6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2010 4:24 PM by spilon

    Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)

    Halenger

      vCampus Community,

       

      I've been trying diligently to use the vCampus subscription, community discussion halls, courses, and webinars to self teach myself all about PI.  However, I remain stuck on a few things (basic at that):

       

      Is/did AF basically replacing Module Database?  It looks to me there is no "perk" in using Module Database as AF does exactly that and more... Am I wrong with thinking like this?  If so, then what would be better to organize my tags/system in an asset hierarchy to implement in web pages (getting the data in graphs/reports/dashboards, etc...)?

       

      It might help to know what my project entails: I'm working for a school that has buildings throughout campus measuring chilled water, domestic water, steam, and electricity through their BAS.  I'm collecting in PI a yearly total for each specific measurement.  Some buildings have all measurements; some maybe measuring only one of the four energies mentioned.  Point is, not all buildings are the same.  I need to then create web pages with dashboards illustrating the energy useage of the buildings.  How would an experienced PI user handle going about this - creating a project path to follow?  A big problem I am having right now is having TOO much information from OSI and I'm getting confused with "should I use MD? use AF? and/or use ACE?"  In addition, I know there is a new PI 2010 package coming out next month.  Should I wait then for something new that might be applicable to my needs?

       

      I'd appreciate any feedback/suggestions...

       

       

       

      Kind Regards,

       

      John

        • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)

          Hi John,

           


          Welcome to the PI world.

           

          To me yes, AF is the next generation of module database.  However, there is a little more to this.  AF v1.x certainly was a first step to replacing MDB and was very similar with AF having more functionality (AF Cases, AF Analysis and AF Data References).  Then AF took a bigger step forward with v2.x (much better hierachy and much better package out of the box e.g. no PI server required to run AF + includes WIS) with a little side step (temporarily removing visibility of AF Cases).

           

          If you are already collecting your data in PI then yes, use AF to produce an asset based representation of your data. Using ACE depends on what calculations you are calculating, it may be overkill for just calculating daily totals etc that you could do other ways.  From what you have said I would say you should:

           

          - Capture all data in PI (providing an interface exists for data collection).  Good naming convention here will help later at the AF stage.
          - Identify calculations that need to be performed, use Performance Equations (PE) to calculate them.  If PE is not suitable, consider using ACE and/or Formula AF Data Reference.
          - Before creating your structure in AF, consider if you can template any of your data elements.  (See AF Element/Attribute Templates)
          - Build your structure in AF, linking up all of your PI Points to AF Attributes.
          - Two choices on dashboards: Creating some ProcessBook ERDs (Element Relative Displays) based on your AF structure OR use PI-WebParts in Sharepoint to build your web based dashboards.

           

          Hope I haven't confused you some more...just my (quick) opinion.

          • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)
            mhalhead

            Hi John,

             

            Seeing that you already have the data in PI you already a big step closer to finishing. IMHO AF is definitely the way to go in the long run; but there are limitations. The one will get you now; AF is not currently visible via the PI Webparts. Before I get jumped on by the rest of the community I should mention that there is PI Webparts 3 that does support AF but this is not generally available; it will be released with the 2010 version of the server. So if you really can't wait till next month then go MDB.

             

            How to get started, again my opinion:

             

            1) Define your asset hierarchy. With AF it is well worth spending a bit of time define the classes (templates) of equipment. Look for commonalities between the different buildings.

             

            2) Using the hierarchy define what information you want to display at each level and what drill downs you want. I would personally do this on a piece of paper, in powerpoint or mock it up in ProcessBook (this is my preferred approach). Don't spend too much time on these two items but don't skimp either. I've been involved in these types of projects for years and I've seen big companies get tied up in defining the value trees, data maps, ... and never actually do the project or even worse by the time they implement the requirements have changed.

             

            3) Once you know what calculations you need to need to decide on how to do the calculations. PI gives you many options, Performance Equations, Totalisers, ACE, AF formulas. They all have strenghts and weakness. Start simple.  I would start with AF formulas. The disadvantage is AF formulas don't persisted the data (this is also and advantage as the calculation will work with historical data).

             

            4) Get a few key users to use the information; even if its a simple Processbook. Get their feedback.

             

            5) Bear in mind that reports and dashboards are different. For dashboards use the PI Webparts for reports I would start with EWA (Excel Web Access) before reaching for SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services).

             

            6) Implement the website.

             

            7) Be flexible. You will change whatever you've done. If you don't get requests to change anything then your users probably aren't using it. Monitor the usage reports to see what pages are being used. Get rid of unused pages they just a maintenance headache.

              • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)
                hanyong

                Hi John,

                 

                Looks like you got some very good suggestions from Rhys and Michael here to get you started. I too agree with them that AF is the way to go.

                 

                Michael Halhead

                The one will get you now; AF is not currently visible via the PI Webparts. Before I get jumped on by the rest of the community I should mention that there is PI Webparts 3 that does support AF but this is not generally available; it will be released with the 2010 version of the server. So if you really can't wait till next month then go MDB.

                PI Webparts 3.0 is not included in the OSIsoft vCampus Product Kit yet because it is currently on limited release. You can try to contact OSI Techsupport for it. As Michael mentioned, it should be made available when PI 2010 is released. Depending on your work schedule, you can wait for it to be released as well.

                 

                If you are not sure about the tools like PI ACE, Performance Equation (PE), you can take a look at the online training courses that are available in the Training Center. There is one course specific for PI ACE and you can find more information about PE in PI System Manager I.

                  • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)

                    You already have a lot of really good information to digest here, thanks to Rhys, Michael and Han Yong, but I would to re-emphasize a point you probably already understood from their responses:

                     

                    John Hodgson

                    Is/did AF basically replacing Module Database?  It looks to me there is no "perk" in using Module Database as AF does exactly that and more... Am I wrong with thinking like this?
                    Yes, totally: PI Asset Framework (AF) is the next-generation asset hierarchy/metadata framework and supersedes PI Module Database. Starting with PI Server 2010, AF is a vital (and non-optional) part of the system - you will hear more about that in the upcoming "PI System 2010" launch announcements and webinars. Our recommendation is that you do not start any new development with the PI Module Database.

                      • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)
                        Halenger

                        Wow, thanks everyone for your sincere help!

                         

                        With everyone's answers, I think I have some further questions (more on the licensing aspect, i.e. acquiring AF):

                         

                        I currently don't have AF on my now inherited PI server(s).  The customer (end-user) just got the SRP proposal for a 1-year renewal period.  Do I need to add these additional client packages (ACE, AF, etc.) to the agreement? or do they come with the install (if so, original installer on the site I'm on just didn't install AF?)?  When the PI Server 2010 comes out, I'll have to upgrade all servers (currently using PI 3.4.375.80 (SMT: 3.2.4.0))?

                         

                        Furthermore, when I do install PI Server 2010 and therefore have the ability to access AF data via webservices, do I need Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 on the webserver? or can I do developing on say my laptop with Visual Studio and then transfer project files to the webserver?  I ask this because I'll need to purchase VS2010 and would like to "tinker" with it on my laptop rather than program through PC Anywhere.  Or do I need VS2010 installed on the webserver?

                         

                        Thanks again all for your input!

                         

                        Kind Regards,

                         

                        John

                          • Re: Community Help - Questions (AF vs. MD)

                            John Hodgson

                            I currently don't have AF on my now inherited PI server(s).  The customer (end-user) just got the SRP proposal for a 1-year renewal period.  Do I need to add these additional client packages (ACE, AF, etc.) to the agreement? or do they come with the install (if so, original installer on the site I'm on just didn't install AF?)?
                            I would suggest you talk to your Account Manager for licensing/pricing type questions.

                             

                            John Hodgson

                            When the PI Server 2010 comes out, I'll have to upgrade all servers (currently using PI 3.4.375.80 (SMT: 3.2.4.0))?
                            You shouldn't have to upgrade all PI Servers at the same time - you can do it at your own pace. Start by analyzing how you want to deploy (1 "master AF Server" for multiple PI Servers, 1 AF Server per PI Server...) and then upgrade one to PI(+AF) Server 2010 - AF will be able to get PI data from other, older PI Servers anyways. If you need more information on these topics, I would recommend you contact our regular Technical Support - they normally handle PI System Admin (installation, configuration, etc.) and end-user type questions, whereas vCampus generally focuses on PI programming and integration.

                             

                            John Hodgson

                            when I do install PI Server 2010 and therefore have the ability to access AF data via webservices, do I need Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 on the webserver? or can I do developing on say my laptop with Visual Studio and then transfer project files to the webserver?  I ask this because I'll need to purchase VS2010 and would like to "tinker" with it on my laptop rather than program through PC Anywhere.  Or do I need VS2010 installed on the webserver?
                            It really depends what you need/want to do, but you usually do not have to have Visual Studio installed on the web server - only where you develop the web site/application or client application that makes use of it. I would like to suggest you post questions specific to PI Web Services on the Web Services and PI forum instead.