Archive for the ‘Oil and Gas’ Category

Population Boom, Energy Boom

Yasir Yousuff

Sr. Director, Global Geo Marketing at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

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In its 2015 World Population Prospects report, the United Nations documented the global population at 7.3 billion with 60 percent attributed to rising Asia.

As with most, if not all emerging economies, energy consumption has witnessed exponential growth in recent decades, spurred by expanded economic activity that has done well to lift much of the masses into a more prosperous middle class. Living standards have improved as a consequence, further accelerating demand for energy to power luxuries like air-conditioning, consumer electronics, and automobiles, among others.

So what does this all mean? With global population set to climb to 9.7 billion by 2050m the strain on the world’s energy resources is expected to increase exponentially.

Hitting a Rocky Patch

oilandgas_resizeHere’s where Chuanqing Drilling Engineering (CDE), a Geophysical Prospecting Company of China National Petroleum Corporation, enters the fray. China is the biggest energy consumer in Asia and relies on companies like CDE to uncover new energy sources to feed its ever-growing appetite.

The services offered by CDE are extensive and high in demand both in China and the global stage. They include engineering and geological research, geophysical surveys, drilling engineering, downhole services, mud logging, well logging and perforating, oil and gas field engineering construction and development, civil works, as well as oil/gas field cooperative development.

Specialized these fields are, yet all derive their invaluable insights from seismic data processed by high-performance computing software. Unbeknownst to many, these industry applications are much more robust than the ones that run on any given PC. The algorithms and calculations that make sense of gargantuan raw data solicited from seismic explorations in varying geological environments are extremely complex, owing to the need for mechanical precision that can make or break any mission-critical task.

In this regard, it is not surprising that the few SAN storage systems deployed by CDE had issues handling the massive growth of data from its exploration activities. Reduced storage capacity resulted in diminished performance, which inadvertently made data analysis increasingly challenging.

A Well-Drilled Solution

CDE’s problem was overwhelming to say the least but its solution was one of relative simplicity: a highly scalable, high-performance platform to meet the demands of its exploration activities and data analysis. In essence, a change of CDE’s IT environment was long overdue and called for.

Following comprehensive consultations with EMC, CDE made the decision to implement a single cluster comprising EMC Isilon X410 with 23 nodes, providing scaling capacity up to 1.6 petabytes. With scale-out NAS deployed, the system possessed the further ability to scale up to 50 petabytes when the need eventually called for it.

Discovering Productivity

“EMC Isilon storage is far easier to manage and has resulted in considerable savings. We estimate that we’ve achieved a 33 percent reduction in costs,” says Tang Chengbing, Director of the Computer Center at CDE.

In an industry where financials are monitored in the billions, not millions, 33 percent represents a significant figure that can mean the different between a profitable or loss-making calendar year.

Storage aside, software such as EMC Isilon SmartQuotas and SmartDedupe have enabled CDE to simplify workflows and eliminate duplicates from a high accessible and secure single volume of storage. It is all part of an ecosystem of smarter allocation so working divisions never face a shortage of capacity nor wasteful surplus like they did with disparate storage solutions.

Future Ready Energy Exploration

Problem solved? Yes, but it is just the beginning.

“It is inevitable that data volumes will increase in the next few years, and with that in mind we need strong technical support from our IT partners,” adds Tang.

The diversity and intensity of seismic data analytics will only become more robust as innovation continues to take flight in this vital field. With EMC’s storage infrastructure firmly established in the company’s operating DNA, CDE can now adopt new solutions flexibly in tandem with fast-paced technological progress.

Read the Chuanqing Drilling Engineering Case Study to learn more.


Building the Exploration & Production Data Lake

John Nishikawa

Director, Business Development & Alliances

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When combined, oil and water seem to have only negative connotations associated with them.  In the kitchen, water and hot oil is a recipe for disaster, just as an oil spill in the ocean would be deemed as an environmental disaster.  Is there a positive outcome when oil is combined with water?  One comes to mind as long as that body of water is your Data Lake and that the oil is in the form of seismic interpretation and reservoir modeling data.

Data Lake 2

In talking to customers, more and more of them are being asked by their internal customers (namely Geoscientists), to provide and make available more pre and post-stack data online, accessible to analyze and interpret. A majority of this data is offline and not readily accessible because it is on tape.  We are talking 100’s to 1,000’s of terabytes of valuable data sitting idly on tape.  What if you could have all this data online via a Data Lake?

