The Evolution of the Data Historian

A reliable and accurate process history is the secret recipe for operational excellence and correct business decisions. Unfortunately, to most businesses, this is a far-fetched dream as there is hindrance often by missing and inconsistent data. Today, Data historian has evolved with technology and now feature standard SQL structures.

If you are among such companies, you’ll be glad to know that it is possible to say goodbye to all the problems brought about by missing or inconsistent data in the process history by incorporating a data historian into your operations. Described herein is all you need to know about this software.

What Exactly is a Data Historian?

Also known as the process or operational historian, data historian refers to a high-performance program designed to record, retrieve, store, and even compress production and process data at high speeds. The data collected is usually from various sources and is stored in a time-series database that seamlessly stores large amounts of data, yet requires minimal space. The data is often stored in a time series so that it can be easy to identify the specific period that an event happened even in the future, hence the name ‘historian.’

This historian can be used to store a diverse array of data. Top examples include:

  • Digital readings – These include valves and discrete level sensors.
  • Analog data, for instance, temperature, flow rates, CPU temperature, fan speed, and a long string of many others.
  • Product information such as batch, material, or product ID
  • Aggregate data, such as average or moving average.

More on a Data Historian


Once perceived as a program that could only store and present data in real-time, operational historians have come a long way and are now used to store vast amounts of data generated by the various plant systems. As a result, they are way more efficient and beneficial than they were in the past.

One of the main benefits of the modern operational historian is that it has made it possible for businesses to turn data into actionable information. In the past, achieving this meant that engineers had to write their software manually, generate trends, and then visually analyze the data on the historian. This task was often time-consuming and challenging, which, in most cases, required the help of a data scientist.

Today, however, data historians have evolved with technology and now feature standard SQL structures. Therefore, recorded data can automatically be analyzed and turned into actionable data without the need for any special skills. This has, in turn, brought about a series of other benefits such as the ones highlighted below.

Continuous Quality Improvement

Whenever there are quality issues, analyze the data recorded to identify the conditions during the production of the defective batch. This way, it becomes possible to determine what went wrong and correct it, hence preventing such problems in the future.

Reduced Downtime

By using the data recorded on the historian, businesses can identify plant deviations and anomalies that occur during the production process and work on them before they get out of hand. In a regular setting, such variations would typically go undetected and result in a lot of unplanned downtimes. As a result, slow down the production process and consequently cause revenue loss.

A data historian solution is like a toolkit that you can use to maximize all the data generated by the plant. Therefore, it enables you to make informed and empirical decisions, which in turn facilitate expansion.

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