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Easily Synchronize Local and Regional AVEVA PI Servers

December 8, 2021

Centralizing Ops Data Can Help

Industrial companies with multiple sites around the world may benefit from centralizing operations data captured in a historian (for example AVEVA PI Server) from a local to a regional or corporate level. This centralization offers three main benefits:

  1. Creates a foundation for DataOps teams to quickly leverage clean, standardized data for industrial analytics development and enables personnel to better leverage new AI/ML technologies at scale. 
  2. Saves companies months in personnel time as repetitive, ad-hoc data preparation is eliminated, accelerating time to insights.
  3. Enables remote monitoring of assets where SMEs are not available or where safe operations are a concern.

Centralization However, Presents Challenges. 

Companies using AVEVA PI Server, they may face one or more of the following hurdles: 

  1. Data Quality Issues: Inconsistencies across naming conventions, engineering units, or other tag attributes or configurations require admins to dedicate a majority of their time cleansing data manually in spreadsheets, to make it usable.
  2. Slow Progress: Since changes to tags at the local level must be reflected at the regional level, PI admins are forced into “maintenance mode” where each change on each local server is tracked and managed in a spreadsheet, to facilitate updates on the regional server. Furthermore, visualizations built from this foundation can quickly fall out of sync, causing teams to lose trust in the data.
  3. No Governance: Spreadsheet tracking results in lack of traceability or easily accessible documentation for the synchronization occurring between local and regional PI Servers.
  4. Lack of Scalability: PI admins end up recreating the same synchronization workflow from scratch, in order to migrate each local PI Server to a regional one.

Element Unify is cloud native enterprise software that enables PI admins to synchronize local and regional PI Servers with ease. By leveraging software, companies can shift from manual, ungovernable practices and realize real-world value from improved speed, quality, governance and scale aspects. 

Element Unify Enables PI Admins to:

  1. Easily discover inconsistencies and gaps and correct them with no-code data transformations. With a rule-based approach, PI admins can easily identify various forms of tag misconfiguration in bulk and apply corrective rules (also in bulk) to increase data quality. Element Unify can also be used to parse useful components of the tag definition (name, description, etc) to create alias tag names that follow the corporate standards; thus bridging the gap between local and regional PI Servers by serving as an abstraction layer.
  2. Use the open API-based approach for data connectivity between local and regional PI Servers. This modern architecture enables regional servers to remain synchronous with the local sites, reducing the maintenance burden for regional PI Servers.
  3. Have an audit trail for rules applied to the data (and document additional details) for easy knowledge transfer and troubleshooting.
  4. Re-use the same pipeline for the initial deployment of regional PI Servers and keep them up-to-date. The same pipeline can also be applied to all sites, enabling scalability and reduced workload for PI admins.

In summary, PI admins can quickly generate clean tag configuration files that can be used to create tags on the regional servers and have governance around changes happening at the local servers.

A sample workflow of the local to regional PI Servers synchronization is presented below:

PI Server Synchonization
Synchronizing PI Servers

Want to Learn More?

You can develop a similar pipeline in Element Unify in a few days. Sign up for a free trial to use the software for 30 days here. You can also purchase a Personal License from the AWS Marketplace or Azure Marketplace.

All free trials and Personal Licenses also include access to certification courses for Element Unify, a sample pipeline for synchronizing local and regional Aveva PI Servers, and up to 5 workshop sessions with an expert from Element’s Professional Services team to adapt the sample pipeline to your data.

Questions? Please contact us.