Data historians are a “must have” technology and among the automation market’s options the PI Historian from OSIsoft is the gold standard. OSIsoft has more-or-less led the historian market from its inception in 1980. The reason: OSI has continuously innovated to assure that the PI Historian is highly efficient and that it provides the preferred platform for higher value data analytics.
The fundamental requirements of a data historian are to capture and store data as well as to make that data available in a secure, intuitive fashion. Although fundamental, more and more plant data is being “historized” and it is being consumed continuously by a growing number of diagnostic software applications. Those demands can strain even the most robust data historian. In the face of those challenges PI continues to lead the pack.
Here are four (4) reasons why OSIsoft’s PI Historian is widely viewed as the king of the historian market:
PI Software Development Kit
Most historians require additional 3rd party software to establish a connection. This requirement acts as a “middle man” and creates a bottleneck in the process. Additionally, they generally require users to write custom code/database queries to successfully connect. That alone can be a deal-breaker as it forces programmers to be experts in programming in addition to network security (aka DCOM).
In contrast the PI Software Development Kit (SDK) standardizes the structure and security by which data is configured. That standardization allows 3rd party software products to easily read and write directly to the PI Server. Furthermore, the simplicity of the connection accelerates integration with advanced diagnostic applications – like Control Station’s PlantESP. And, most importantly, it’s secure.
PI Data Archive
“Old school” database technologies like SQL struggle with the abundance of data that today’s manufacturers need to collect and store. Even more modern data historian solutions are unable to capture data efficiently and securely. With difficulty getting data “in” the historian, it can be even more challenging getting data “out” for advanced analysis.
The PI Data Archive feature makes for fast and secure data storage. It archives a compressed version of a manufacturer’s historized data, storing five times  more data without overloading the server. The Data Archive feature also utilizes the client computer’s Microsoft Security, enhancing overall data security. Whether the need is to get data “in” or “out” PI is highly efficient.
PI Asset Analytics
Data in and of itself isn’t valuable. Rather, it’s the ability to transform raw plant data into actionable information that provides value. Interestingly, most data historian vendors limit their value to providing a simple “box” for data collection. As market demand for more analytics grows, historian vendors will be expected to up the ante.
PI Asset Analytics equips manufacturers with an out-of-the-box analytics capability. It allows users to quickly establish basic trends relative to asset reliability and plant performance. With its focus on fundamental diagnostics, PI Asset Analytics provides a pathway for other more advanced and value-rich technologies.
PI Asset Framework
Many of today’s cutting-edge diagnostic/prognostic technologies are complex, employing advanced data clustering and machine learning capabilities. In order to maximize the benefit of those applications, it’s best if information can be leveraged across other similar production assets. Unfortunately, most historians lack a structure for doing so easily.
PI Asset Framework organizes data in a simple, hierarchical fashion which allows users to group tags of assets together. In so doing users can view individual assets as well as to compare/contrast the performance of similar assets. In that fashion PI Asset Framework operates hand-in-glove with the growing wave of plant diagnostic technologies like predictive analytics, CLPM, and other applications. Ultimately PI’s framework makes it easy for manufacturers to examine trends and uncover issues that can improve both reliability and production efficiency.
There is a reason the Apple iPhone is still around and the Microsoft Zune is just a memory. One company saw the upcoming trends and innovated accordingly…and the other didn’t. The same is true for data historians. OSIsoft is ensuring that their data historian technology remains relevant by making it easy for manufacturers to capitalize on their plant data.
Control Station partners with OSIsoft and will showcases its PlantESP solution at the OSIsoft User Conference scheduled for April 2018. To learn more about Control Station’s partnership with OSIsoft, click here.
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