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 OSI PI Data Historian and SQL Server so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how OSI PI Data Historian and SQL Server 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.
OSI PI Data Historian vs SQL Server Breakdown
Time series database/data historian
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.
SQL Server can be deployed on-premises, in virtual machines, or as a managed cloud service (Azure SQL Database) on Microsoft Azure. It is available in multiple editions tailored to different use cases, such as Express, Standard, and Enterprise.
Industrial data management, real-time monitoring, asset health tracking, predictive maintenance, energy management
Transaction processing, business intelligence, data warehousing, analytics, web applications, enterprise applications
Supports horizontal scaling through distributed architecture, data replication, and data federation for large-scale deployments
Supports vertical and horizontal scaling, with features like partitioning, sharding, and replication for distributed environments
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.
SQL Server Overview
Microsoft SQL Server is a powerful and widely used relational database management system developed by Microsoft. Initially released in 1989, it has evolved over the years to become one of the most popular database systems for businesses of all sizes. SQL Server is known for its robust performance, security, and ease of use. It supports a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, and containers, providing flexibility for different deployment scenarios.
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.
SQL Server for Time Series Data
While Microsoft SQL Server is primarily a relational database, it does offer support for time series data through various features and optimizations. Temporal tables allow for tracking changes in data over time, providing an efficient way to store and query historical data. Indexing and partitioning can be leveraged to optimize time series data storage and retrieval. However, SQL Server may not be the best choice for applications requiring high write or query throughput specifically for time series data, as specialized time series databases offer more optimized solutions as well as a variety of developer productivity features that speed up development time for applications that heavily use 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.
SQL Server Key Concepts
- T-SQL: Transact-SQL, an extension of SQL that adds procedural programming elements, such as loops, conditional statements, and error handling, to the standard SQL language.
- SSMS: SQL Server Management Studio, an integrated environment for managing SQL Server instances, databases, and objects.
- Always On: A suite of high availability and disaster recovery features in SQL Server, including Always On Availability Groups and Always On Failover Cluster Instances.
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.
SQL Server Architecture
Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database that uses SQL for querying and manipulating data. It follows a client-server architecture, with the database server hosting the data and processing requests from clients. SQL Server supports both on-premises and cloud-based deployment through Azure SQL Database, a managed service offering in the Microsoft Azure cloud. SQL Server’s architecture includes components such as the Database Engine, which processes data storage and retrieval, and various services for reporting, integration, and analysis.
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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.
SQL Server Features
SQL Server offers advanced security features, such as Transparent Data Encryption, Always Encrypted, and row-level security, to protect sensitive data.
SQL Server supports scaling out through features like replication, distributed partitioned views, and Always On Availability Groups.
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a powerful platform for building high-performance data integration and transformation solutions.
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.
SQL Server Use Cases
SQL Server is commonly used as the backend database for enterprise applications, providing a reliable and secure data storage solution.
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence
SQL Server’s built-in analytical features, such as Analysis Services and Reporting Services, make it suitable for data warehousing and business intelligence applications.
SQL Server’s performance and scalability features enable it to support the demanding workloads of e-commerce platforms, handling high volumes of transactions and user data.
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.
SQL Server Pricing Model
Microsoft SQL Server offers a variety of licensing options, including per-core, server + CAL (Client Access License), and subscription-based models for cloud deployments. Costs depend on factors such as the edition (Standard, Enterprise, or Developer), the number of cores, and the required features. For cloud-based deployments, Azure SQL Database offers a pay-as-you-go model with various service tiers to accommodate different performance and resource requirements.
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