Here are some frequently asked questions regarding PI Batch from our Batch Customers. Please feel free to ask additional questions or provide product feedback as comments to this post. Update: A second FAQ Post can be found here.
Q: What is happening with PI Batch? I see announcements about moving to Event Frames and I'm concerned about my current investment in PI Batchview, PIBagen, and my batch interfaces that populate my PI Batch Database.
A: We continue to support our PI Batch products, and we are also continuing our Event Frames roadmap for our batch customers. We currently do not have plans to stop supporting PI Batch, and we will work to resolve critical issues that our PI Batch customers encounter. At the same time, the eventual long-term goal is to have everyone using Event Frames and we are committed to helping you in this journey at a pacing that is right for you. We will continue to provide information so that you can assess the feature sets that are available and how they compare to your needs. Using the Batch to Event Frames Migration function in PI Data Archive 2016 R2, PI Coresight 2016 R2 (advanced Event Frame searching, Gantt charting and overlay trending), and PI Datalink 2016 (explore and compare feature), we encourage you to create a test environment of your production data and try out our Event Frames technology.
Q: What are Event Frames? What are the main advantages?
A: Event Frames is a core capability of the PI System that allow you to bookmark your data to capture batch context, down times, excursions, or other events.
Advantages of Event Frames:
- Stop searching and start analyzing
People remember events, not timestamps. Event Frames lets you search reams of data by the important business and process events so that you do not have to scroll through months or years’ worth of data. With the time saved, you can now move straight to analyzing and developing insights into your processes.
- Create event summaries that are ready for analysis
Event Frames pulls in all the relevant data for events so you don’t need to execute additional queries against the PI System or other systems. You can pre-populate Event Frames to return supporting information such as manufacturer, or summary calculations such as maximum, minimum, or average over the event time-frame. All the information you need is right in front of you, saving you time and frustration.
- Compare events in a standard fashion
Using Event Frame templates, you can easily configure and update standard event types like downtime and excursions to enable “apples to apples” comparison of events across different assets.
Event Frames offer more flexibility, improved scale, greater robustness, ability to fine tune security, high availability architectures and improved searching, compared to PI Batch. Whereas PI Batch has only pre-defined attributes that can be captured, Event Frames offers additional value by allowing customers to add any number of attributes about that batch or process, including aggregated values such as the max, min, or average over that time range. Even external data such from LIMS or recipe data from MES systems can be stored as an Event Frames attribute. Event Frames allow our customers to pre-emptively configure what information they would need later so that they can dive faster into analyses without hunting for missing information.
Q: What are the business cases to move to Event Frames?
A: OSIsoft believes that everyone will gain more value out of the PI System Event Frames compared to what was possible with the PI Batch Database. Current customers are leveraging Event Frames to make processes more efficient and save money.
We have a growing list of user conference videos and customer presentations since 2013 that demonstrate the business reasons to adopt Event Frames.
Addressing user needs:
- Reduce countless hours analyzing PI System data in spreadsheets
- Get KPIs immediately, without waiting for batch report from MES
- Calculate KPIs automatically without transferring data to other tools
- Access process data that is not directly linked to PI Batch infrastructure
Addressing company goals:
Adopt a flexible, powerful, and highly available infrastructure
Enable a standard visualization platform via PI Coresight with its Event Frame support and overlay trending.
Your account manager or EPM can help you build a business case for your company, and he or she can draw upon additional resources at OSIsoft to support this effort.
Q: What does it take to switch to Event Frames if I’m using PI Batch today?
A: You will want to do the following steps:
- Review the Migration Documentation,
- Upgrade interfaces to the latest version (batch interfaces V4),
- Upgrade PI Server/AF Server to the latest version,
- Install Event Frame clients, and
- Migrate your data in SMT. Your interfaces, if configured correctly, will switch over and automatically write Event Frames. Your PI Batch Database will be locked in read-only mode.
Before you migrate, you should evaluate your installation on dependencies on custom code to create or access PI Batch Data – if you find these dependencies, you will need to develop alternatives to read or write Event Frame data.
You can view our OSIsoft presentation on Batch Migration to Event Frames for more information.
Q: How do I know if I’m a good fit to switch from PI Batch to Event Frames?
A: We believe that EF is a currently good fit for 80-90% of our PI Batch customers. EF supports the most common deployments and uses of PI Batch such as batch processing, cycle time.
The scenario where someone might not switch their batches to Event Frames is if they have developed custom applications or PI Processbook VBA code that accesses PI Batch data via PI API or PI OLEDB. If this is your situation, we encourage you to engage with us further to discuss your options and a timeline for when a switch will make sense.
We believe that 100% of PI Batch customers will benefit from having a test system ready to evaluate event frames and test the migration process.
Q: Are there other ways that I can explore Event Frames before migrating my batch processes?
A: If you want to move forward with Event Frames and learn while you deliver value to your operations or business, you could track and analyze non-batch events such downtimes and excursions using Event Frames and Asset Analytics in AF. Safety event tracking, equipment utilization, sustainability/energy efficiency and process excursions could be good targets for getting started with Asset Framework and Event Frames.
You can find several AF example kits by going to techsupport.osisoft.com and searching “example kit.” Some highlights below:
Q: How can I learn more?
Tech Support and your account manager are of course excellent sources of information. We also plan to continue communications such as this around Event Frames to help you in your evaluation of this technology.
For additional consultation or to provide product feedback, please feel free to comment on this PI Square post to continue the conversation.
Updated to include link to second FAQ Post