What is a PI System?

Document created by jkim Employee on Jan 15, 2018Last modified by jkim Employee on Jan 15, 2018
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This document is an excerpt from the Visualizing PI System Data Workbook v2017



  • Define the components of a PI System.
  • Draw a diagram of the architecture of a PI System.


The PI System Described


The PI System collects, stores, and manages data from your plant or process. You connect your data sources to one or more PI Interface nodes. The interface nodes get the data from your data sources and send it to the Data Archive. Data is stored in the Data Archive and is accessible in the assets defined in Asset Framework (AF). Data can be accessed either directly from the Data Archive or from the AF Server using tools in the PI Visualization Suite (PVS) such as PI ProcessBook. Because of the usability advantages of AF, users are encouraged to consume data by accessing the AF Server rather than directly accessing the Data Archive.

The following is a diagram of the components of a typical PI System:


Architecture of a Typical PI System

Sometimes the architecture can be very simple.  Some customers have as few as one or two interfaces feeding data to a Data Archive, from which the data can be read through various applications. The following is an example of a fully developed PI System which includes most of the widely used OSIsoft products.


PI Server = Data Archive + PI Asset Framework (AF)


In some companies, there are many Data Archives used for aggregating data.


Note: In computer security, a demilitarized zone, named after the military usage of the term and normally abbreviated to DMZ; also known as a Data Management Zone or Demarcation Zone or Perimeter Network, is a physical or logical subnetwork that contains and exposes an organization's external services to a larger, untrusted network, usually the Internet. The purpose of a DMZ is to add an additional layer of security to an organization's Local Area Network (LAN); an external attacker only has access to equipment in the DMZ, rather than the whole of the network. [Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org]

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