EMC has been an important part of infrastructure management in oil & gas for over 25-years in an industry where companies have been drilling for hydrocarbons even longer. That’s an enormous amount of potential data. Think of all the subsurface pattern-matching we could be using to accelerate discovery. Think of all the best practices for running operations efficiently and safely, and models for optimized logistics that could have been created and implemented much earlier if we were able to harness that data in a Data Lake. It’s true that 25 years ago we did not have the advancements in technology we enjoy today – the ability to use sensors to capture and analyze real-time data, computing power to store and crunch terabytes of information in a fraction, global communications and mobility to bring new levels of collaboration to drive business agility – but think about the next 5, 10 or 25 years. The trajectory of innovation possible from harnessing an affordable Data Lake now could be exponential. We could simulate large parts of oil & gas operations and make more economically, financially and environmentally sound decisions quicker before a well is even drilled. The results will never be perfect, but every order of magnitude of change we take away from imperfection, the better off we’ll be in the continued pursuit of energy.

I shall pass on providing my definition of a Data Lake.  I will leave that to the analysts and others.  Instead I will give you a few characteristics that I would want from my Data Lake.  I would want my Oil & Gas Data Lake to:

  • Scale to double-digit petabytes
  • Ease of scale and simple management
  • Support multi-protocols to provide broad data ingestion and analysis capabilities
  • Ability to do Hadoop analytics via HDFS
  • Deliver a strong TCO advantage

Our Isilon Exploration and Production customers are quickly realizing that their Isilon storage investment is in fact the foundation of their Data Lake and also realizing all these benefits and much more today.  If using Isilon, you may have a Data Lake already and not even know it!


EMC Isilon will be showcasing our E&P solutions at the 76th European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) Conference & Exhibition in Amsterdam from June 16th – 19th.  Please stop by our booth at #3206 for presentations, demos, discussions with our staff of subject-matter-experts or any questions. We look forward to meeting you!

Come See EMC Isilon Next Week at the SEG International Expo in Houston

Next week, EMC Isilon will be heading to Houston, TX to take part in The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)’s International Exposition and 83rd Annual Meeting, the world’s largest oil, energy and mineral exposition showcasing technology for use in exploration and other related industries. We are excited to be at the show and to have the opportunity to have in-depth discussions about some of our solutions. Here are a couple of brief highlights about some of the things we’ll be showcasing during the show:  

Petrel Project Snap Plug-in
EMC’s Petrel Project Snap is an Ocean plug-in that allows Petrel users to create instant snapshots of their working projects using EMC Isilon technology. This allows you to create a highly optimized, chronologically-organized library of project snapshots that can be easily restored by the Petrel user at any time. In addition, you can secure the integrity of your project data by capturing copies of project data and associated metadata on a secure storage platform. You’ll also gain important insight into your projects by being able to create a shared snapshot library across your entire Petrel user community.

Self-Service Seismic Solution
The Self-Service Seismic Solution from EMC/Wipro uses workflow automation, specialized seismic validation tools and optimized storage technology to check, load and share seismic data. The solution delivers certified seismic data to your interpreters quickly and combines business process-driven architecture with intelligent storage technology to deliver an integrated solution covering the entire seismic data lifecycle. By using this solution you can also lower your data and storage management overheads and enable workflows, processes and quality assurance business rules to be defined and automated.

Interesting discussions will be happening throughout the week at our SEG Booth, #322. Below is the presentation schedule for Monday, September 23rd – Wednesday, September 25th.

TIME (Central Time)

10:15AM-  (EMC) EMC’s Brazil Research & Development Center: Big Data Research for Oil & Gas
11:15AM – (EMC) Driving E&P Success Through Smarter Information Management
1:00PM –  (Wipro & EMC) Self Service Seismic
2:00PM –  (FUSE-IM) New Ocean Capability for Petrel
3:00PM –  (Schlumberger & Isilon) Partnering for Success
4:00PM –  (EMC) Next Generation Storage Infrastructure

If you’re headed to SEG next week, please stop by and say hello. If you are unable to make it to the event, be sure to follow us on Twitter as we will be tweeting live updates from the event all week!


EAGE London 2013: Event Recap

As we trek back to the U.S. after a busy week at EAGE 2013, we wanted to provide a quick recap of all the conference festivities that happened in London. EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) is the largest and most comprehensive geoscience event in the world. It lasts about a week, and consists of a conference and a technical exhibition presenting the latest developments in geophysics, geology and reservoir/petroleum engineering.

Booth #266 was EMC Isilon’s home for the week. We had tons of activity going on in our booth with giveaways, demos, meetings with partners, customers, or just passerbys intriqued by our swag.


 We raffled off a handful of Apple TVs and kinetic bracelets to those who attended the demos and presentations. Check out one of the lucky winners below!


 EMC Isilon hosted three separate demo pods throughout the week that showcased how we meet the increasing data storage demands of the oil and gas industry and optimize collaborative workflows:

  1. Demo 1: Featured how the functionality of the Ocean Plug-in for Isilon will allow Petrel users to invoke Isilon snapshots to make copies of project files.
  2. Demo 2: Featured EMC’s Exploration and Production Infrastructure (EPI) solution for oil and gas and how our new model is simpler to manage and scales as our customers’ data grows and their performance needs increase.     
  3. Demo 3: Featured EMC’s Next Generation Seismic Data Management system based on Isilon scale-out technology, and how—in partnership with Wipro—this seismic data management solution will enable data to be loaded once and then delivered to interpretation applications with quality-assured automated data transfer.


