11 Replies Latest reply on Oct 8, 2010 9:03 PM by spilon

    PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications

    Robert Raesemann

      It seems that the requirement for customers to upgrade their license to the 2010 model and pay associated license upgrade fees is going to result in fragmentation of the customer base. I will soon be working on a project for a customer that may not be able to upgrade this year. As a result I will need to develop for an older revision of the PI software than I have installed in my vCampus environment.

       

      I always keep the latest version of the PI software on my vCampus server. In the past I would make sure that part of the plan was to upgrade the customer to the latest version during the roll out phase of a development project. Since they are all on support agreements this was never an issue. With the changes resulting from 2010 this will not be the case. Companies will not be able to get 2010 until they upgrade their licenses which in most cases is going to result in additional fees.

       

      Ideally I would be able to set up a VM with the same version of PI as the customer for development and testing. Unfortunately the vCampus license only allows me to generate one license file for one server. I have an MSDN subscription and it allows me to download and setup older versions of Windows Server or other Microsoft software for testing and development. It would be nice if OSIsoft would adobt a similar philosophy.

       

      Has OSIsoft given this issue any thought? It would be nice if the vCampus subscription would give you the right to run VM's of older products so that I could effectively service customers who might not upgrade for a while. If this isn't an option then maybe a small fee for the older licenses would be appropriate.

        • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications
          Ahmad Fattahi

          You are raising a very interesting point. The only problem I have with your line of argument is the significance of PI 2010. I know that the licensing has changed a lot. However, the same backward compatibility issue should have been around for previous versions as well. Sometimes the end customers are not current on their SRP (to be able to upgrade to the latest version) or otherwise some bigger enterprises upgrade after a significantly long lag. Hasn’t this problem existed before?

           

          Your point is very legitimate. What is your own experience in the past when the customer could not upgrade for some reason?

            • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications
              helgesonc

              Ahmad,

               

                I have also expressed concern about this issue to our OSIsoft account manager and have never really gotten a satisfactory reply.  In our case it has more to do with PI-SDK, PI-DataLink, and PI ProcessBook compatibility.  As a third-party developer building software solutions on these products, it is in our best interest to be able to test our products on the specific versions of the OSIsoft software that our clients are running.

               

                An example is that we have a product that interacts with PI ProcessBook.  We support versions 3.0.15.7 through 3.2.0.0.  On Windows Server 2003, this product does not work if the client's PI ProcessBook version is 3.2.0.0 and their PI-SDK version is 1.3.6.361 or 1.3.8.387, but works fine on 1.3.6.363/4.  On Windows Server 2008, this product works with (PI ProcessBook 3.2.0.0 using) PI-SDK 1.3.6.363/4 and 1.3.8.387 but not 1.3.6.361.  (The product did not work at all with 1.3.4.xxx).  We had to mock up a compatibility chart just so we could keep it straight.

               

                Whenever we make a significant change to the product we need to be able to test all of these permutations that our clients may have (OS, PI-SDK, ProcessBook).  The same goes for a product that interacts with PI-DataLink - adding versions of Microsoft Excel into the test sequence.

               

                I realize that, generally speaking, OSIsoft tries to support backward-compatibility and it probably works in most cases - but if we install our product at a client site running a version of OSIsoft software we no longer have access to (due to timeout demos) and unexplained errors start showing up, we are not able to reproduce the conditions.

               

                Just my 2 cents - but it does get frustrating at times.

               

              Sincerely,

               

              Caleb

                • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications
                  Ahmad Fattahi

                  Thanks Caleb. Your feedback is very important to us. So, what I am hearing from you is that this issue didn’t just pop up after PI System 2010 as Robert was suggesting earlier.

                   

                  The first thing that comes to mind is to let you, as OSIsoft vCampus subscribers, run multiple versions of the products in the product kit. Would that be something that resolves all of the issues? Do you have any other problems or proposals to tackle the problem?

                   

                  I am not saying that any of these are necessarily doable in near future. My goal here is to gather as much information and feedback as possible from you guys to bring back to our management. So, as always, I would really appreciate if you keep speaking up to the issue to work together toward a solution.

                    • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications
                      helgesonc

                      Ahmad,

                       

                        I would definitely like to be able to run different versions of the PI products.  As a former ISV Partner (that program has since been disbanded from what I hear) I sort of expected to be able to continue in that manner - in a MSDN-type fashion.  Being able to mix-and-match PI SDK with PI ProcessBook and PI DataLink versions would be a great start.  I realize that some products have a minimum-supported PI SDK version - which makes sense - so we wouldn't be trying combinations that are incompatible by design.

                       

                        I don't know how else to resolve this issue - I'm just expressing my concern that this need exists and has been around for about 2 years.

                       

                      Sincerely,

                       

                      Caleb

                      • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications

                        My input on this topic...

                         

                        OSIsoft Enterprise Agreement customers are able to download products of both current versions and previous versions (for example, all those PISDK versions mentioned by Caleb) - of course it depends on their agreement details and they pay a lot more than our subscription fees but access to previous versions is "permitted" via that route.  2 years ago when vCampus started I expected vCampus members would have a similar download center as TechSupport, just some behind the scenes configuration that says "this SSO account has a vCampus role, allow these products".  Obviously if the same SSO account is an EA customer then they get their EA products on top of what vCampus offers them.  Now I understand the licencing issues but a development licence should allow a developer to develop against all supported versions of a product covered by the vCampus programme.

