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  4. Visual KPI Remote Context Services (RCS)

Visual KPI Remote Context Services (RCS)

Can we automate the configuration of Visual KPI based on information in an external application or system? Yes, using the Visual KPI Remote Context Service.

Does Visual KPI integration with applications like OSIsoft AF? Yes, using the RCS (and it is awesome).

The Visual KPI Remote Context Services (RCS) is a set of interfaces and queries for reading metadata or configuration information from business applications or other sources of contextual information that Visual KPI requires to create and configure objects in the system. In other words, it allows Visual KPI to be dynamically configured (or automated) so another system can be the master source of metadata.

When should you use the Remote Context Service and how does it work?

  • If you already have a hierarchy and KPIs defined in another application, use the RCS to read that information so KPIs, Groups and other objects are created automatically with no extra work.
  • When new KPIs or objects are added to your master application, the RCS reads those changes (on a periodic basis of your choice) and the new objects appear in Visual KPI without any manual intervention.
  • The same is true for making changes or deleting objects. Everything is automated in Visual KPI every time the RCS runs.

The Visual KPI Remote Context Service feature was originally designed around OSIsoft’s AF (Asset Framework) application and it continues to be the most popular use of the RCS, but now we support the same level of integration to any SQL data source, other historians like enterprise:inmation, and more are being added all the time.

Note: the RCS for SQL data sources or JSON requires some custom queries to be written. If you are interested in using the RCS for these sources, please contact us first.

The RCS is different from an Interface for reading data. A Visual KPI Interface only gives you access to raw or calculated data, but not all of the attributes or configuration information required to create, define/edit or delete objects.

Here are a few other things to know about using the Visual KPI RCS to automate configuration:

  • You still need the Visual KPI Designer for site-wide settings (things that appear under the gear icon in the Visual KPI Designer)
  • You can skip the other parts of the Designer completely, or you can have part of your site automated with the RCS and other parts that are manually configured with the Designer
  • The RCS can be configured in opt-in or opt-out mode. This tells the RCS to “read everything it sees, unless it is specifically decorated to be excluded” or “read nothing unless it is specifically decorated to be read”
  • Part of the RCS configuration, when reading a hierarchy of groups and objects, is to define an initial node in the hierarchy to start reading. This is great when you only want part of your application’s hierarchy to be included in Visual KPI and to ignore the rest

What type of information does the RCS read from external applications?

  • Almost all metadata and attributes that are used to manually create objects in the Visual KPI Designer, including:
  • Group definitions; hierarchy
  • KPIs, including actual, target, limits, and all attributes
  • All chart and table definitions
  • Alert information
  • Dashboard definitions
  • Security information

For a complete listing of supported attributes for each RCS (OSIsoft AF, SQL, inmation, etc.), please see the following articles:

Visual KPI has the following RCS integration options:

Learn more about how Visual KPI RCS works.

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