7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2011 7:38 PM by Ahmad Fattahi

    WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service

    ldieffenbach

      Greetings vCampus Community!

       

      As a Product Manager for OSIsoft, I'm interested in gaining perspective from this community on some potential new offerings around indexing PI data across an enterprise. Essentially, I'm looking to see your input on which of the following two architectural directions you would be most willing to promote within your own organization or to your PI customers as an OSIsoft partner/integrator.

       

      Imagine a PI System feature that essentially indexes your PI System content (PI Tags, PI AF structures, display, reports, web pages, calculations, etc., etc.) so that users could experience a rich searching and browsing experience. If the data itself is not involved, which of these two options is more feasible (given any restrictions on sharing data outside the organization, even if it is only in index form):

      •  A Search service provided by OSIsoft: Similar to our existing Managed PI NOC offering, customers would sign up for a centrally installed and managed search service that indexes their enterprise PI data and provides search results to any PI product configured to use the enterprise search feature. The service is sold as a subscription/service and is enabled through simple configuration of PI servers and clients. One advantage of this approach is that the customer has very little capital or maintanence cost. Another advantage is that service enhancements would become available to customers with no effort on their part.
      •   An on-premise server that provides search functionality: Similar to PI Server 2010, where all the functionality is included, we might offer an on-premise solution that would be a complete installation to enable the search function. This type of solution would likely require some hardware investment by the customer, but would be an out-of-the-box installation to provide the search without additional purchases, installations or configuration beyond the initial install. This option would require more maintenance by the customer and they would need to enable or perform any system upgrades themselves. This sort of option might be better for customers with the need to tightly control access to their data, where a secure off-premise option is not really viable.

       Please post your thoughts to this thread.

       

      Regards,

       

      Laurie Dieffenbach, OSIsoft Product Manager

        • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service

          Okay, I'll go first with my personal opinion.  (I'm sure everyone knows by now I can't keep quiet... )

           

          My vote would 'currently' go with the on-premise server approach, mainly because I am yet to be fully convinced with the whole managed PI offering.  I'm not saying managed PI doesn't work, it is just that it is not the nicest of experiences for complex enterprises.  I would say the search service being provided like managed PI would be better suited to when there is 'PI in the Sky' - they would fit nicely together under complete control of the cloud offering.  (Here I actually think about the PI Audit system and tag access table would be awesome in the cloud because they are resource intensive, but I'm wandering off topic...)

           

          If the whole PI Agent (does it have a new name yet?) update mechanism is nailed then having an on-premise server is no issue because any service enhancements can be pushed down the pipe.  You have to consider that some organisations are, for lack of a better phrase, overly controlling when it comes to changes on their productions systems.  

           

          I can see enterprise search being very well received if the sneak peeks we see from Coresight are anything to go by.

           

          Are we allowed to ask about the inner workings of the search or is that another discussion?  For example, will it be configurable to handle searches across domain and network topologies? - I assume here you could put some form of search replicators across network levels.  Would the hardware being purchased have the same geographical considerations that you would have for say a PI collective?

           

          By the way, can't OSIsoft just provide both offerings?

            • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service
              ldieffenbach

              Hi Rhys!

               

              I think I'd rather have a specific thread about search features, if that's something folks want to explore, although I think we have a good handle on what the needs are. Generally, I can say that the intention is to handle enterprise-level PI System searching and that the experience should be similar to what you've seen in PI Coresight so far. The goal is to create an experience that is simliar to finding something on Google (that is, straightforward with no secret handshakes).

               

              The intention is, in fact, to have both on- and off-premise solutions (even if that just means doing the collection and indexing off-site and returning the results), but we need to decide on a place to start so we can get something done for a v1. The architecture we're considering seems robust enough for either deployment environment.

               

              So, if I told you a "cloud" deployment was an option, would that change your answer? We already know that would leave some subset of customers out.

