Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of Graphite and OSI PI Data Historian so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how Graphite and OSI PI Data Historian perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
Graphite vs OSI PI Data Historian Breakdown
Time series database
Time series database/data historian
Graphite can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, and it supports horizontal scaling by partitioning data across multiple backend nodes.
OSIsoft PI System is a suite of software products designed for real-time data collection, storage, and analysis of time series data in industrial environments. The PI System is built around the PI Server, which stores, processes, and serves data to clients, and it can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.
Monitoring, observability, IoT, real-time analytics, DevOps, application performance monitoring
Industrial data management, real-time monitoring, asset health tracking, predictive maintenance, energy management
Horizontally scalable, supports clustering and replication for high availability and performance
Supports horizontal scaling through distributed architecture, data replication, and data federation for large-scale deployments
Graphite is an open-source monitoring and graphing tool created in 2006 by Orbitz and open sourced in 2008. Graphite is designed for storing time series data and is widely used for collecting, storing, and visualizing metrics from various sources, such as application performance, system monitoring, and business analytics.
OSI PI Data Historian Overview
OSI PI, also known as OSIsoft PI System, is an enterprise-level data management and analytics platform specifically designed for handling time series data from industrial processes, sensors, and other sources. Developed by OSIsoft (acquired by AVEVA in 2021), the PI System has been widely used in various industries such as energy, manufacturing, utilities, and pharmaceuticals since its introduction in the 1980s. It provides the ability to collect, store, analyze, and visualize large volumes of time series data in real-time, allowing organizations to gain insights, optimize processes, and improve decision-making.
Graphite for Time Series Data
Graphite is specifically designed and optimized for time series data. It uses the Whisper database format, which efficiently stores and manages time series data by automatically aggregating and expiring data based on user-defined retention policies. Graphite supports a wide range of functions for querying, transforming, and aggregating time series data, enabling users to create custom graphs and dashboards. However, as Graphite focuses exclusively on time series data, it may not be suitable for other types of data or use cases that require more advanced data modeling or querying capabilities.
OSI PI Data Historian for Time Series Data
OSI PI was created for storing time series data, making it an ideal choice for organizations that need to manage large volumes of sensor and process data. Its architecture and components are optimized for collecting, storing, and analyzing time series data with high efficiency and minimal latency. The PI System’s scalability and performance make it a suitable solution for organizations dealing with vast amounts of data generated by industrial processes, IoT devices, or other sources.
Graphite Key Concepts
- Metric: A metric in Graphite represents a time series data point, consisting of a path (name), timestamp, and value.
- Series: A series is a collection of metrics that are all related to the same thing. For example, you might have a series for CPU usage, a series for memory usage, and a series for disk usage.
- Whisper: Whisper is a fixed-size, file-based time series database format used by Graphite. It automatically manages data retention and aggregation.
- Carbon: Carbon is the daemon responsible for receiving, caching, and storing metrics in Graphite. It listens for incoming metrics and writes them to Whisper files.
- Graphite-web: Graphite-web is the web application that provides a user interface for visualizing and querying the stored time series data.
OSI PI Data Historian Key Concepts
- PI Server: The core component of the PI System, responsible for data collection, storage, and management.
- PI Interfaces and PI Connectors: Software components that collect data from various sources and send it to the PI Server.
- PI Asset Framework: A modeling framework that allows users to create a hierarchical structure of assets and their associated metadata, making it easier to understand and analyze data.
- PI DataLink: An add-in for Microsoft Excel that enables users to access and analyze PI System data directly from Excel.
- PI ProcessBook: A visualization tool for creating interactive, graphical displays of PI System data.
Graphite’s architecture consists of several components, including Carbon, Whisper, and Graphite-web. Carbon is responsible for receiving metrics from various sources, caching them in memory, and storing them in Whisper files. Whisper is a file-based time series database format that efficiently manages data retention and aggregation. Graphite-web is the web application that provides a user interface for querying and visualizing the stored time series data. Graphite can be deployed on a single server or distributed across multiple servers for improved performance and scalability.
OSI PI Data Historian Architecture
OSI PI is a data management platform built around the PI Server, which is responsible for data collection, storage, and management. The PI System uses a highly efficient, proprietary time series database to store data. PI Interfaces and PI Connectors collect data from various sources and send it to the PI Server. The PI Asset Framework (AF) allows users to model their assets and their associated data in a hierarchical structure, making it easier to understand and analyze the data. Various client tools, such as PI DataLink and PI ProcessBook, enable users to access and visualize data stored in the PI System.
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Real-time monitoring and visualization
Graphite provides real-time monitoring and visualization capabilities, allowing users to track and analyze their time series data as it is collected.
Flexible querying and aggregation functions
Graphite supports a wide range of functions for querying, transforming, and aggregating time series data, enabling users to create custom graphs and dashboards tailored to their specific needs.
Data retention and aggregation
Graphite’s Whisper database format automatically manages data retention and aggregation, reducing storage requirements and improving query performance.
OSI PI Data Historian Features
Data collection and storage
OSI PI’s PI Interfaces and PI Connectors enable seamless data collection from a wide variety of sources, while the PI Server efficiently stores and manages the data.
The PI System is highly scalable, allowing organizations to handle large volumes of data and a growing number of data sources without compromising performance.
The PI Asset Framework (AF) provides a powerful way to model assets and their associated data, making it easier to understand and analyze complex industrial processes.
Tools like PI DataLink and PI ProcessBook enable users to analyze and visualize data stored in the PI System, facilitating better decision-making and process optimization.
Graphite Use Cases
Application performance monitoring
Graphite is widely used for monitoring the performance of applications and services, helping developers and operations teams track key metrics, such as response times, error rates, and resource utilization. By visualizing these metrics in real-time, users can identify performance bottlenecks, detect issues, and optimize their applications for better performance and reliability.
Infrastructure and system monitoring
Graphite is also popular for monitoring the health and performance of servers, networks, and other infrastructure components. By collecting and analyzing metrics such as CPU usage, memory consumption, network latency, and disk I/O, IT administrators can ensure their infrastructure is running smoothly and proactively address potential issues before they impact system performance or availability.
Business analytics and metrics
In addition to technical monitoring, Graphite can be used for tracking and visualizing business-related metrics, such as user engagement, sales data, or marketing campaign performance. By visualizing and analyzing these metrics over time, business stakeholders can gain insights into trends, identify opportunities for growth, and make data-driven decisions to improve their operations.
OSI PI Data Historian Use Cases
OSI PI can help organizations identify inefficiencies, monitor performance, and optimize their industrial processes by providing real-time insights into time series data from sensors and other sources.
By analyzing historical data and detecting patterns or anomalies, OSI PI enables organizations to implement predictive maintenance strategies, reducing equipment downtime and maintenance costs.
OSI PI can be used to track energy consumption across various assets and processes, allowing organizations to identify areas for improvement and implement energy-saving measures.
Graphite Pricing Model
Graphite is an open-source project, and as such, it is freely available for users to download, install, and use without any licensing fees. However, users are responsible for setting up and maintaining their own Graphite infrastructure, which may involve costs related to server hardware, storage, and operational expenses. There are also several commercial products and services that build on top of or integrate with Graphite, offering additional features, support, or managed hosting options at varying price points.
OSI PI Data Historian Pricing Model
Pricing for OSI PI is typically based on a combination of factors such as the number of data sources, the number of users, and the level of support required. Pricing details are not publicly available, as they are provided on a quote basis depending on the specific needs of the organization.
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