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In this post:

  • Digital twin environments (DTE) can help organizations simulate an entire system or subsystem. We produced a blueprint with some of the architectural approaches we have used to help customers implement digital twin solutions and lessons learned.

  • Learn about some of the benefits of DTE as well as drawbacks.  

  • Find out how Red Hat solutions like Red Hat OpenShift have been used in customer DTE implementations.


The idea of a digital twin can be traced back to the 1960s, as NASA pioneered technology to replicate each voyaging spacecraft for use in studies and simulations. While this example references a digital replica of a physical object, the technology has evolved throughout time to replicate processes in software and simulated hardware components.

Red Hat has worked with a number of customers to implement digital twin solutions, which has helped us compile a high-level outline of some of the architectural approaches we have used and lessons learned. In this post, we share some highlights to help you better understand DTEs and how they might work for your needs.

Benefits and drawbacks of modern DTEs

Modern digital twin environments (DTE) offer a logical environment in which software and potentially hardware components interact to simulate an entire system or subsystem, as opposed to an individual process as allowed by a simulation. 

DTEs are often used to test software component interactions or simulate scenarios and record results on a much larger scale. The data collected through these tests can integrate with artificial intelligence and other tools to predict outcomes and aid in enhancing software performance.

DTEs do carry a few drawbacks for solution and delivery architects with limited resources, as they can be expensive and complex to provision and deploy. The heterogeneous nature of the environments often proves difficult to replicate and scale, with changes and customizations being expensive and time-consuming. 

Given the cost of the infrastructure, customers should try to maximize their underlying hardware in order to derive maximum value from their investment. Thus, a flexible solution is key, so that architects have the opportunity to create DTEs on demand that support a variety of workloads.

Red Hat’s flexible DTE solutions

As more customers become interested in simulating how software changes will impact hardware or existing software components which have previously been released to the market, Red Hat has iterated and innovated to solve customer challenges with a focus on three major domains: the control plane as a primary entry point to the solution, the data plane as the data management area, and the environment plane comprised of the hardware environment (physical or simulated). 

These three domains must be evaluated critically prior to the development of a fast, reproducible mechanism for deploying DTEs to experiment, simulate, or validate components (or collections of components) of a complex software system. 

As digital twin technology continues to advance, organizations can benefit by testing simulated hardware components to help protect their investment in building these environments. For example, Volkswagen worked with Red Hat to migrate hardware testing to virtual environments using containers in Red Hat OpenShift. 

For a deeper dive into some of the architectural approaches Red Hat has taken in working with customers, view our blueprint on DTE solution implementation.


About the author

Noel O'Connor is a Senior Principal Architect in Red Hat's EMEA Solutions Practice specializing in cloud-native application and integration architectures. Since 2008, he has worked with many of Red Hat's global enterprise customers in both EMEA and Asia. He's co-authored a number of books, including "DevOps with OpenShift" and "DevOps Culture and Practice with OpenShift."

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