               

              Laurie

            • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service
              mhalhead

              Laurie,

               

              I'm definitely interested in a cloud approach. However, my inclination is more towards the on-premise server; i.e. a private cloud. I think that OSIsoft will probably land up offering both with smaller or more widely distributed shops going the service route and the larger more integrated companies going the on-premises route. I could see the need for a hybrid solution; using "my" company as an example. We have large business units which are largely independent. However, we are all owed by a single corporate entity. I could therefore see the need for a BU specific solution that feeds up into the greater Anglo American.

               

              Rhys @ RJK Solutions

              My vote would 'currently' go with the on-premise server approach, mainly because I am yet to be fully convinced with the whole managed PI offering. I'm not saying managed PI doesn't work, it is just that it is not the nicest of experiences for complex enterprises.

               

              For once I will disagree with Rhys. I've found the mPI setup to be effective and fairly painless; yes there are occassionally problems but that's why I have a job. So I would be satisified with this style of solution.

                • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service
                  wpurrer

                  Hello Laurie!

                   

                  I think we are interested in the "on premises" approach, the osisoft hosted approach is a problem. Especally osisoft is an US company, where we all know US has very low data protection standards, and if a FBI, CIA,... order you to show as our data you have to.

                   

                  But why can't the payment be like an "rent" model. (I think for some companies it easier to do business on the opex - side of the budget as the capex side).
                  (for all products...).

                   

                  We don't like the EA model (there should be a EA Model with only licensing and no NOC, COE,.....)
                  like a couple of years ago the site licenses.

                   

                  BR
                  Wolfgang

                    • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service
                      ldieffenbach

                      Thank you for your input, Michael and Wolfgang.

                       

                      To address a couple comments from Wolfgang:

                       

                      Wolfgang Purrer

                      if a FBI, CIA,... order you to show as our data you have to.

                       

                      Is this still a concern if all OSIsoft "has" is an index of data sources (not any actual data)? The search service is about finding stuff, not about getting the data from it. Another deployment scenario proposed was to have the "service" crawl a set of data sources, do the indexing magic offsite (so that we can provide the appropriate hardware/software to do that efficiently) and then return the prepared index to some local, on premise storage.

                       

                      With regard to our pricing model, that's not especially relevant to this conversation, in my opinion, except for the notion of Operating Expenses versus Captial Expenses. One reason the off-premise notion was put forward was that it would allow the capital expense (as well as the management overhead) to be borne by OSIsoft and the customer expense (whatever that turns out to be--it's way too early to call that) would be for the "service" and not for any capital investment to host the software locally.

                       

                      I suppose that concept could apply to an "appliance" approach as well (where the device is not considered the customer's property), but I can see there might be objections to that as well.

                       

                      To respond to some of Michael's comments... I believe what you are describing, in terms of the independent business units versus corporate view, would be a matter of scoping which search results are relevant, yes? That might be done by scoping which data sources are included in the search, which may partially be controlled by security on those data sources. Perhaps you could give an example of how that would require two different solutions?

                       

                       

                        • Re: WEIGH IN: Proposed architectures for a new enterprise-level search service
                          wpurrer

                          Also interesting is how to move the data from "low connection locations" (china,....) to osisoft and back. (I think when i see how slow sometimes the techsupport homepage reacts from europe ... i don't like to see the feedback when you have to use an off premise "search" on daily basis.

                           

                          And then also comes AD - based Rights Mgmt, the user should only see "information" when he should be authorized to do.

                          Regarding Privacy: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/nsrc/Cloud.pdf

                          I think a opex solution doesn't not necassary should mean appliance or outsourced to osisoft it just should be a different way of purchasing.

                           

                          Regarding Pricing and Enterprise Search .. i hope that osisoft will see this as a bug in their system that we can't search over all available inforation in the pi system and not a new program we need purchase extra.... but i think thats a dream PI - Enterprise => PI 2010, PI OPC DA => PI OPC UA,  PI OLEDB => PI Oledb Enterprise, Processbook => Coresight,.. and many more examples... (if each row on the product map is a "seperate product" which has to be purchased speratly .. but I don't know, because this information would be...)