In EtaPRO 10.3 we are introducing a new way of storing data with EPArchive. We can now store EPArchive data directly in the file system. This will eliminate the cost barrier of a full version of Microsoft SQL Server while providing customers with a simple way to manage their growing EtaPRO systems.
It is worth noting that we have not eliminated existing functionality found in previous versions of EtaPRO and EPArchive. Existing customers can continue to enjoy having their EPArchive data stored inside of a SQL Database.
We also want to remind everyone that EPArchive is available to all EtaPRO customers for FREE to run in a limited capacity. Regardless of whether EPArchive has been licensed or not, every EtaPRO System can take advantage of EPArchive.
As part of the changes to EPArchive, we decided to make EtaPRO APR a customer of EPArchive. Previously, EtaPRO APR had its own proprietary data storage system. With EtaPRO 10.3, all historical data found anywhere is stored in one common location in EPArchive.
Because of this, every EtaPRO 10.3 system requires EPArchive to be configured.
EPArchive still consists of three different storage areas, the Snapshot Table, Buffer, and History. Both the Snapshot Table and Buffer operate in much the same way as they always have. However in EtaPRO 10.3 we added a new method for the History. Now there is the option to store EPArchive data in a series of History Files.
When using File System Storage option, EPArchive stores History data inside of file, organized by calendar year and month. This makes backups and management much simpler.
Even though all the data is stored in the file system, EPArchive still requires SQL Server and an EPArchive Database. With EtaPRO 10.3, the EPArchive database is optimized to store relational data as opposed to large amounts of binary data. This allows EtaPRO to run with EPArchive on SQL Server Express, Microsoft's free version of SQL Server.
Why choose File System?
There are two big reasons to use the File System option in EPArchive:
- It doesn't require a full version of SQL Server
- Its much easier to maintain a series of moderately sized files as opposed to one gigantic SQL Database.
EtaPRO 10.3 has this new EPArchive storage feature directly out of the box, but it needs to be enabled. To enable this new feature open up the EtaPRO Service Manager verify that all EtaPRO Services are stopped. Once the EtaPRO Server services are stopped, click on the Configuration Settings button, then click on the EPArchive tab. Click on the Storage Method combo box and choose the File System option. Also, verify that the drive specified in the Storage Directory field has sufficient free space to store historical data. The Storage Directory is where EPArchive will store not only the Snapshot Table and Buffer, but also all of the History Files. Click OK to save the changes and then restart all of the EtaPRO Services.
EPArchive File Management
Existing EtaPRO Systems
As mentioned previously all EtaPRO 10.3 Systems require an EPArchive Database to be configured. Even if the existing EtaPRO system is using a different historian, EtaPRO 10.3 will still require an EPArchive Database.
Many EtaPRO systems without EPArchive or EtaPRO APR use SQL Server Express as opposed to a full paid-for version of SQL Server. SQL Server Express has a database size limit of 10GB. If a database reaches 10GB, the SQL Server instance will stop responding and cause a major failure.
Therefore we recommend using the File System option for the Storage Method. Existing EtaPRO Systems that have never used EPArchive or EtaPRO APR, and are using SQL Server Express are recommended to use the File System option.
EtaPRO Systems that are already using EPArchive still have the option to switch to the File System option. The process is the same as outlined above. After switching, EPArchive will start storing data in the File System instead of the EPArchive database. Existing data is still stored and retrieved from the database, but new data will be stored in the File System. From the client side, the transition will be imperceptible.
Data already in EPArchive prior to the switch will remain in the EPArchive database. However EPArchive data can be migrated from the EPArchive database to the file system. Contact EtaPRO Support for more information.