only the central repository as workload source to ensure security and manageability.

Secure roll out agendas can be driven with the Nerve Management system. Roll outs can include all Nerve Edges worldwide or target only individual Edges. Service personnel are not required to modify any network, remote service or resource reservation settings and can immediately use the Edge after roll out.

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Cloud based - Central workload repository

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Secure roll out agendas to multiple Nerve Edges can be driven with the cloud based Nerve Management system.

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The Edge Hosting enables to run multiple applications in the form of e.g. docker containers and virtual machines side-by-side 

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CODESYS Application - 61131-3

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Docker container management

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Virtual Machine management

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The Nerve SW runs on standard industrial hardware


Data Services

The Data Services feature supports you in creating real-world IoT use cases, offering analytics, contemporary dashboards, and seamless data transfer between sensors and the cloud. Whether you're retrieving sensor data, connecting with a Siemens PLC, storing and visualizing data, or sending it to third-party cloud services, this feature simplifies the process.

The Nerve Data Gateway can be configured to read data from different sources and forward it to deployed application or clouds. It is flexibly configurable for multiple sources and sinks. The data gateway is optimized for high performance and permits short cycle times of down to 1 ms. It is graphically configurable for quick usability. 

The Data Gateway also includes sophisticated OPC UA server and client functionality. Both server and client support encryption and authentication using certificates or username/password. 

The Data Gateway supports MQTT as input and output protocol, again with certificate and username/password-based security features. The data is formatted in JSON and includes exact timestamping information. 

For high performance data exchange between applications and the analytics applications the Data Gateway allows the use of ZeroMQ.

The Data Gateway can directly send data to 3rd-party clouds. e.g. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, giving you a head start for your applications on Microsoft Azure.

Nerve has built-in visualization for data at the edge. An unmodified Grafana system is integrated for that purpose. It accesses the built-in databases as data sources.

Data Services
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Built-in data connector to 3rd party clouds e.g. Azure IoT connector

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Get Data from Fieldbus Sensors, e.g. EtherCAT or PROFINET

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Database

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Multi-protocol Data Gateway (OPC UA, S7, MQTT, etc.)

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Integrated data visualization in dashboards

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For high performance data exchange between applications the Data Gateway allows the use of ZeroMQ

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Connect to a PLC and collect data e.g. via OPC UA


Remote Services

The Remote Services feature offers a range of features that enable you to remotely connect to workloads and devices in the field. Nerve becomes a secure hub (jump host) for remote access to all devices in the machine or production network.

You can connect to services running in workloads, CODESYS runtime running on the edge or the Service OS of the Edge itself. Remote tunneling can be used to connect, for example to a web-based user interface (UI), a command line, or an FTP server.

With the tunnelling mechanism even devices in an edge’s network can be reached an configured. For example, accessing with engineering tools the local S7 or OPC UA Server.

Nerve integrates a remote shell access directly from within the browser for workloads and external devices. Nerve permits remote access to the screens of workloads directly inside your browser. This also enables you to observe the boot and shutdown process of a workload.

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Remote Connections can be initiated by any PC with the Nerve Remote Connection Software

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Remote connections are always securely executed by the Management System

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Remote connection to the Local Management UI of the Nerve Edge

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Remote connection to deployed applications of the edge for example to a web-based user interface (UI), a command line, or an FTP server

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Remote connection to the Service OS of the Edge itself

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Accessing external devices

With the tunelling mechanism even devices in an edge's network can be reached and configured. For example, accessing with engineering tools the local S7 or OPC UA Server


Soft PLC

The Soft PLC module can be used to run machine control workloads on standard industrial hardware and access fieldbus-level sensors and actuators.

The integrated CODESYS Soft PLC (Version 3.5) is fully managed, the runtime can be reached with remote services and the CODESYS 61131-3 PLC applications can be distributed to nodes via the Nerve Management System.

The Soft PLC supports multiple fieldbus protocols. It can act as an EtherCAT master, Modbus Master, PROFINET master and PROFINET device. Nerve supports a dedicated, high speed network port for the fieldbus connections to CODESYS.

The CODESYS Soft PLC runs down to 1 ms cycle time, taking advantage of the computational power of Intel CPUs.

The CODESYS Soft PLC includes retain variable support. Nerve provides a library to help users with this feature.

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Fieldbus connectivity e.g. PROFINET, EtherCAT

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Fieldbus connectivity e.g. PROFINET, EtherCAT

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The CODESYS Soft PLC runs down to 1ms cycle time, taking advantage of the computational power of Intel CPUs

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The integrated CODESYS Soft PLC can run machine control workloads and access fieldbus-level sensors and actuators


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