What an exciting week it was in London! Special thanks to all who stopped by our booth and attended our presentations. We had a great time and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

EMC Isilon Petrovault: Keep the Data, Cut the Costs

I’m writing to you from the heart of Texas, where I’m at SEG 2011, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual exhibition and meeting in San Antonio. And what better place to announce our newest integrated offering – EMC Isilon Petrovault!

Increasing data volumes are placing a burden on business as companies are struggling to add more storage to ensure that important information is readily available. This is particularly true for the oil and gas industry as increasing data volume is needed in their exploration efforts.

In the traditional storage model, all data is stored on the primary layer of storage, which drives up costs as well as management headaches. However, less than 30 percent of data on primary storage is typically accessed in the last six months – so why should businesses pay for all their data to be on the most expensive tier of storage?

That’s right, they shouldn’t.

With EMC Isilon Petrovault, the system adds a layer of scalable, cost-effective and easy-to-manage capacity between HPC primary storage and tape, so oil and gas organizations can automatically migrate data from primary to secondary storage to maximize system efficiency, while keeping all data immediately available. To learn more about Petrovault, you can go here.

While Petrovault is new, Isilon’s role in powering the oil and gas business is not. Customers around the world are currently leveraging Isilon in their upstream oil and gas exploration. Customers like…

  • PetroChina, the publicly-traded arm of China National Petroleum Corporation has deployed EMC® Isilon® scale-out NAS to power the Northwest branch of its Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (PetroChina NWGI). Using Isilon’s X-Series, powered by the OneFS® operating system, PetroChina NWGI has consolidated a range of oil and gas exploration, acquisition and distribution applications on a single, shared storage resource, simplifying big data management for its mission-critical operations.
  • Arcis Corporation, a leading seismic data solutions provider based in Canada. Leveraging Isilon’s X- and NL-Series in combination with SmartPools, Arcis has unified 40 disconnected data silos into a single file system that can be concurrently accessed by dozens of geoengineers. With Isilon, Arcis has sustained nearly 20x data growth without the need for any additional IT staff
  • Kelman, which provides geophysical data management tools and solutions to clients around the world from its headquarters in Houston, TX. Using Isilon’s X- and NL-Series as the primary storage platform for its 2D and 3D seismic processing and analysis, Kelman has reduced storage management to less than one FTE, while improving productivity across its entire workflow.

Along with PetroChina, Arcis and Kelman, Isilon also boasts Cypress E&P, Geotrace, Penn Virginia and the Seismic Exchange as publicly announced oil and gas customers.

For more on our solutions for the energy industry, please go here.

Are you at SEG this week? If so, come on by booth #848 and have a chat!

True Life: Real-world Success with Unified Scale-out Storage (Part I)

As you may recall, this past August Isilon launchedthe first unified scale-out storage platform, integrating iSCSI into the OneFS® operating system. With a few months having gone by, I wanted to share some success stories about what unified scale-out looks like in real life.

In this entry I’ll focus on Cypress E&P, an oil and gas exploration company based in Houston, TX. For years, Cypress had been using a traditional SAN, but as its seismic data stores grew in-line with increasing customer demand, it needed a more scalable solution.

Insert Isilon right? But wait, there was a catch…

Though much of Cypress’ workflow relied on file-based data in their form of raw or processed seismic images, it still needed to store its SQL and Exchange databases, as well as backup these servers to tape.

As opposed to have multiple storage systems running next to each other, Cypress wanted to consolidate all of their data storage on a single system and eliminate the complicated management processes related to its SAN.

Now, insert Isilon’s unified scale-out platform. Using Isilon, Cypress was able to consolidate all of its business-critical applications on single solution and point of management, simplifying IT operations and freeing resources for higher priorities.

With Isilon, Cypress can easily manage and protect its SQL and Exchange servers from the same system it uses for its seismic data analysis and interpretation, giving the oil and gas company one, seamless solution for all its data storage needs. Today, costs are down, productivity and efficiency are up, and Cypress can aggressively pursue new business without worrying about its storage limitations. As Cypress’ Director of IT Eric Bass said:

“With Isilon, we’ve been able to shed the complexity of our previous SAN and consolidate our Exchange and SQL databases, CommVault backups, and all our corporate file shares onto a single, easy-to-use operating system. Now I don’t have to worry about storage and can focus on what really matters – managing data to move our business forward.”

Check back soon for another look at unified scale-out storage in the wild. In the meantime, I’d love feedback on whether people find unified systems more efficient, or prefer deploying separate storage for specific apps.

Please comment here or hit me @Isilon_Nick.



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