Virtual Machines Running Clients from 'Toasters' - Safety Concerns

Hi Guys,

We run virtual machines from ‘toasters’ in our production area which run Ignition clients to control our machinery and systems. This is nice because it reduces the cost of hardware.

The problem with this over physical computers at the location is that I have no way of making sure that the person using the Ignition controls is physically at the piece of machinery - a bit of a safety concern.

Has anyone come across something like this? Anyone have any ideas to solve this? My first thought is a USB drive connected to the toaster that contains a file that I check for the existence of before allowing controls with such safety concerns.

Sounds like an industrial safety concern that can be answered with emergency stop buttons and an emergency stop reset that MUST be triggered at the machine. I do not think that any software solution is sufficiently safe or would meet safety standards.

I think I know what you are talking about by toasters, and if I am, I have two theories. Can they be set via a static IP that way you can identify the location from that?

Other option I would potentially consider would be some sort of RFID badge or barcode or other form of identifier at the machine that could confirm that person X is at the machine.

USB drive probably is the cheapest, but at least where I used to work, they might have tried to work around that.


Seriously, if Ignition is the only controller, your safety circuits need to be hardwired. Just like you would need with a non-safety-rated PLC.

That said, it is good practice to check the client machine’s physical identity via IP address and/or MAC IDs before enabling your operator interface.

The toaster is basically a keyboard mouse and monitor that is connected to our network and remotes into a VM we have running from a server that I.T. manages. Maybe a bit of a safety concern was poor choice of words.

All I am trying to achieve is that no-one can operate the machine unless they are at the machine. For instance, I don’t want someone to be able to change a recipe unless they are at the machine. I already have it such that the user must have a particular role and that controls from the Ignition windows are only enabled if the request is coming from that machine (IP address/machine name check). But this doesn’t stop someone with the same role remote-ing into this machine from a different location and changing something.

Ahh. I understand. Ignition will only see the VM, not the thin client (aka toaster). You will have to implement any such security limitations in your thin-client-to-VM path on your own.

Consider running the real Ignition client on that toaster. In my experience, such thin clients have enough horsepower to do so, particularly if running Linux.


Thanks Phil, never considered running the client on the toaster itself. I have asked I.T. for one of these thin clients for testing!

I am concerned about Ignition V8 only supporting 64-bit OSs…

We are running on 7.9.10 right now on windows. Installing a native client launcher and java on our IBM thin clients fits and runs as needed. I will say however doing updates on them is a slow process as they don’t have a lot of hp under the hood.

V8 can be run on 32bit OS’, however it’s a process to get it to.

And a relevant topic: