The OPC Foundation defines standards for online data exchange between automation systems. They address access to current data (OPC DA), alarms and events (OPC A&E) and historical data (OPC HDA). Those standards are successfully applied in industrial automation.
The new OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) unifies the existing standards and brings them to state-of-the-art technology using service-oriented architecture (SOA). Main advantages of the new standard are:
Platform-independent technology allows the deployment of OPC UA beyond current OPC applications only running on Windows-based PC systems. OPC UA can also run on embedded systems as well as Linux / UNIX based enterprise systems.
The provided information can be generically modeled and therefore arbitrary information models can be provided using OPC UA.
This book gives an easy to understand introduction into OPC UA and explains the concepts of the standard and other relevant topics that are not directly addressed by the standard.