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Got OpenVMS?

Posted by chuck May 23, 2013
A few years ago HP speakers at a bootcamp mentioned they had 2000 worldwide customers for OpenVMS. These were their large customers who had OpenVMS systems in mutliple geographic areas. The 2000 did not count customers who might use OpenVMS at only one or two locations. At the same bootcamp, HP anticipated OpenVMS activity until 2050. However, reports in the media suggest something has changed.

Its possible the last Integrity servers able to run OpenVMS might be the Tukwilla Itaniums (I2). The Poulson Itanium machines, shipping since November 2012, don't yet run OpenVMS. Hardware and CPU limitations are cited. HP has said porting OpenVMS to Poulson or x86 would be extremely difficult.

In April 2011, HP Integrity roadmap graphs suggested OpenVMS 8.4 sales end mid 2015, and I2 server (Tukwilla) upgrades ending 3rd quarter 2014.

Perhaps the future of OpenVMS will be on virtual emulators?

HP Integrity Roadmap:

OpenVMS community @ Linked In:

OracleRDB list server info:'s Oracle Rdb List Server


Last year at the User’s Conference closing keynote in our futures section we announced Project Rubik. Rubik was an end-user oriented tool to create reports and models using the PI System and SQL Server BI easily with little configuration. When we finished prototyping and gathering customer feedback we took the time to make sure we were still headed in the right direction and we learned some things. One of those things is that we were building the wrong product so we have cancelled Project Rubik.

Several themes have emerged or intensified since we started working on Rubik. Mobile devices continue to increase in importance and the PI Systems lacks a good reporting experience suited for mobile use. BI and Big Data are evolving and expanding instead of converging. Enterprise reporting use to be just putting the data into a fast and scalable data warehouse engine and perhaps wrapping around an OLAP engine for speed. Reporting and analytics now encompasses a much wider range of diverse data sources and end user experiences. You may have heard about streaming data, unstructured data, map-reduce, No SQL, or Hadoop. While the specifics of each of these may be unclear to you, the importance of them collectively is that we now have technology available to analyze and understand a much wider variety of data sources at a much larger scale than before. It is no longer enough to get only one system’s data into a fast reporting engine.

So what do we do? Surprisingly or not surprisingly we are refocusing our efforts around Microsoft Excel and aligning our strategy there. Excel continues to be the best place to aggregate and analyze diverse data sets from a variety of sources that is universally understandable and universally deployed. One strength of the PI System is that individuals can get value out of the system with very little if any training in a short period of time. This is Microsoft’s message and vision around self-service BI and Excel – empowering individuals to do new things with familiar tools.

Our vision is to release technology built upon the Office App (formerly Agave) model which focuses on bringing PI System data to the entire Excel ecosystem from desktop, to Office 365, to SharePoint, to PowerPivot, to SQL Server and all platforms including desktop, browser, tablet, phone, and cloud. We will bring PI System data into native Excel formats such as tables or OData feeds so that our customers can leverage the unique capabilities of PI and Excel along with data from any other sources they choose that can get into Excel. The new Excel is exciting, it goes everywhere, and is backed up by the power of the cloud.

Effort is already underway and we will share more of our vision this year at vCampus Live. View our announcement from User's Conference 2013.
We are already listening to your feedback and have made improvements to our tag searching capabilities, made search results return faster, and are introducing PI Event Frames to PI DataLink.

PI DataLink 2014

Analyze and build reports using PI Event Frames with the new Event Frame Data functions
  • Display results in event hierarchy format for exploration or comparison format for pareto analysis
  • Add relevant operational data and related attributes directly to the report
  • Search and display events by time range, asset, event frame and asset templates, status, and duration

Search Enhancements
  • Simultaneously search name and description fields with different search filters
  • Filter based on additional tag configuration properties and PI AF attribute properties
  • Improved performance delivering first search hits in under 2 seconds and streaming of additional search results

Create reports and perform event comparisons using Event Relative Time in sampled data functions (coming later)

Signup here!

The Ascent of Windows 7

Posted by chuck May 6, 2013
Sub-title: Time to upgrade our PI System's operating systems

February 2012 saw Windows 7 surpass Windows XP as the most widely used computer operating system in the world. At that time Windows 7 accounted for 42% of global desktop and laptop operating system usage. A year ago, Windows XP had slipped to less than 39%.

Gartner was estimating by end of July 2012, 60% of all computers in the world would be running Windows 7. In February 2012, Vista had already slipped to 10% or less of installed operating system base for desktops and laptops. (In the process industries it appears many companies skipped Vista - going directly from Windows XP to Windows 7.)

Microsoft mainstream support for Windows XP ended on April 2009. We all face end of Microsoft's extended support in April 2014. Is this a hardship, for some of our PI systems, yes, but perhaps it shouldn't be. Windows XP was initially released in October 2001. Windows XP SP3 is now required by many software vendors - Windows XP SP3 has been available to developers since before April 2008. Windows 7 has been shipping since 2009.

As I write this it has been a couple years since we could buy a new computer with Windows XP pre-installed from the factory. New computers we buy may have some problems running Windows XP due to lack of hardware drivers and so forth.

Fortunately most instrument system vendors already have available support for newer hardware and operating systems. We don't have to wait for end of Microsoft support before moving forward to upgrade our underlying hardware or the software systems we depend on for our plant operations, safety, quality, and information systems.

There is an opportunity cost for not maintaining and updating of our process and plant information systems. The longer we defer maintenance, the more expensive such maintenance and related improvement projects become.

When we talk about the PI System - the PI infrastructure becomes more performant and embraces more features and functionality with each major release. As you upgrade PI and the underlying interfaces and client applications, you are also moving forward.

When upgrading operating systems of the PI System - don't forget the interface nodes. These critical nodes collect and buffer data, protecting the data against loss. Yes, in some cases the interface nodes are also nodes with software from our instrument system vendors - don't forget to upgrade these software (and hardware) also. Involve and plan these upgrades with the instrument vendor.

Our IT organizations in most cases are already moving our desktop and laptop operating systems forward. Use these upgrades as an opportunity to upgrade to newer PI client software releases supported by those operating systems your IT department are deploying.

In our connected world, security should be a concern - newer operating systems and products like OSIsoft's PI 2012 are much more hardened and more secure than products from just a few years ago.

Sustaining availability of your data and system should be a concern. Skillsets to maintain and use legacy systems become fewer and harder to maintain over time. Simple failures or errors which were easy to fix a few years ago have fewer accessible resources to bring to bear today.

Garner Research:

ARRL QST, "Ecclectic Technology", May 2012, page 59



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