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Business Overview

Technical Differentiators

Xelas Energy differentiators

Xelas Energy products focus on enabling seamless smart grid network management.

Our portfolio ranges from developing IEC 61850 server functionality in embedded systems, via the various protocol stacks, to out-of-the box Client systems for the control of all underlying systems and to build a structured logical model of the network.

We offer many tools (such as advanced APIs, supporting libraries, simulators, modellers and test tools)  to hide some of the detailed complexity of the IEC 61850 protocols and models, to enable developers to use modern web-based development methods, and to ensure these developments are efficient, reliable and standard compliant.

On top of this smart grid management foundation, we allow open and easy service- and application development of advanced business process support systems, for example through SOA-based integration with CIM.

Below we explain in a bit more detail how our various products work together towards this ONE idea.

Embedded development

Network devices, before they are able to interoperate, need to be enriched with IEC 61850 management capability. The embedded development toolkit provides an ‘out of the box’ rudimentary server. This server software needs to be connected to the device logic, and needs to run on the device operating system. The architecture has features to support easy potation to various embedded OS systems (an OS encapsulation layer) and hooks to easily bond to the actual device.

Through a rich implementation of the ACSI layer, binding the internal device system logic and standardized protocol logic is made as efficient as possible.

Protocols

Xelas Energy provides all the standard protocols within IEC 61850: MMS, GOOSE and SV.  All communication stack technology has been developed in-house. The MMS stack is built upon 7 layer OSI technology and an RFC 1006 implementation that was developed by Xelas Software and deployed in the telecom space for 25 years.

Client applications

Management applications to control various devices functions and gather device information can be rapidly developed using the Xelas Energy client development toolkit. The client toolkit provides a large off-the-shelf base system, that handles the communication over all IEC 61850 protocols and builds a complete information model of all devices being managed. This information model can be loaded into the client (using SCL description files as defined by the IEC standard), or can be built through “discovery” of the connected equipment servers. Communication functions are optimized by our rich ACSI protocol layer implementation. Developers, using the toolkit, can further optimize these interactions. The system can be script driven and various example scripts are provided to illustrate the possibilities.

The client system not only manages everything “below” but also translates the IEC 61850 information model into the database schemas of a relational SQL database. In this way the complete, real time network information is translated into “common” IT resources.

This database representation allows additional client management functions, and any type of application function that need to be based on the actual managed network, to be easily developed.  Developers familiar with the RDBM technology will find this task easy since many of the IEC 61850 details are hidden. In summary the “basic” Xelas Energy 61850 client is ready to provide various information services to any application above.

Simulators

To facilitate more efficient development of client and server systems, Xelas Energy offers simulators to test interoperability and communication during system development. These simulators can be regarded as lean implementations of the full embedded development toolkit (for servers) and client development toolkit (for clients), since they provide complete simulated system functionality (with restricted further development and integration functions). Xelas Energy also offers tools to effectively manage the often large and complex SCL files, by offering an SCL modeler.

Conformance testing

For quality assurance and regression testing, Xelas Energy offers a complete 61850-10 compliance test suite. A complete set of scripts (similar to the scripts used inside the client and server) is provided to efficiently and automatically test all the functions as defined in the IEC standards. Selecting the relevant tests for the equipment is again fully based on the 61850 prescriptions. Any device claiming 61850 functionality needs to list its compliant functions in a PICS list. This list can be used to select the corresponding tests in the Xelas Energy test suite.

 The Xelas Energy client webGUI is fully integrated with the conformance test suites and simplifies running the tests and reviewing test results.

Data integration

The diagram below describes the Xelas Energy network data integration framework. As explained previously the Xelas Energy client system provides a full representation of the managed network translated into a relational database format.  This data is of great importance to many applications used within DSOs and TSOs. The information can be provided as an information service of the Xelas Energy client in accordance with modern SOA principles.  However, information models within a SOA need to be integrated.  The best developed standard information model for operations and business management applications, with many dedicated features for configuration management, performance management, network operations, maintenance management, Scada integration and GIS integration is IEC 61970- often called CIM (common information model).  The Xelas Energy network data integration framework provides integration between the 61850 information model, as offered by the Xelas Energy client, and other information models such as CIM.  Various additional features are offered, to increase security or to better handle real-time dataflows inside more transaction oriented networks.

