Mitigating chip shortage through workload consolidation

Since 2021, the chip shortage has been affecting the supply chain in many industries. Companies often have full order books but cannot deliver their products or even give firm delivery times for new orders because of missing electronic components. The key challenge is being able to deliver without incurring additional costs and without having to scale back on automation capabilities and the amount of software used.

We propose “workload consolidation”, i.e. the execution of functionalities of multiple industrial PCs (IPCs) and/or dedicated controllers on a single, powerful host computer as a short-term remedy. It utilizes readily available technologies such as hardware virtualization and containerization, resource pooling and partitioning, to optimize the use of available computational resources. This reduces implementation cost and effort and allows companies to get back on track with their deliveries in a shorter amount of time. We discuss three types of workloads – virtual machines (VMs), containerized applications (consolidated and managed e.g. with Docker or Kubernetes), as well as operational technology (OT) applications interfacing with field equipment and industrial field buses – and show how these can be consolidated and executed in parallel on multi-core IPCs and servers.

Workload consolidation also offers additional benefits over time, such as cost reduction and reduced complexity, particularly when using a managed edge computing platform like TTTech Industrial’s Nerve.

Download our whitepaper and discover how the comprehensive workload management and workload consolidation capabilities in Nerve’s Edge Hosting and Soft PLC modules support easy installation and management, cost savings through virtualization and unified remote access in one modular and scalable solution.

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