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Simulation setup fro Lookout

I was asked to evaluate how Lookout works and whether it is applicable as a solution technology for plants with hybrid control implemented (PCs, PLCs, etc.). I have no experience with Lookout and I assume the best way to learn is to test it. I have 2 questions:
1. drivers
Does Lookout have drivers for PLCs, how does it communicate with them - directly via serial/ethernet or a PC must interface them?
2. test setup
I can virtualize a typical Lookout netwotk with VirtualPC. How can I simulate controlled processes on client PCs - are there simulators of this kind, or do I need real hardware for this?
Thaks in advance,
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Lookout supports a list of PLCs. Different driver of PLC supports different hardware connection, serial or ethernet.
Download Lookout 6.1 evaluation version from http://joule.ni.com/nidu/cds/view/p/id/509/lang/en.
There are many exampls that show you how to build such application, including PLC communication, HMI, controlled process, data logging, alarm, etc.
Finish the attached Evaluation Guide to get a general idea of this product. The developer's manual installed with this software contains more detailed things.
If you have PLC, it's easy to make the connection. If not, you can use modbus slave object in Lookout to act as modbus slave hardware, and then use Modbus object in Lookout to communicate with the slave.
Ryan Shi
National Instruments
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