Distributed Test Manager (DTM)

Triangle MicroWorks Distributed Test Manager (DTM) supports the design, testing, and validation of a substation or substation components. 

Overview

The DTM compliments Triangle MicroWorks device testing tools, such as the Test Harness for DNP3, IEC60870, Modbus and the Test Suite for IEC61850, by providing an environment designed to organize and manage many clients/servers on a single computer or distributed across a network.

The DTM was designed to support testing with multiple devices. This includes a few devices simulating a small substation to hundreds of devices performing load testing or a system, network, or component. The DTM allows the user to ‘simulate’ all of these devices on a single computer or distribute them across a network. All of this can be easily managed from a single application running anywhere on the network.

 

Features

  • Create and manage multiple protocol specific (IEC61850, IEC6870, DNP3, Modbus, OPC) clients and/or servers on a single machine or distributed across a network.
  • Manipulate data in any client server using a variety of techniques:
    1. Manipulate an individual data attribute on any client or server manually using a custom user interface.
    2. Enable automatic data changes on specific attribute(s) at a user specified interval.
    3. Capture and playback Comma Separated Value (CSV) files on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Display a real time visual representation of the substation or system using Insight, a graphical editor that supports the generation of a wide variety of displays, including one line diagrams.
  • Model devices and/or behavior using a built in scripting language.
  • Model devices and/or behavior using a built in flow chart.
  • Interface to external systems and devices under test using OPC.

Use Cases

The distributed test manager was designed to be flexible and support a variety of use cases. Here are just a few examples.

Load Testing
When developing components that are required to operate in a network it is highly desirable to test them under conditions in excess of what they are likely to encounter in the field. It is also desirable to know exactly what the limits are. Attempting this type of testing using tools designed to simulate a single device is difficult, and consistently repeating the test to verify results is almost impossible. A tool such as DTM that can manage and coordinate 100s of devices distributed across a network is critical.

System Testing
Modern substations can be very complicated and hence the process of configuring them and validating the configuration is complex. The DTM can load the substation configuration file(s) and simulate the communications of the entire substation. This can be used to test components of the substation, validate functionality, and for training or documentation.

Substation Retrofit

Frequently an existing substation needs to be reconfigured or upgraded because an existing device is no longer supported, or new functionality is required. Ideally candidate devices would be configured as required and exercised in an environment as similar to the actual substation as possible before the substation is actually upgraded. The DTM allows the simulation of any portion of a substation and will generate/process messages and events from real devices as configured.

Architecture

The diagram shows the DTM architecture. This architecture was designed to be as flexible as possible in order to support a wide range of use cases. The main components are:

  • DTHost – service that runs all the protocol clients/servers (i.e. IEC61850, IEC60870, DNP, etc.). DTHost is an application, usually run as a Windows Service, which can host multiple protocol specific clients and/or servers. Multiple copies of the DTHost application can be run on a single computer, or spread across any number of computers on your network. Each DTM installation will require AT LEAST one copy of DTHost.
  • DTControl – service that coordinates activities between multiple instances of DTHost. Again, DTControl is an application which is usually run as a Window Service. Each DTM installation will require exactly one copy of DTControl.
  • DTManager – Provides the user interface to manage the DTM network. This application can be run from any computer that has access to the network on which the DTControl and DTHost applications are running.
DTM Architecture