WinCC v 6 Database Access


Thread Starter

Vipul Shah

We are trying to access the Alarm database of WinCC V 6 through the SQL OLE DB Driver.

However we found that new segments of the alarm database are created at random with different names even though we configured the long term archive for a segment size of 1 year and 1 giga byte.

Is there any means of preventing this segment creation or defining it (not random)? We want a segment size of atleast 1.5 yrs.Your assistance will be very much helpful to us.

[email protected]
You should be using the Connectivity Pack Option as this provides a WinCC OLEDB Provider.

This provider offers seamless access to all alarm databases AND is supported by Siemens.

hope this helps
When I create a linked server with SQL Server, 4 tables are shown: Alarmview, Archive, MsArcLong and Tag. But how can I make a query to this tables?

Engelbert Rodríguez

There´s and application called Enterprise Manager, from Microsoft SQL Server that it´s installed with WinCC. With this program you can see the databases and do queries and export data. Be sure of declare the TagLogging files as "Slow" so you can access the data with the Enterprise Manager.

Engelbert Rodríguez

Powers, Ron SEA

Wrong and illegal. That instance of SQL Server belongs to WinCC. You cannot use Enterprise Manager to open, modify or query the database. You have to use the tools provided in WinCC or Connectivity Pack or Data Monitor.

Ron Powers

Powers, Ron SEA

Use WinCC Connectivity Pack.

Ron Powers
Automation Marketing Pre-Sales Technical Support (AMPS)
5300 Triangle Parkway Norcross, GA 30092 USA
Contact us @:
AMPS Phone: 770-871-3822
Office: 770-871-3940
Email: [email protected]

Engelbert Rodríguez

Hello Ron, can you please explain to me a little bit what is wrong and illegal? That instance of SQL Server comes with the WinCC CD (BTW, provided in WinCC). I´m pretty new using WinCC and Siemens software and probably i don´t know some of this legal stuff.

I need to generate automatically reports based on WinCC TagLogging and AlarmLogging historical databases. It is the Connectivity Pack the best solution for it?

Thanks in advance,

Engelbert Rodríguez

Michael Griffin

This isn't the first time this question has arisen. The particular database your product uses seems to be causing genuine problems for your customers. Why wouldn't you simply have your software use a database with a less user
hostile license? There are plenty of databases available which will let your customers do anything they want without needing to hire a lawyer to look over their shoulder all the time to keep them out of trouble.

Curt Wuollet

Hi Michael
In a perfect world, yes, you could use any of a number of Open dbs to improve access and allow far more imaginative solutions. But in the real world, the reason this doesn't happen is that doing so would violate the (unspoken because they are illegal) exclusive licensing agreements with the monopoly. And since they are heavily invested and completely dependant on Microsoft technology, they have a high degree of exposure to retaliation in pricing or more subtle areas. This is why MS "partners" seem to be all MS and nothing else. MS used to be quite blatant about exclusivity with their "bare PC" pogroms and actual license language. But that has been held to be illegal in many places so the language disappeared. But, no matter, since thay don't have to state why your pricing changed or you were put "on allocation" for new products. It's just under the table now.

I personally think this type of CRM is what will provoke the first industry break with MS. But since it's all or nothing, the stakes are very high for entities with a large MS dependant installed base. It will have to be a company that is in a position where MS can't hurt them much more than they're hurting already. These conditions aren't that far away for some companies that are not heavily diversified.

Another way it might happen is with a corporation that is big enough where MS can't afford to screw with them much like what happened with WalMart and IBM. Linux has given a lot of companies leverage with MS as it is now at least plausible to do without MS products if they cut you off or offer untenable pricing. But it takes a lot of guts and a "plan B" to stand up to MS once you're a part of the collective. Prison gangs are easier to get out of.

I've watched with disbelief as SIEMENS moved ever closer to MS, Surely they must realise that, just as they were around long before MS, they will be in business long after them. I await with interest, their exit strategy.


