The Direct Read feature has been Arena for a few years now but the capability has been expanded to more Arena elements, making it easier to import data directly into Arena for ease of use in analyzing data. For those of you who haven’t used the Direct Read functionality within Arena, it is definitely a feature worth taking a look at. Direct Read allows you to link elements in Arena with data sources so that Arena will read in the values for those elements from the data source. This means that you can create an Excel file and have data defined for your model in a workbook that you will link via Named Ranges to Recordsets in Arena.
In prior versions the Variables and Expressions elements were the only Arena elements that allowed for the direct read of data. With the newest version of Arena, the direct read functionality has been expanded to include Schedules, Sets, Advanced Sets, Conveyors and Segments.
As an example let us consider the ability to read in Resource Sets from an outside data source.
In Arena, you might have 100 resources defined for a call center. You may have various sets that have been defined to cover specific skillsets. In prior versions of Arena, you would have to either edit the sets manually to try out different configurations for these sets or write VBA code to alter the sets. Now with Arena 15.1, you will be able to just edit an Excel named range that is referenced via a Recordset in Arena.
Below is a Resource Set that is referencing a File that contains the desired Recordset that will be used to define the set.
The File module contains the information about the location of the file and the Recordsets contained within it.
The ability to be able to more easily amend the set configurations will allow you to define a baseline data configuration and then create various different files that represent different scenarios that you would like to consider.
For an example of this feature, check out the new Smarts file, External Data Files Sets Direct Read from Excel.doe which can be found in the C:\Users\Public\Documents\Rockwell Software\Arena\Smarts\External Data Files folder.