Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Building a PI Lab for SharePoint 2010 and Excel Web App

I finally had some spare time today. No meetings, first time in a while. I had the chance to continue building my PI Lab and try to see how I can use SharePoint 2010 and Excel Web Services. My intentions are to harness the Web App version of Excel as much as I can, so that users can get PI data without needing Excel or PI DataLink at all. Developers will also be able to publish some pre-formatted reports on SharePoint.

I reinstalled almost everything from scratch to start afresh. It's not completed yet but here's what it should look like. Maybe it could inspire some of you. As a bonus, it shows the interactions between various OSISoft layers, which is not always clear to a neophyte such as I.

This is by no means what we'll have in production, everything has been installed with standard and typical (i.e. non-secure) settings and it is used to test and evaluate the interaction between Microsoft and OSISoft components only.

At the bottom, you have your honest-to-goodness vCampus PI System. It doesn't have any interfaces, but can provide some mock points such as good'ole CDT158 and BA:TEMP.1.

In the middle, a default dumb SharePoint 2010 server has PI-SDK feeding PI Data Services, and PI DataLink Server 2010. They, in turn, feed Web Parts and Office Web Apps (which, in fact, only has a usable Excel).

On the top, two terminal servers used to house the various clients. Why? Because The Man only installs and support IE6 and Excel 2003 in our PC environment. Nothing more. So I basically need to set up VMs which have the clients we need: ProcessBook, Excel 2010, and IE8 with the Adobe SVG player. One replicates the system which will host the clients used by our Joe Average User, which is web-only, and more worthy "Power Users", which can use Processbook if they like. Developers have their own environment with Excel 2010 from which they can publish directly on SharePoint. Hint: our production will go along the same way, using Citrix to deport the required applications. Screw The Man.

That's what is on my radar for now. I haven't finished making all these things work but when I'm done, I'll update and correct this post.


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