Kenneth_Barber

List & future of PI client programs

Blog Post created by Kenneth_Barber Champion on Jul 18, 2020

Most of the PI programs are intended to be installed on servers, but some need to be installed on your work computer. Which ones exactly? See the table below to find out…

 

Install KitPurposeStatusUser Role
PI DataLinkImports PI data directly into Excel. Suitable for small data sets and simple spreadsheets.CurrentRegular user
PI SQL ClientUsed to retrieve large amounts of time-series data through the PI Asset Framework. Can be used with Excel.Current

Power user*

PI AF Client

Contains:

  • PI System Explorer (used to browse and configure the PI Asset Framework)
  • PI Builder (used for bulk configuration of the PI Data Archive and the PI Asset Framework)
  • PI AF SDK (used for custom PI applications and required by PI System Explorer and PI Builder)
Current

Any

PI System Management ToolsUsed to browse and configure the PI Data ArchiveCurrent (but needs a makeover)Administrator
PI OLEDB EnterpriseUsed to retrieve large amounts of time-series data through the PI Asset Framework. Used to retrieve large amounts of configuration data from the PI Asset Framework. Can be used with Excel.
  • Superseded by PI SQL Client for retrieving time-series data
  • Current for retrieving configuration data
Administrator
PI OLEDB ProviderUsed to retrieve large amounts of time-series and configuration data from the PI Data Archive. Can be used with Excel.
  • Superseded by PI SQL Client for retrieving time-series data only if your organization uses the PI Asset Framework
  • Current for retrieving configuration data

Power user (if your organization does not use the PI Asset Framework)

 

Administrator

PI ProcessBookUsed to visualize PI dataSuperseded by PI VisionRegular user
PI Manual Logger (standalone)Used to manually enter data into PI
  • Superseded by PI Manual Logger Web for data entry & run execution
  • Current for configuring the PI Manual Logger database

Regular user

 

Administrator

 

In summary, if your PI system is up-to-date, includes the PI Asset Framework, and does not rely on legacy PI programs, then:

  • All users should have PI DataLink, PI SQL Client*, and PI AF Client
  • Administrators should additionally have PI System Management Tools, PI OLEDB Provider, and PI OLEDB Enterprise

 

*Power users will develop programs, spreadsheets, etc. that use PI SQL Client, but regular users who will use those will need PI SQL Client installed in order to use them.

 

Let me know if I missed any non-obsolete PI client programs in the table above.

 

The potential future (hopefully)

 

There is a slow transition from PI client programs to PI server programs, and this makes sense when you consider that:

  • Client programs require any installation/upgrade to be repeated for each user and each client computer must be powerful enough to run the program
  • PI client programs require connectivity to the PI servers in order to work, so the PI servers might as well host the program

 

This transition will reduce the number of PI client install kits that we need to worry about. This number can be reduced to 3 (assuming that no new PI client programs are introduced) if these occur:

 

This would leave PI DataLink, PI SQL Client, and PI AF Client (without PI System Explorer) as the only PI client install kits. However, in theory, even these could be eliminated if all of these occur:

 

However, these last 3 will likely not happen at any time in the near future, if at all, since some organizations refuse to use the Office Store and/or the Microsoft Store. Still, a customer can always dream, can't he?

Outcomes