Leading Operational Technology (OT) functions:

  • All defined 61850 operations are supported
    • The Xelas Energy product line is built to support all the by IEC 61850 defined functions. 61850 offers much more functions than the legacy protocols it can replace. Interoperability between different vendor products, all offering partial support of the IEC 61850 standards is one of the most mentioned frustrations in projects. Using the Xelas Energy conformance test suite, you are certain that the required operations are supported in the right way, so incomplete support of other equipment can easily be diagnosed, verified, tested and work-arounds can be provided.
    • Also: Both persistent and non-persistent datasets are supported.
  • MMS, GOOSE, SV, 60870-5-104, SNMP, XML protocol adapters
    • Xelas Energy offers off-the-shelf adapters for all IEC 61850 protocols, including adapters for general management communication protocols such as SNMP.  An adapter to build on plain ASCII code is also available.  The Xelas network data integration product includes a development kit to build new adapters (or for Xelas Energy professional services team to develop your adapter on your behalf).
    • Out of the box adaptation logic is provided for many “popular” mediations, such as the mediation between IEC 61850 information modelling and CIM (IEC 61970-10)
  • Dedicated models for substation (IEC 61850), wind power (IEC 61400), hydro power and DER
    • Xelas Energy products can handle readily available dedicated information models for various IEC standards. Management of substations can therefore be seamlessly integrated with management of wind parks, CSP, hydro or different distributed energy resources (DER).
  • Fully automated long duration client-server regression testing
    • It is easy to claim carrier grade reliability, and much harder to prove. Using our 61850 compliance test suite, client –server communication can be tested fully automatically. For as long as you want.
    • HTML Test reports give clear indications when specific test parts were not fully successful. Detailed logs and wireshark captures can be added if required. This makes test reports easy to interpret – and therefore enables rapid bug fixing.
    • Test diagnosis reports include OSI layers (which are also Xelas owned protocols), MMS, ACSI etc. , and It is easy to define test subsets
    • Many-to Many communication also makes it possible to test many clients towards many servers similarly
    • This very high grade of testing automation provides a huge cost advantage for equipment and application vendors.
    • Xelas energy products are developed and tested in the same way as we test our software for telecommunications networks, with long term tests under heavy load, using high numbers of simulators and against changing test scenarios, developed on the basis of twenty years of support for customers such as Nokia , Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Deutsche Telecom, AT&T and many others.
  • Secure encryption and authentication
    • Xelas Energy offers additional IEC 62351 functionality on top of MMS, providing secure encryption and authentication.
  • Network data integration framework OT features
    • The framework consists of adapters, a common bus, script driven translator and system management and configuration components in a totally distributed architecture. Components can be run anywhere in your network
    • Off-the-shelf protocol adapters are available for IEC 60870-5-104, OPC-DA, ODBC, XML, SNMP, and of course for 61850-8-1 (MMS) and 61970/10 (XML-RDF as defined in CIM)
    • Adapters can be duplicated and reused for any type of  equipment/application that uses its protocol
    • Also a basic ASCII adapter is available off-the-shelf.
    • The framework includes a powerful adapter development toolkit, to rapidly develop adapters for legacy devices.
    • The protocol adapters provide the basic semantic protocol translation. The adapters are loaded with metadata, and can be reloaded in runtime
    • The logical functions are provided separately within dynamically changeable script engines.
    • Within the logical function translation engines, again a large part of the specific protocol-to-protocol translation logic is already prepared/preconfigured.  Only customer specific tables and parameters need to be added during the integration setup.

Architectural benefits

  • Both Standardisation and Integration
    • We do not see IEC 61850 as a goal, we see it as an important path toward seamless smart energy network management.  The Xelas Energy 61850 product line includes many of the tools and functions you need to develop IEC 61850 management, or expand your equipment or existing applications with IEC 61850 management. All functions of communication for overall network integration.
  • Test and conformance tools are included
    • Within the various Xelas Energy products you will always find the tools to test, and to verify conformance of integrated equipment or applications with the IEC standards. We provide feature-rich simulators. Using our 61850 compliance test suite, communication regression tests can be automated to a high degree.
  • Maximal scalability
    • The architecture and  communication is based on the operational need to distribute components into various applications and equipment. This fully distributed architecture, built for optimal reuse of functions of components, makes it easy to scale the numbers of components to fit the required performance..
  • Optimal reuse of functions (through applications services) and logic (in adapters and scripts)
    • The Xelas Energy product architecture provides robust overall seamless network management solutions, through cleverly defined building blocks that can easily be replicated, distributed and functions can be reused. Internal communication between the Xelas management building blocks is mostly based on  TCP/IP.
  • Possibilities to reduce number of interfaces and intermediate boxes
    • The re-use of functions, logic and components make it possible to streamline your network management infrastructure. Often the total number of interfaces between network equipment and applications can be reduced, and you can critically evaluate whether separate intermediate boxes are really required.