SCADA Implementation Models

SCADA Implementation Models


The term SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems. The term SCADA is often applied to centralized remote monitoring systems connected to multiple remote stations. SCADA systems can range from small to very  large both in terms of the number of nodes and the number of I/O points.

The purpose of this note is to describe alternative models for SCADA Implementation.

Current there are the following alternatives for SCADA System Implementation:

  • Owned SCADA Systems – Client owns and maintains the systems in-house.
  • Hosted or Cloud Based SCADA – Client leases or rents  SCADA Remote Monitoring from a Service Provider on a fee basis.
  • Managed SCADA Systems- System is customer owned but the operation is outsourced to Third Parties.

Large and intermediate companies may utilize all the implementation models in their operations. This is due to different business requirements within their organization. Companies that have grown through mergers and acquisitions will typically have many  Owned and Hosted systems.  Companies can have hundreds of SCADA systems within their operation. However, they will typically have a predominant SCADA System.

Customer Owned SCADA Systems

With Customer Owned SCADA Systems, Infrastructure is owned and operated by customers in-house.
The SCADA infrastructures include the SCADA Host Computers, SCADA Software, and Communication Networks.

In Customer Owned System, Communication subsystems such as satellite or cellular networks will  be provided by services providers

Historically, SCADA Systems were Customer Owned SCADA System. With the evolution of Cloud or Web technologies some SCADA applications that have migrated toward Cloud based system. However for Mission Critical Applications such as Pipelines,  Power Systems, Large Scale Water Systems, and Large Oil and Gas Field Operations; have remained as Customer Owned Systems. This is fact is based on security and mission critical requirements.

Typically Owned SCADA systems have limited web  access due to security concerns.

Cloud Based SCADA System

Cloud Hosted SCADA &  Remote Monitoring follows the Application Service Provider (ASP) Model, where the SCADA monitoring services are provided to customer on a fee basis from a  Centralized Infrastructure. Cloud based SCADA has seen increasing use especially in less mission critical tasks such as monitoring and data acquisition in some industries. Examples of this are monitoring applications such as Environmental Monitoring, and field SCADA for smaller oil and gas field operators. 

Cloud SCADA provides web based access allowing access to many different types of devices including Desktops, Laptops, Tablets,and SmartPhone.

In Cloud SCADA Implementations, the ASP will typically provide canned templates used commonly among its clients. Using templates the ASP can support many clients at low custom configuration costs.  With Cloud based systems, there is less flexibility and customization available.

For smaller scale systems, cloud SCADA is cost effective since the startup coststhere are minimal. As the number of sites goes up, the operational costs long term can be high compared to a owned system.

Managed SCADA

SCADA Implementation Alternatives Comparison


Hosted SCADA

Managed SCADA

SmallHigh per Nodex
Remote Desktopxx
Web Access xxx
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