                         

                        Today I talked with someone who is still running ProcessBook v2.31 I know, I know, they need to upgrade but it is not always that simple for clients so our code/products need some form of testing against those versions.

                         

                        Once upon a time there was mention of vCampus providing some virtual labs with products pre-installed, might have been a good option for testing previous versions of products..?

                  • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications

                    Hey everybody, sorry I'm chiming in late (not so calm, the life of a Product Manager! )

                     

                    And I have good new for you: this is all possible! Today!

                     

                    Rhys @ RJK Solutions

                    a development licence should allow a developer to develop against all supported versions of a product covered by the vCampus programme
                    Absolutely, and it does!

                     

                    Ahmad

                    The first thing that comes to mind is to let you, as OSIsoft vCampus subscribers, run multiple versions of the products in the product kit. Would that be something that resolves all of the issues? Do you have any other problems or proposals to tackle the problem?

                    I am not saying that any of these are necessarily doable in near future.

                    Yes, it would solve all the issues. And yes, it is possible in the near future - as in "today"

                     

                    Here are the details:

                    1. As you know, the vCampus Download Center always provides the latest version of our products (and more, with CTPs and Betas...). Which means if you download the products as they become available, you will be a collection of "old" versions over time.
                       
                    2. If you need versions prior to the ones you first downloaded, your vCampus membership gives you the right to download those. You need to download them from the Technical Support Download Center, however. If you are not an end-user (i.e. customer), chances are you won't see anything available for download in there... simply ask the Tech Support team for the products/versions you need. They will look up your vCampus membership and provide access to desired versions of the products included in the vCampus PI Products Kit.

                      This allows you to run older versions of PI SDK, PI ProcessBook, PI DataLink, etc. against your vCampus PI Server.
                    3. The only exception to this is the PI Server itself, which is bound to specific machine for through the License File. Yet, there is a solution... I'll let you read the "Can I install this PI System on a Virtual Machine?" and "Is the licensing different on a Virtual Machine?" questions in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section

                    Hope this helps!

                      • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications
                        Robert Raesemann

                        Steve,

                         

                        There is a very specific problem that I was worried about. I am running the latest PI Server 2010 64bit on my vCampus server. I like to get hands on experience with the latest and greatest and be on the bleeding edge and some of my customers are running or soon will be running this version. I have some customers that lag behind and I am seeing that the new 2010 licensing requirements are going to delay their upgrade even more than usual. When I am developing for them (hopefully will start a relatively large project in the next couple of months) it would be nice to be able to set up a VM of their version to develop against to make sure that I don't inadvertantly use a new feature or run into problems later deploying to the older server version after it has been developed against the newer version.

                         

                        I would be willing to maybe pay an additional fee to be able to have a VM license for an older version of the server in addition to my official vCampus server. I'd like to avoid having to purchase another vCampus membership entirely although that appears to be the only way that I can do that. For larger projects that might simply be the cost of doing business. How are the developers who are developing larger products around AF doing things? Do they simply develop and test on one version and deal with production problems as they occur?

                         

                         

                         

                        From your FAQ, I am not able to do what I think is really necessary to effectively develop for the PI system.

                         

                        Q. Can I install this PI System on a Virtual Machine?
                        A.
                        Yes

                         

                        Q. Is the licensing different on a Virtual Machine?
                        A.
                        No: the subscriber still has to generate and upload the "Machine Signature File" (MSF) to get a PI Server License file generated. On a Virtual Machine, however, that MSF is generated with information from both the Virtual Machine and the Physical Host. This means the PI Server is bound to that "Virtual Machine + Physical Host" combination.

                         

                        Please note that you are NOT licensed to run multiple copies concurrently. However, for archiving
                        purposes you may create backups of your virtual machine in various configurations subject to your license agreement. Please note as well that changes in the virtual machine's  hardware will require
                        you to apply for a new license file. A new license file can only be issued by a request sent to vcampus@osisoft.com and approval is granted on a case-by-case basis.

                          • Re: PI Server 2010 licensing, customer base fragmentation, and vCampus implications

                            @Robert Raesemann: per the FAQ, you can have multiple VM's with different PI Server configurations, for your personal vCampus PI System license - simply use the one you need for that specific project, or that other one.

                             

                            However, for projects/organizations that require a test environment that's constantly up and running, note that the "Test PI Server" component is available from OSIsoft's pricelist. This one is organization-wide and generally tied to a Production Server, as opposed to the personal development system that vCampus members get as part of their membership. Also, you may already be aware of that, but you could get access to that customer's software through an agreement between you, the customer and OSIsoft (talk to your account manager about this... this is pretty common for longer-term projects between a customer and third-parties such as systems integrators).

                             

                            But now we're really getting in the licensing side of the story... I would like to suggest you continue this discussion offline with your account manager (and your customer's), and we stay technical here. At the end of the day, the answer is always 'yes, it's possible'... the question is 'how'? And this one can really only be answered by account managers