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Penny Gunterman21 Oct, 2020

A slice of PI (System) for everyone

Autumn is in the air for many parts of the world, bringing with it the smell of spices and festive desserts. Are you an apple pie fan? Maybe pumpkin is more your style. We all seem to have our favorite type, whether it's fruit or cream, sugar or meat. As any gracious host will tell you, the key is to have a little something for everyone.

The PI System is similar. Over the last 40 years, we've added new offerings with different flavors of capabilities to cater to new audiences. Are you a BI hobbyist? Check out the PI Integrators. Like to dabble in IoT? Whip something together with OSIsoft Message Format (OMF).

The PI System has also been steadily expanding beyond the four walls of the plant and into the IoT realm. In addition to OT engineers and managers, we are increasingly serving field technicians in remote locations, data scientists and developers who revel in the cloud, and executive decisionmakers at corporate headquarters.

As we've expanded the PI System to meet new needs and users, we've classified our offerings so that you can quickly self-identify which suite of software is made for you, and what you can recommend to your colleagues with different tastes and needs.

That's why we are introducing three portfolio names under the PI System umbrella: PI Core, PI Edge, and PI Cloud. These classifications do not impact the underlying products or pricing. You'll simply see these portfolio names in brochures and presentations.

PI System continues to add distributed capabilities supporting multiple OT & IIoT use cases

PI Core

The PI Core portfolio covers the traditional on-premises, configuration-based software that many of you know and love. PI Server, PI Interfaces, PI Connectors, PI Vision, and more fall within the PI Core portfolio. PI Core software is designed to support the core of operations, where heavy equipment and processes are running 24/7, hardwired machines and uninterrupted power supplies are installed to ensure uptime, and rotating shifts of operators watch process monitoring displays.

Engineers and operators are supreme in the plant environment. That's why software in the PI Core portfolio is developed with high-availability and fail-over in mind, designed with configuration-based UIs for people who are process experts, not programmers.

PI Edge

The PI Edge portfolio supports IIoT enthusiasts and industrial operators who are expanding visibility into their remote operations, using low-cost gateways and sensors. Edge Data Store (EDS) and PI Adapters are classified under PI Edge and run on Linux and Windows operating systems so that you have more options to deploy data gathering and short-term storage on hardened devices.

Consider PI Edge as our “camping” edition software: lightweight, rugged, and built to withstand unreliable power and connectivity. PI Edge products natively send data to PI Server or OCS, allowing you to have full edge-to-cloud visibility. We know IIoT developers and partners appreciate customization flexibility; that's why PI Edge products integrate natively with OMF, so that you can create lightweight DIY extensions without the hassle of maintaining the underlying software.

PI Cloud

As you might guess, the PI Cloud portfolio covers our cloud offerings, OCS and PI Cloud Connect. PI Cloud software is native to the cloud, designed to take advantage of the flexibility and performance of cloud technology while handling the unique quirks of operational data such as out-of-order events or connectivity outages.

Data science and machine learning initiatives are popping up in companies around the globe to uncover more savings and develop predictive algorithms. Getting core operational data into a workspace for data scientists and developers is a challenge that many cloud providers underestimate, but not here. Our flagship PI Cloud product, OCS, is purpose-built to satisfy a growing community of data scientists, developers, and service providers who need performant, scalable, API access to create new models and applications within their tools of choice-without compromising core operations. Corporate executives can leverage the resulting consolidated reports and forecasts from data across their business units to drive smarter, strategic decisions.

PI System without borders

While we've anchored the three portfolios around certain design principles, they are all within the PI System and work together seamlessly. For example, an individual product like EDS is designed according to the PI Edge portfolio principles, but you can also deploy it in a plant scenario if you'd like to create a tiered architecture. The classifications are more of a convenient way to signal core capabilities rather than firm lines of separation-just as you probably have distinct functional skills, but still flex and collaborate across departments.

Even if you're an engineer or operator who usually works with PI Core products, it's worth checking out our cloud offerings to get ideas for machine learning. Or as a data scientist who focuses on PI Cloud offerings, you might be excited to see what additional datasets the PI Edge portfolio can bring to the table.

It's like how I used to think of myself as purely a fruit pie fan, but then I tried my in-law's coconut cream pie. I've never looked back. So go ahead, try some new PI. We think you'll like it!

Penny GuntermanProduct Marketing ManagerPenny is a product marketing manager focused on helping users discover maximum value from PI System. Prior to OSIsoft, she conducted fuel cell research at Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos National Labs. She holds a PhD in chemical engineering and BS in chemical engineering and business from UC Berkeley and Caltech, respectively.
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