The long awaited AF/Abacus beta ...

Blog Post created by skwan on Oct 31, 2013

Over the last few weeks, many of my colleagues in engineering have been busy building and testing software so that I can make this announcement.  With that I'm happy to announce that we're making a beta available for you.  This beta consists of:

  • AF Server 2014
  • AF Client 2014 which includes the Asset Based Analytics Client (aka Abacus client) and the Analysis Management Plugin to PSE
  • PI Analysis Service (aka Abacus scheduler)
  • The next generation PIBufSS
  • Kitchen sink

Whew, what a mouthful!  (Ok, not really the kitchen sink, but  you get the idea - there's a lot of stuff in this beta.)   It goes without saying that I'm extremely proud of the work that the engineering teams have done and I encourage all of you to give them a pat on the back during vCampus Live! 2013 while you get the chance to play with many released and unreleased software.  You are coming to this event, aren't you?  If you haven't decided, please do check out the agenda here.


There are so many enhancements I don't think I can cover them all in a blog post.  So here are a few personal favorites just to wet your appetite.  In no particular order:

  • Support for Buffered writes via PIBufSS
  • Parameterized AF Tables.  Optional separation of AF Table Connections from AF Tables.
  • Faster Searches, in particular, bulk path lookup and template-based attribute searches
  • PI System Explorer (PSE)
    • Lightweight trend in PI System Explorer
    • Improved Search UI in PI System Explorer
    • Both 32 and 64 bit PSE
  • Event Frame enhancements, including new searches, locked event frames, duration displayed in PSE
  • Data Access
    • Support for the Bulk RPCs in PI Data Archive 2012
    • DataPipe on AFAttributes
    • DataCache
    • Digital State Set editing
    • PI Identity and Mapping exposure
    • Find PIPoint Metadata changes
    • Tracing
    • Ability to pass windows credentials for off-domain windows connection
  • New String Builder Data Reference
  • PI Builder support of Tag Configuration and Analytics.  Support for 64-bit Excel.
  • Audit Trail and Audit Trail Viewer (must be enabled via command line, requires SQL Server Enterprise or higher)

In all we completed several hundred work items including enhancements and fixes.  I would suggest you read the release notes to get all the details.


Before you run off and download the beta, I want to describe to you something we added to Abacus in this beta.


The Asset Based Analytics functionalities are new to the PI System.  It’s critical that we fully understand the typical usage pattern of the users and how the system reacts to these use cases.  As such, this beta incorporates the ability to collect and provide back to OSIsoft ANONYMOUS usage statistics from the use of the analytics features (only).  The statistics that is collected has no identifiable information which can be used to trace back to the user or any particular computer.  In addition, no business logic or actual data is collected.  Below are examples of some of the statistics that are collected:

  • # of Analysis Processors
  • Fractional CPU
  • Computer memory profile
  • # of Performance Equation functions used (but not the business logic)
  • PE functions used (but not the business logic)
  • # of different types of analyses
  • # of analyses in various states (running, in error, etc.)
  • Latency
  • Analyses queue statistics
  • Evaluation count
  • Error count
  • Statistics on backfilling
  • Statistics on Rollups
  • Statistics on User Interface (UI) actions

The current plan is for user to be able to voluntarily opt-in to providing anonymous statistics to OSIsoft in the release product.


So if you're interested in trying out this beta, please go to the download center and select the Pre-Release category.  If  you have any question or comments, feel free to start a discussion thread or email me directly at:  Feedback and support related questions to the beta can be sent to any one of the following dedicated mailboxes:, and




See you at vCampus Live! 2013






Steve Kwan


Product Manager