Trends such as the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 have increased the need to use new and innovative network technologies in industrial automation. The growth of industrial automation communications is an outcome of the shift to harness the productivity and efficiency of manufacturing and process automation with a minimum of human intervention. Due to the ongoing evolution of industrial networks from Fieldbus technologies to Ethernet, a new opportunity has emerged to harness the benefits of Software Defined Networking (SDN). In this paper, we provide a brief overview of SDN in the industrial automation domain and propose a network architecture called the Software Defined Industrial Automation Network (SDIAN), with the objective of improving network scalability and efficiency. To match the specific considerations and requirements of having a deterministic system in an industrial network, we propose two solutions for flow creation: the Pro-active Flow Installation Scheme and the Hybrid Flow Installation Scheme. We analytically quantify the proposed solutions that alleviate the overhead incurred from the flow setup. The analytical model is verified using Monte Carlo simulations. We also evaluate the SDIAN architecture and analyze the network performance of the modified topology using the Mininet emulator. We further list and motivate SDIAN features and report on an experimental food processing plant demonstration featuring Raspberry Pi as a software-defined controller instead of traditional proprietary Programmable Logic Controllers. Our demonstration exemplifies the characteristics of SDIAN.
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