OSI Monarch first impressions (was: Re: Control Network seperation from Business Network)

We had a three day demo of the OSI (osii.com) Monarch SCADA system for electric generation last week. I am not affiliated with OSI in any way.
This appears to be a core system that does the RTU polling, data transfers, and core SCADA functions. It also has a standard functionality MMI. The competitive advantage of this system lies in making extensive APIs available for whatever satellite apps and processing the customer wants, including extracting data and inserting data into the core databases. Most of the demos of this functionality was done via ODBC and MS Access and Excel, although perl was also discussed.
First impressions are that it is a simplistic system. This is not to say primitive or minimalist. I get the impression that this is meant to be a functional system out of the box, but the intention is to provide enough so that it can be tailored to match the customer's specific business processes. In fact, with the core SCADA functionality provided, you could pretty much write your own system around it based on using the APIs
Screens looked about as easy to change and maintain as a typical MSWindows app.
Which brings up one of the major issues I had with the system: the system was touted as being platform independent. The sales guy specifically said that a major SE USA utility had selected and installed this system because they wanted end-to-end linux, and OSI was the only bidder that could fulfill that requirement.
In fact, the OSI system is -not- truly end-to-end platform independent, although that did not really become clear until well into the afternoon of the first day. The servers (what they call DACs) can be platform independent, but any consoles or development or maintenance machines must be a wintel 2000 based box (win2000, winxp, etc). (It is, however, mentioned in the fine print on the web site). While technologically not a show-stopper, it does bring up the question, if they misrepresent this, what else is being misrepresented?
The underlying databases are proprietary, and look to be fairly simplistic binary b-trees (just a guess from a quick look at some docs). Database integrity checking and correction seems to be simplistic. Audit trails are non-existent, although they are coming in the next release.
The API's look to be extensive, and in fact had us all drooling.
The overall impression of the system at the end of the demo is positive with reservations. The most heard comment was 'looks great! what are the downsides...there have to be some.'
Hope this helps.
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Actually, that is exactly what 'simplistic' does mean. Simple is good. Simplistic means dumbed down. "If the government printed more money we'd all be rich," is a simplistic view of economics.
Walter.

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