Powers, Ron SEA

You just said it. SQL comes with WinCC and thus can only be used by WinCC or one of the WinCC Options like DataMonitor or Connectivity Pack. You can use other products like Siemens Industrial Databridge but the computer that accesses the WinCC Data must then have the WinCC Client Access License (CAL). If you want to write queries to the WinCC SQL, and the queries are invoked from a computer other than a WinCC station, you can; however, that computer needs the CAL.


Powers, Ron SEA

All the big players use SQL and don't try to tell me they don't, they just disguise the name with names like InSQL, RSSQL, so forth and so on. And please don't sit there and try to tell me that their licensing schemes aren't similar. With Siemens, you get SQL Server 2000 with WinCC. With the others, you have to purchase as an option. You purchase it and you can access it. Since Siemens provides SQL with WinCC then it is only right that only WinCC or the options can access the database legally. Or you can simply purchase an inexpensive CAL to access. How hard is that. If you want to spend the money to hire a lawyer, you can, but its not necessary.


Ron, you seem to be confusing SQL (a language defined by international standard ISO/IEC 9075) with a particular product which uses it (Microsoft's SQL Server 2000). Microsoft doesn't own the word "SQL".

Products using the standard SQL language are made by many manufacturers and other authors, and are offered under a variety of licenses, some of them similar, others quite different.

Jiri Baum <[email protected]>
MAT LinuxPLC project --- --- Machine Automation Tools
Somehow it doesn't seem like a big plus to defend a vendor by saying they are all a major PITA. What would be refreshing would be if one of them were licensed so you could do whatever you need or want to do. I don't see it as being at all unreasonable to expect that you can access _your_ data any way you want. Or at least any way that makes business sense to you. It strikes me as hilarious that these geniuses have hit on the only way to make using the same database a big negative rather than what could be a great feature for interoperability and integration. Especially when there is no shortage of Open database systems that would do as well or better.



Michael Griffin

> All the big players use SQL and don't try to tell me they don't, they
> just disguise the name with names like InSQL, RSSQL, so forth and so on. <

As someone else has pointed out, SQL is the standard query language used by most relational databases. It is fairly common to incorporate the letters "SQL" into a database product name (e.g. MySQL, SQLite, MS-SQL Server, PostgreSQL, etc., are names of some common databases).

> And please don't sit there and try to tell me that their licensing
> schemes aren't similar. <

I think my question was about WinCC.

> Or you can simply purchase an inexpensive CAL to
> access. How hard is that. If you want to spend the money to hire a
> lawyer, you can, but its not necessary. <

"How hard is that?" Well, I would say that it is hard enough that it wouldn't have occurred to many people that it was necessary. As I said previously, most of us don't want to have a lawyer troll through software licenses looking for problems before we do anything with it.

So, the question goes back to - why not use a database which doesn't have these drawbacks? I suspect that most of your customers would expect that as long as they have paid money for your software, they should be able to do anything with it that it is capable of doing.

Since I was still left wondering "why", I did a bit a research and found the following.


As to what Siemens says about the need for database CALs. I found the following on the Siemens web site.

"When using the Connectivity pack, you need a separate WinCC/CAL (Client Access License) for each client computer without a WinCC license. SIMATIC WinCC and the Web Navigator and [email protected] option packages already contain
appropriate Client Access Licenses"

Note that the web site says the CAL is needed *when* using the "Connectivity pack". What if I *don't* use the connectivity pack? There is a nice little diagram (which I obviously cannot show here) which shows lines going from
WinCC and MS-SQL Server to "SAP" and "MES" through the "Connectivity pack", but it also shows two other lines going to "MES" (via OPC XML DS), and "Visual Basic" which bypass the "Connectivity pack". So the use of the "Connectivity pack" appears to be optional. But if the CAL is tied to the "Connectivity pack", does this imply that the CAL is also optional? I am not arguing about your own conclusion, I am just pointing out what the web site actually says.

While I wouldn't dispute your knowledge of the software license, I would point out that at least some of Siemens's documentation on this subject is a bit ambiguous, if not actually misleading.


