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Change in direction for OData

Posted by ray Dec 24, 2014

We started work on an OData Service for the PI System almost two years ago. At that time, it looked like OData would be the next big thing in data access from Microsoft. It’s designed using REST principles, has simplified but powerful query capabilities, and rich meta-data. Since it’s built on the HTTP protocol, it is a good choice for data access from client platforms other than Windows.

Unfortunately, now that our OData implementation is ready it looks like the market for it has not materialized. We don’t yet have any feedback from customers who say they absolutely require OData. Instead, it appears that OLEDB connectivity remains dominant in the market. It also looks like the ODBC standard will continue to grow now that it is being revitalized by Microsoft.

So, what should we do with our OData service? We have decided to make it available as an add-in to the PI Web API. We are calling this the OData Service CTP (Community Technology Preview). We encourage you to experiment with it. The CTP designation means we reserve the right to withdraw it completely if we find no significant use of it. On the other hand, if we find that a significant number of you do indeed find value in OData, we will go ahead and release.

We just launched the CTP release of PI Web API. This release will contain the PI OData CTP. If all goes well, PI Web API 2015 will be released in January. The OData service itself will be in the CTP state until we make our final decision. Let us know what you think!

I am pleased to announce the release of the PI Web API 2015 Community Technology Preview (CTP). You can download the software from our Technical Support website. This CTP release includes several enhancements such as write support for PI System configuration data, evaluation of performance equations, bulk time series data calls against Element or Event Frame streams, gzip compression of responses, and an OData service. We hope you are able to download and test this software soon. We would like to release this software in January 2015. Questions and feedback should be sent to

The following is a repost of comments I made in a discussion "PI on Linux" in the LinkedIn Group "PI Professionals"


OSIsoft has evolved the PI System and greater Infrastructure across technologies and platforms since our earliest days of “PI” 30 years ago. From the humble beginning on HP to DEC/VMS to many flavors of UNIX and Windows NT/Server. All along we’ve made a commitment to paving a path that brings our customers, data and systems along – rarely leaving anyone behind.

Along these lines, we continue to explore emerging technologies and platforms. There are three areas in which we are making significant advances and evolving the PI System. First, we are embracing distributed computing (grid computing/high density computing) as a means to provide significantly greater performance and scale as well and opportunities for availability and durability. Second, we are embracing platform neutral technologies across the whole surface of the PI System. And lastly we are making a big push in our “integration” technologies. Allow me to expand on these.


In our research and engineering department, we are well underway in the process of developing our next generation technologies for distributed/grid computing (such as a distributed historian and historian as a service.) The results are very encouraging. (Unfortunately I am not at liberty to provide any more detail at this point, in other words don’t ask about features or dates.) I can say that this new server/service stack is committed to the Windows Server/Azure platform. Future deployments of the PI System whether on premises or in the “Cloud”, self-operated or as a service (SaaS) will take advantage of the features and strengths of the Microsoft Private/Public data center architectures. We are also deeply committed to both a solid evolution/migration strategy from our current offerings to our next gen as well as delivering a “Hybrid Infrastructure” model, allowing the PI System Infrastructure to span on premises and cloud as a logic whole. (We are also exploring the possibility of evolving the PI (3) System back to its roots in “Unix” – specifically Linux for stand-alone (machine oriented) and embedded environments – please contact me outside of this forum, email below, if you have specific use cases that would benefit and/or demand this.)


The surface of our system consists primarily of data ingress (interfaces/connectors), data egress (developer platform) and visualization (clients). Beginning in 2014 we are focusing our “interface” development on “PI Connectors” and our new data acquisition framework. This technology is primarily built on manage code (.NET) technology and has been built and tested on both Microsoft .NET and Mono. The open sourcing of .NET suggests that this was a good bet and should help us extend our PI Connector footprint across more devices and platforms. We are also researching a much lighter weight “contract” based ingress end point which will allow data acquisition from wearable devices and very light weight “smart” sensors. (Hopefully this will be available for experimentation at the Hackathon in SF 2015.) In both cases are goal is to reach any platform or device where meaningful “operations” data is available. 

