OSIsoft Unveils High Availability Data History SystemBy Chris Preimesberger | Print
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The upgrade offers improved data protection through fault-tolerant software that delivers interface failover, buffering, server replication and software development services.
Enterprise storage management software provider OSIsoft unveiled Jan. 2 an update to its High Availability PI System, the company's flagship real-time data historian platform.
The new platform provides improved data protection through fault-tolerant software that delivers interface failover, buffering, server replication and software development services, an OSIsoft spokesperson said.
The PI System is the core of OSIsoft's real-time infrastructure platform. A global base of more than 11,000 installations across manufacturing, energy, utilities, life sciences and other process industries currently uses the PI System to safeguard data and provide enterprise-wide visibility into operational health to manage assets, mitigate risks and identify new market opportunities, the spokesperson said.
Primary technical advances in the new release include server replication, improved interfaces and failover changes to the PI interface.
Redundant PI Servers include a primary and one or more secondary servers, together referred to as a "collective," the spokesperson said.
All interfaces write time-series data directly to members of the collective, buffering data temporarily for those unable to receive it for a period of time and assuring that time-series data stored in each archive is an exact duplicate of the others, the spokesperson said.
Failover changes to the PI interface design to accommodate HA include the ability to have a pair of PI interface nodes connected to a PI Server or to the collective. If the primary interface node fails to deliver data to the PI Servers, it will fail over to the secondary PI interface to run in "hot" standby mode.
In addition, PI interfaces can now be started without a connection to the PI server, the spokesperson said.
"Depending on the style of manufacturing, real-time event definition and monitoring may be critical to your composite application. While a failed business transaction can usually be detected and corrected at a later point, long-term damage to assets, brand, and loss of life can result if critical manufacturing events aren't sensed and responded to in a timely manner," wrote Colin Masson, in the October 2006 AMR Research article "SOA on Steroids: The Reality of Manufacturing Composite Applications."
"It's no coincidence that data historians have reemerged as a critical foundational element of emerging manufacturing SOAs," Masson wrote. "This new generation of data historians do much more than aggregate, compress, archive, and trend real-time data. Today they are huge (and sometimes distributed) state detection machines, designed for complex definition and real-time evaluation of complex events."
Even in a simple configuration, there are unavoidable conditions that can trigger data loss or render data inaccessible. While the PI System can prevent data loss during planned maintenance, lack of access to data during a maintenance period may be unacceptable for the user who depends on timely access to that data.
Unplanned downtime represents another potential source of data loss. Cables become exposed, network issues occasionally surface and other situations may arise that can bring down a system momentarily or until such time as a failure is detected and repaired.
With the HA release, there is greater assurance that data will always be gathered, stored and available to everyone across the organization, a company spokesperson said.
Existing OSIsoft customers can upgrade from PI to PI HA using point-and-click tools that use existing operational investments and infrastructure.
Founded in 1980, OSIsoft, Inc. is headquartered in San Leandro, Calif., with operations worldwide and is privately held.
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