Since my question was about *why* Siemens uses MS-SQL Server, I looked further and found on another page:

Siemens states: "Open standards for simple integration
* MS SQL Server 2000 - high performance real-time database
* ActiveX-Controls - open for application modules
* Visual Basic for Applications - for individual extensions
* OLE for Process Control - for non-proprietary communication"

The above is a list of "open standards"? A list of some IT company's proprietary products? Can Siemens actually say this with a straight face?

However, let us look in more detail at each of the reasons which Siemens decided to tie their WinCC product to a specific database (MS-SQL Server).

1) "MS SQL Server 2000 - high performance real-time database". This database is "real time" in what sense? There have been many strong opinions expressed on this list as to what "real time" means in industrial controls, and I have some doubts about whether MS SQL Server would comply with many of them.

2 & 4) "ActiveX-Controls - open for application modules" and "OLE for Process Control - for non-proprietary communication". A look at Microsoft's web site reveals that "ActiveX" and "OLE" are part of "the family of COM
technologies". Microsoft further states "Microsoft recommends that developers use the .NET Framework rather than COM for new development." So your product is based on "MS COM", which Microsoft recommends that we don't use anymore in new applications, as it is obsolete.

3) "Visual Basic for Applications - for individual extensions". Is this the same VBA that is based on what is commonly known as "VB Classic", which became a terminated product at the end of last month?

So I guess the reason to use "MS-SQL Server" is so we can use a list of obsolete proprietary features?


I wasn't sure though that looking at the current product was giving me enough perspective. I looked a bit further and found some interesting historical information. While looking for information on WinCC and SQL, the following page turned up.

This page is one of a list of "success stories" still being trumpeted by Sybase, who were apparently the previous "industry standard" that Siemens had a dalliance with. They state that "WinCC is built on a SQL Anywhere
database" (there's that "SQL" word as part of a product again). They mention that their product had in turn replaced Btrieve (that name ought to bring back old memories for a lot of people).

Sybase mentions that some of the reasons why Siemens decided to standardise on SQL Anywhere was that it was "an open solution", "very user-friendly" and offered "easy installation". And of course, who could object to "enable
integration of additional objects ... including a whole range of PC-based tools, such as spreadsheets".

With all those advantages, one wonders why Siemens would ever want to use anything else.


So, WinCC used Btrieve, then SQL Anywhere, then MS-SQL Server. Tomorrow they may use ... well something else. Changing databases isn't a bad thing. In business software, it is considered to be good development practices to limit dependencies on a particular brand of database (which is one reason why the SQL language is so popular).

So I suppose the lesson for anyone using WinCC (or any of its competitors), is to take a long hard look at the features and options, and ask themselves which ones are based on "open" and independent standards, and which ones are third party proprietary features. Genuine open standards tend to be long lived while proprietary ones ebb and flow with the changing tides of business strategies.

Nathan Boeger

I certainly agree with the commentary. While no SQL vendors strictly and exclusively adhere to the ANSI standard, they're all pretty close. The Microsoft SQL Server game is the one that many vendors play. For example Wonderware InSQL Server is a rebranded MS SQL Server. RSSQL is also intimately tied to SQL Server.

The truth of the matter is it isn't difficult to provide more generalized SQL support - the queries are similar enough. FactorySQL ( proves that this isn't a big deal. It simply a matter of supporting open standards. Each database has an ODBC or JDBC driver. For FactorySQL it was simply a matter of creating XML definition files for supported databases. This is a simple, one time operation that tells the program what queries the database expects to create schemas, keys, etc.

The point is that these vendors could easily include support for many SQL databases, but they don't as a business decision - for the same reasons they obfuscate/encode the data when it's running on MS SQL server. I'm a huge fan of supporting open source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL for industrial applications.

That last part of the post summarized it best, "...which ones (databases) are based on "open" and independent standards, and which ones are third party proprietary features. Genuine open standards tend to be long lived while proprietary ones ebb and flow with the changing tides of business strategies."

The long lived standards are patently obvious - It's time these vendors supported them!

Nathan Boeger - [email protected]
"Design Simplicity Cures Engineered Complexity"