Friday, March 20, 2015

New Features for ZOOMS 2.2.4 (shipped)

There are a just a couple of usability improvements for ZOOMS 2.2.4.

Remove keywords with click.

Customers were telling us that it is easy to search for a trend by clicking on the various links within the search engine result page (SERP). But it was hard to remove some of the parameters that they didn't want. With ZOOMS 2.2.4, you're able to remove any keyword from the query with a simple click.

Below the search bar, there is a statement indicating that results were found including the timestamp of the search (in case the user has stepped away, they ought to know that the trend may be stale).

Further below the search bar is a list of all the keywords that were recognized by ZOOMS. Units are shown with a unit icon. Parameters are shown with a parameter icon..etc.

As of ZOOMS 2.2.4, these keywords are buttons with an "x" to the right-hand-side. Clicking the button will remove that keyword from the search box (so that you can re-search).

Show Values textbox travels

Another comment we were getting was that the "show values" textarea stayed at the top, and when you had multiple trends found, if you clicked "show values" on a lower trend, you could not see that the values actually populated. With 2.2.4, this issue has been fixed. The textarea "follows" you as you scroll:

This does not require a full re-install, just a single-file to update the changes. Go ahead and send email Zymergi Technical Support and we'll send you the file and instructions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ZOOMS Data Historian Search Engine Configuration

ZOOMS is your search engine for process (trend) data.

Step 1: Go to the home page (using web browser)
Step 2: Input your keywords (hit enter)
Step 3: View the SERP

(SERP is an abbreviation for "Search Engine Results Page.")

This is the way that Google has conditioned the world to find pages of information on the internet and this is the user experience we at Zymergi think ought to be available in the enterprise.

But how do you configure ZOOMS?

It turns out for ZOOMS to work with your system, you need to answer 4 questions:
  1. Where should ZOOMS get time-series data?
  2. Where should ZOOMS look to know about the points (i.e. tags or IO)?
  3. Where should ZOOMS look to find out what units and parameters exist on your system?
  4. Where should ZOOMS look to find "batches" that exist on your system?
In each of the cases, if the answer is, "I don't know," that's perfectly alright.  ZOOMS has an internal database to keep track of all this.

Questions 1 and 2 refer to the time-series data and the point configuration.  You see, ZOOMS is a search engine for trends, and trends are created when you plot values vs. time:

ZOOMS trend example

All this means is that you need some place to put the time-value pairs (OSI calls this the PI Archive); and you need some place to put the tag information (in OSIsoft PI, this is the "point database").  These two databases are responsible for the Y-axis.
Point database and Archive

Customers typically select OSIsoft PI as the time-series data source and the point data source.  That's awesome.  Zymergi is an OSIsoft Partner and frankly, we think they're fantastic.

Question 3 talks about units and parameters.  Units and parameter are the alternative way that people refer to tags.  People think of I/Os as a parameter of some piece of equipment, and so we need a place to store unit/parameter combinations.
batch database to store time-windows

ZOOMS was created back in 2008 (can you believe we're going on 7-years?) and back then, the data store for unit/"alias" data was the PI Module Database. Since then, OSIsoft has moved towards Asset Framework ("AF"), but since AF wasn't ready during ZOOMS development, we created our own metadata storage.  So while any relational database will do, there is a local database that ZOOMS uses.

Question 4 is about time-windows.  Since time-windows is what defines the X-axis of a trend, being able to search by time-windows is of utmost importance.   In batch-processes (such as pharma and biotech companies), batch identification is used to identify time-windows, but if you're a continuous process, you can define batches as work-shifts, days of the week, fiscal metrics...whatever.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that there is a way of storing time-window information:

ZOOMS trend example

This is why ZOOMS has a local time-window data store.

The key here is that being able to search for trend data depends on 4 data sources and thus the configuration of ZOOMS starts with setting these connection strings.