For data egress we are focusing our data platform surface area again on platform and device neutral technologies. With the PI Web API release we establish the new “primary” development surface for the PI System. The PI Web API brings an HTTP(S)/REST based programming surface (including OData as a CTP/Beta) and support for claims based security. For relational access to the system, we continue to invest in ODBC/JDBC and significant improvements are in the pipeline for our SQL surface. While the managed code based, AF SDK, still continues to provide a solid/rich .NET based developer surface and is preferable is certain cases, our commitment to platform neutral technologies is critical for both our own efforts and clearly those of our entire ecosystem of customers, partners and developers. (Note that there are corresponding changes in developer platform licensing that together with our evolving technologies should create much less friction for developers and solution providers.)


Our visualization/client surface is being re-envisioned as Web Applications, Web Sites and Web Services designed for platform neutral use and consumption across a broad range of devices. This represents a complete embrace of HTML and Web technologies (and yes, rewriting the Silverlight/.NET and other Binary dependent code base.)

Integration is another significant area of development which focuses on integration with both computational and visual analytics as well as machine learning systems. The primary challenges with successful integration are effective extraction of “decision ready data” from the PI System and efficient transfer of potential huge amounts of data to target integration systems like Azure ML, Hadoop/HDInsight, SQL, HANA, etc.


As others have noted, while we are investing significantly in many platform neutral and open source technologies, we are strongly committed to the core Microsoft platforms and technologies. Our partnership with Microsoft creates significant value for our customers allowing OSIsoft to stay focused on building the best PI System possible and enabling the entire ecosystem from customers, partners, developers to shine.


-Richard Beeson CTO/CSA,

I decided to dig up some old code that I wrote a while ago that can take an image file and then store it in a specific way in the PI Data Archive, and then using some ProcessBook trickery you can then display that image in a series of Trend objects. Turns out the code still works.


So I took the PI Square logo and ran it through, here is the result (which needs some refinement):.



There were some posts of some of my older work using this approach with different images, including the OSIsoft logo.

I am pleased to announce the availability of the beta release PI ODBC 2014. This is our new implementation of the ODBC standard to access PI Server data. PI ODBC 2014 is compliant with version 3.8 the ODBC API and offers the same SQL query functionality as the PI OLEDB Enterprise Provider and the classic PI OLEDB Provider. The PI ODBC 2014 runs on Windows and has both 32-bit and 64-bit drivers in its installation kit.


PI ODBC 2014 Beta has been tested with several ODBC clients including Microsoft's time-honored Access database. PI ODBC 2014 also supports Oracle's Database Gateway for ODBC which is part of the Oracle Heterogeneous Connectivity suite. You may remember that Oracle discontinued support for OLEDB data sources in Version 11g which left us without an option to directly connect Oracle to the PI System. PI ODBC 2014 will finally solve that problem. To help you configure Oracle to use PI ODBC 2014, we've created an Oracle Database Gateway Configuration Guide.


PI ODBC 2014 is not a direct upgrade from our current PI ODBC Client SQL query syntax and capabilities are different but we think you'll appreciate the improvements. PI ODBC 2014 can be installed in parallel with PI ODBC Client so we won't break any of your working configurations.


How do you get the bits? The PI ODBC 2014 Beta installation kit can be found on the Technical Support website. You will also need to download and install the PI SQL Data Access Server (PI SQL DAS) beta. The PI SQL DAS provides the actual SQL processing capability and is often installed on the same Windows machine as the PI ODBC 2014 Driver. Whichever machine runs the PI SQL will also have the PI OLEDB Enterprise Provider which must be installed first.


If you have any questions, comments or problems to report, please contact us at

I would like to introduce myself as the new Product Manager for Developer Technologies. Some of you may know me already. I've worked at OSIsoft for quite a while now in various roles. My most recent function was Director of Development for Data Access technologies. We've changed the name of this product category from Data Access to Developer Technologies in order to focus our attention on what you do: use our technology to build applications that bring the value of PI System data to your customers. I would like to hear stories about what you're building and what you need from us to make it better. I'll be supporting our AF SDK, our PI Web API and the SQL family of products (PI OLEDB Enterprise, PI JDBC and PI ODBC).

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