What’s the Difference between FactoryTalk Historian and PI?

    FactoryTalk LogoThe market for data historians continues to expand rapidly.  Credit that trend to the growing appetite among process manufacturers for advanced analytics.  As the market grows so too does the number of questions about the different products that are available.  While Control Station’s base of knowledge includes AspenTech’s IP21, Emerson’s Ovation, Yokogawa’s PIMS, among others, a few moments focused on Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk Historian and OSIsoft’s PI Server would be time well spent.

    In the simplest sense FactoryTalk Historian is just a private-labeled version of the PI Server from OSIsoft.  It leverages the PI Server’s highly efficient architecture for capturing, organizing, and storing process data.  That provides the ideal foundation for today’s rapidly growing crop of advanced analytics like our PlantESP.  While based on PI there are several important attributes that distinguish FactoryTalk Historian from its OSI counterpart.  Here are a few:

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    FactoryTalk Historian is designed specifically for integration with other solutions from Rockwell Automation such as the PlantPAx Distributed Control System.  FactoryTalk Historian leverages a library of process object templates that simplify the historian’s deployment.  Once tags are defined within a template FactoryTalk Historian will then automatically search for similar “objects” and preconfigure them.  This makes configuration faster and easier.

    While integration of third-party solutions historically has required use of an OLE-DB connector, recent advances to the FactoryTalk Historian product provide the option for smoother and tighter integration.  Specifically, the latest release of FactoryTalk Historian from Rockwell Automation now supports the use of anonymous connections using the PI-SDK – the acronym for Software Development Kit.

    FactoryTalk Historian is intended for use in environments that are dominated by automation content sourced by Rockwell Automation.  While it may be common for manufacturers to rely heavily on one OEM or another, it is equally common for manufacturers to have automation content from multiple automation providers.  If you have a significant amount of non-Rockwell Automation equipment, then consider contacting OSIsoft and inquiring directly about their PI Server.

    Control Station is the newest member of OSIsoft’s Partner EcoSphere, but the company is a longstanding member of the Encompass Partner Program from Rockwell Automation.  Our PlantESP is the only controller performance monitoring solution referenced by either of them, and our experience with both OSI and Rockwell Automation is extensive.  While their data historians are driving the market’s growth, it’s because manufacturers are gobbling up advanced analytical technologies like PlantESP.

    To learn about PlantESP and how it can help you tap into the value that’s stored within your data historian, contact us at info@controlstation.com.