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Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Takes Dynamic Production Reporting to the Next Level

COPA-DATA achieves yet another first: zenon Analyzer is the world’s first Dynamic Production Reporting tool to maximize the power of Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Microsoft and COPA-DATA customers solidify their competitive advantage by staying on the forefront of technology and assuring continuous, real-time access to all types of production data. COPA-DATA SQL Development Expert Harald Reif answers a few questions about zenon Analyzer and SQL Server 2012:

The zenon Analyzer is described as a “Dynamic Production Reporting” product. What does this mean?

“As the name implies, dynamic production reporting is the dynamic analysis and evaluation of data. ‘Dynamic’ relates to the fact that both real-time data and historical data can be used for evaluations. This way, all available kinds of data can be used for regular calculations and comparisons. This mix of real-time data directly from processes and historical data from a database is its defining characteristic.”

Can you please tell us exactly what it does?

“zenon Analyzer is our reporting tool, which makes evaluations and calculations of key statistics possible in the form of meaningful reports - and thus provides information on the efficiency of a company. The clear display of key figures and KPIs such as OEE and reports on production efficiency, consumption management, system data, downtime analyses etc. help to optimize production and contribute to a rapid return on investment. The software has two key characteristics: first, its dynamic approach - an evaluation on the basis of real-time data and historical data. Second, is its openness. Depending on the respective equipment infrastructure, companies can construct their data sources in a decentralized manner or gather all data centrally in an SQL database. zenon Analyzer can work with both options. Historical data for use in evaluations, for example, can be obtained from many different sources - such as Microsoft SQL Server and other databases over a linked server. The data is prepared by zenon Analyzer and provided to the user in the form of visually-appealing tables or graphics. The users have the option to use modern tools to generate their reports, or even write their own statistics. Naturally, we also provide a comprehensive set of evaluation tools as standard.”

What advantages does zenon Analyzer with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 offer customers?

“Like all new software release versions, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 has also been significantly enhanced over its predecessor, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. First of all, in addition to minor bug fixes, Microsoft significantly improved performance to meet current trends in the data technology world. For example, multi-core CPUs, which have become more prevalent recently than they were in the past, can be better utilized. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 was limited to four CPUs, whereas Microsoft SQL Server 2012 runs on up to 16 CPUs with a limitation of four sockets. Thus, 16-CPU-usage can be achieved by using four Quad-Core-CPUs.
COPA-DATA endeavors to remain the technology leader. For this reason, it’s important to always adopt and integrate the latest technologies and make these available to our customers. In the future, zenon Analyzer will only be available with Microsoft SQL Server 2012. As Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and its predecessors offer the option to connect to earlier SQL Server versions via linked servers, users can access their historic data on servers running earlier versions of SQL Server without having to upgrade these systems.”

COPA-DATA migrated the zenon Analyzer to an entirely new platform within a very short time - using only a release candidate and with little documentation. How was this possible?

“This is actually a question of the quality of the software architecture on both sides. Microsoft provides certain SQL Server and reporting services interfaces in the form of management objects and web services. We really only have to update these. The first step is to see what’s new and determine if there are any ‘breaking changes’. After determining the changes, the interface references are updated to Microsoft SQL Server 2012. After these upgrades some troubleshooting might be necessary. In the case of the zenon Analyzer migration, certain components had to be updated from .NET Framework 3.5 to .NET Framework 4.0. The last step in the migration process was a regression test to insure that the executables function properly before testing all the functionalities.”

What, in your opinion, are the most outstanding features of Microsoft SQL Server 2012?

“Reporting Services are the foundation of zenon Analyzer. What I personally like most about Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is how easy it is to use linked servers in SQL statements. This allows users the possibility to integrate other databases – even from other vendors. In addition to the ability to access different types of data from various database servers within a single database, the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise version now offers highly increased query performance using the new Microsoft SQL Server 2012 feature ‘Column store Indices’. This is critical for many of our customers in manufacturing environments.”

Use clever reports, identify hidden potential and optimize your production with zenon Analyzer and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Learn more and contact us today.