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Monitoring OT With Raspberry Pi and Centreon

Blog Monitoring OT With Raspberry Pi and Centreon

It might be a little late to pick raspberries, but it’s never too late to start monitoring operational technologies, such as SCADA. And it’s now easier than ever:  Centreon 23.10 lets you monitor your industrial environment using Raspberry Pi, a robust mini server on which you can install a monitoring poller. This is great news for any company wanting to safeguard business continuity through improved visibility on industrial processes, utilities, and infrastructure. As OT is getting more integrated with IT systems, it’s only logical to start monitoring it like the rest of the IT estate. This blog post covers what OT is, why it needs to be monitored, and how it can be done using Centreon. We are linking a tutorial and a real life example at the end. And just so you know, there’s currently a Beta version trial you can join regarding this topic. With all of this, you should be good to start reaping the benefits of monitoring your industrial environment.

What’s new?

You can install a Centreon poller on a Raspberry Pi, a tiny platform that comes in many different shapes and sizes, all suitable for industrial applications. Running the Centreon poller on such a device makes it easier to monitor remote locations running operational technologies.

Because IT people are just starting to be involved with OT, let’s take a minute to review some basic concepts. If you don’t need this refresher, you can just move on directly to the Centreon/Raspberry Pi tutorial.

What is OT and how is it different from IT?

OT stands for Operational Technology. It refers to the hardware and software systems used to monitor, detect, and control changes in infrastructure, physical devices, processes, and events in industrial operations. While IT primarily focuses on the use and management of information and the technologies associated with computing, OT deals directly with the real-world processes and operations in industries such as manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas, transportation, and more. One famous example of an OT environment is SCADA.

Trending: OT and IT convergence

OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) used to belong to completely different spheres. IT people rarely had to worry about OT as those technologies were not connected to the network. Driven by the rise of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), but also by the necessity to enhance operational efficiency and business intelligence, the OT and IT universes are now becoming more integrated. Operational technologies, for example, are connected to business applications running in a data center or in the cloud. Thus, OT are now subjected to the same issues plaguing IT, namely unavailability, downtime, and cybersecurity breaches.  Hence the need to monitor these environments, just as IT environments are being monitored. But up until now, there was no easy way to do this.

Raspberry PI & Centreon: A timely solution for IT/OT integration

In a recent Gartner global survey(*), three out of four organizations report that CIOs now have “significant or complete responsibility over various levels of OT systems-related decisions.” And “Eighty-two percent report their CIO responsibility for OT systems has increased in the last three years, and 89% say it will increase in the next three years.”
(*) Source : Gartner© Survey Analysis: IT/OT Alignment and Integration. Refreshed 13 July 2022, Published 31 August 2021 – ID G00756039

In short, IT/OT alignment and integration is in the cards in a large proportion of organizations, and the introduction of this easy and affordable approach to seamlessly monitor OT and IT is a game changer for such efforts, in any setting comprising geographically distributed industrial operations. 

Status quo: No longer worth the risk

The time where IT and OT operated in their own insulated bubble is over, and failing to recognize this, organizations lacking visibility over  IT/OT integration may be putting themselves at an undue risk of cybersecurity and business continuity issues, as IT and OT are now more interdependent.

While a more detailed and diligent approach to monitor OT may have appeared to be too costly or complicated to adopt, the use of Raspberry Pi to install a Centreon poller and start collecting data is very simple and affordable.

“By better leveraging OT, companies will be able to further accelerate digitalization to become more agile and composable.”Gartner*

OT vs IoT: What’s the difference

Manufacturing, warehouses, cities, buildings, airports, transportation, energy, utilities … These are all areas where OT and IoT cooperate to drive operations. While we often hear of Industry 4.0 or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” designating the automation, data exchange, and digitalization in a variety of industrial applications, OT is not about to be decommissioned. In the same Gartner survey mentioned above,* 82% of organizations expect IIoT to augment or extend OT, not replace it. Monitoring OT using an Centreon poller mounted on a Raspberry PI device will in fact allow to make OT more visible and understandable in the context of IT/OT convergence.

OT and IoT: Understanding the difference

OT: Operational Technology. Control physical devices but relies on IT infrastructure to connect to dedicated applications in the data center or in the cloud.

IoT (or IIoT): Internet of Things or Industrial Internet of Things. Industrial systems connected to the IT network. Video cameras, toll gates, space status detection sensors, information displays, payment terminals, charging stations, etc.

What are the use cases for using Raspberry PI with Centreon Poller

Any organization that relies on operational technologies, IoT, and other edge technologies to operate.

  • Utilities
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Transportation networks (railways, public transportations, highways)
  • Industrial & manufacturing facilities

Why monitor operational technologies?

  • OT environments are connected to business applications running in a data center or in the cloud.
  • Cloud-to-edge monitoring that includes OT systems helps guarantee business continuity and cybersecurity, as well as, through the collection of data, build awareness on how continuous system improvements can make them more reliable and energy efficient, for example.

OT monitoring using Centreon and Raspberry PI: Real-life example

A leading parking player, uses Centreon Cloud to monitor 59 parking lots, installing a Raspberry Pi poller in each of them. This allows now only to monitor the safety and accessibility of the parking lots, but also to provide information on occupancy, for example.

What to do next


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