Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: Any questions we haven't answered?
A: If you can't find the answer to your questions on this page, please email us and we can answer them. We may even add your questions to this list.
Q: I suppose Aquadapt software needs to run on some pretty impressive hardware?
A: Actually we run the software on rather ordinary office PCs ranging from 1 GHz to 3.2 GHz. The faster the better of course. We would recommend hyper-threaded computers running Windows Server 2008 Web Edition as this gives a good base for supporting multiple concurrent users when running our Intranet interface. Not a standard office PC maybe, but usually good value for money.
Q: Windows 7, Server 2003, 2008 or Vista?
A: Aquadapt software will run under any modern Windows application. We prefer Server 2008 Web Edition as this has good multi-processor support and easy remote access support systems in place. We would be pleased to discuss hardware and operating systems with your IT department.
Q: Do I have to buy a license, and if so how much do I have to pay every year?
A: Yes, a license is required, but the good news is that it is a single payment for a perpetual license. It's yours to keep at no additional annual cost as long as you want it. We do however recommend that you enter into an annual maintenance contract.
Q: What does the maintenance contract cover?
A: This annual fee covers:
- 24 x 7 telephone and email support
- access to selected upgrades
- priority response from our development team
- access to our online web support request tracking system
- best of all - free modification of your Aquadapt system as you add minor new pump stations and storage tanks.
Q: What software comes with the Aquadapt system?
A: Typically when you buy Aquadapt software you get the following:
- Aquadapt realtime Solver running on its own computer(s) with interfaces to your SCADA system(s)
- Aquadapt Historical Data Server with enough storage to last you decades
- Operator interface screens, either embedded in the SCADA or in separate Windows
- Manager interface screens running as an application or on Intranet pages
- Offline version of Aquadapt Solver, useful for running "what-if" scenarios or looking at the impact changes may have, such as new pumps or changed electricity tariff structure, before they are installed or apply
- Database server and front end tools for managing the Aquadapt system and its many files, for example the pump curve entry and modification tool
- Data Cleaner - our proprietary data tool which makes sure telemetry data is verified and corrected before it is stored
And optionally the following:
- Aquadapt Dashboard - our Intranet-based data visualization tool.
Q: Does Aquadapt software replace my SCADA system?
A: No, Aquadapt software works with your existing SCADA system. It reads data from the SCADA database and then writes set-points to the pumps via the existing operator screen tags.
Q: Does Aquadapt software replace my operators?
A: Definitely not! Aquadapt software is like an Auto Pilot which carries out the millions of calculations required to achieve a good mass balance in your supply system for lowest overall cost. This frees up the operators to concentrate on the daily tasks such as shut-down scheduling, maintenance planning, plant load balancing, water quality testing and any one of the thousand and one unique things that pop up each and every day in a complex real world system.
Q: How can a reservoir level be predicted to go up when it is below minimum and no pumps/valves are scheduled on to fill it?
A: If a reservoir level is below the minimum limit this breaches a primary constraint. There could be many reasons for this including bringing a tank back into service or recovery after pipeline or pump station failure. To allow the Aquadapt Solver to find a solution we make it assume the storage tank it is at minimum level at the start of the solve period. Aquadapt software may then show the tank level at this level which is greater than the actual level for the next period even when nothing is actually filling the reservoir. Normally back up level control will ensure the tank stays above minimum. We indicate that this is not a true indication of level by shading all of the level values on the screen grey instead of blue to make it more obvious that this level data is invalid.
Q: How far ahead does Aquadapt software Schedule?
A: Aquadapt software schedules up to 48 hours ahead but displays a 24-hour window of time on the operator screen. This shows the previous three hours and the next 21 hours. As the day progresses Aquadapt software continues to create new schedules for the rest of the current day and the whole of the next day. At the end of the day there is 24 and a 1/2 hours of schedule, and half an hour later as the day rolls over the Aquadapt software goes back to full 48 hour scheduling.
Q: Isn't this software going to have a big impact on my control network?
A: No, Aquadapt software collects data from the SCADA server once every 10 minutes. It reads just storage tank levels and flow totals. Typically this takes milliseconds and will be unnoticeable to the operators. Note it gets this data from the server and not from the field so there is no impact on your telemetry operations at all.
Q: Does Aquadapt software run on my SCADA server?
A: No, Aquadapt software runs on a separate PC connected to the same control network as the SCADA system.
Q: We have some large pumps, how many starts per day will be scheduled?
A: Aquadapt software schedules pumps within modifiable criteria. This can include restricting the number of starts per day or even the time slots when starts are permissible; to align to shift changes for example. We can even work out the cost impact of reduced starts so you can evaluate the cost benefit of allowing more starts per day versus expected maintenance costs.
Q: Why does the Aquadapt software run again every half an hour, hasn't it already solved for a whole day?
A: Yes it has, but the day changes as the weather changes, as demand changes and as plant capacity and availability change. Aquadapt software adapts to these changing parameters and finds an even better pump schedule if it can. The operator can also request the software to re-solve at any time, and can even ask it to re-solve without sending changes to the pumps so "what-if" scenarios can be generated and tested safely.
Q: Does a client have access to the source code?
A: The source code is our Intellectual Property and is not issued as part of a project. We do however as a matter of course place a client's source code into escrow storage with Iron Mountain, the largest escrow company in the US. You the client can access this data if agreed release conditions occur. This provides security that you will be able to maintain your system in the future regardless of any changes in our business.
Q: Does Aquadapt software run on the office LAN or the Control LAN?
A: We generally run two servers. One is on the Control LAN and reads and writes Scada data. The other is on the office LAN and allows access to Aquadapt data from any computer in the clients network. A secure independent network exists between the two computers which does not allow bridging or data pass-through. This keeps the Control Network safe from viruses, worms and the like.
Q: How is Remote Support Access kept secure?
A: We work with your IT department to agree a secure access method. Typically this is secure VPN access to a server, authentication, then separate secure access to our servers.
Q: Security is a big issue after 9/11, does Derceto have a security policy?
A: Yes, we take security of information seriously. A document on our security policy can be issued for your legal department to review. We also have external vetting of our staff and can provide documentation to satisfy your requirements.
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ABOUT SIMON BUNN –
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER
After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) Simon spent the next 21 years in control systems design, rising to become a partner in The Beca Group in 1999. In 2000 Simon used his experience of control systems and water treatment processes to design the complex software at the heart of the Aquadapt product, the world’s first commercially available real-time pump scheduling optimizer. Email Simon
Neal Spivey, Director, Water Production Division, Gwinnett County DWR, Atlanta, Georgia.