Modeling and simulation-driven exploration and processing have long been key drivers in delivering faster time to oil. The Oil and Gas (O&G) market is one of few where every bit of data created, acquired and measured may be stored indefinitely for a variety of business reasons. This makes the O&G market one of the most data storage intensive domains.

In the face of uncertain oil prices, CIOs, CTOs and datacenter managers are being expected to:

  • Optimize CAPEX and OPEX in datacenter costs
  • Increase infrastructure efficiencies offered to key business units (geoscientists and domain experts)
  • Position organizations for rapid scalability when the market condition improves

During the recent Rice Oil and Gas HPC workshop held in Houston, the DDN team had several candid conversations with executives, datacenter managers and geoscientists in several O&G companies (including the supermajors). It quickly became clear that the recent, precipitous drop in price per barrel of oil is impacting decision makers in the ecosystem in many ways— including decreases in operational, infrastructure and technical budgets.

Net/net, CIOs, CTOs and datacenter managers are being asked to deliver better results for less money, and without sacrificing organizational agility. This is a tall order. Over 50% of the largest O&G companies are leveraging DDN® Storage solutions to address these challenges and more. DDN EXAScaler and GRIDScaler parallel file system appliances deliver massive throughput and parallel access for an extremely efficient approach that integrates ¬file systems and storage media into one extremely high performance ¬ solution. The EXAScaler and GRIDScaler appliances also enable the industry’s highest density – fitting more capacity in a rack than any other vendor – enabling CIOs, CTOs and datacenter managers to deliver high end hardware that reduces time to oil while optimizing CAPEX and OPEX.

DDN is a proven pioneer of parallel file systems technologies enabling some of the most demanding users in the O&G industry to harness efficiencies across their workloads using massive parallelism enabled by the SFA OS and DDNs expertise in Lustre and GPFS. Finally, our modular architecture enables datacenter managers to deliver scalability without imposing performance penalties. DDN solutions enable rapid scalability by adding enclosures or racks driven by need enabling system architects to design a responsive infrastructure strategy that is sensitive to market dynamics.

The uncertainty in O&G market has impacted geoscientists, algorithm developers and system engineers in slightly different ways than CIOs/CTOs and data center managers. This is because the geoscientists, algorithm developers and systems engineers are dealing with a different dimension, namely efficient orchestration and execution of O&G workflows on the data center infrastructure. It is a well-known fact that most oil and gas workflows are constrained in performance and scalability by I/O bottlenecks across the system stack. Significant advances in multicore and heterogeneous compute architectures have enabled rapid advances on the compute side. However this just moves the bottleneck to storage. Many of the oil and gas datacenters still rely on legacy NAS based solutions. For some workflows like imaging and certain modeling use cases, the NAS approach can mean that domain experts are waiting for HOURS for imaging data to be retrieved.

DDN solutions have been extensively tested and benchmarked with various oil and gas workflows using Landmark, Paradigm and Schlumberger-based applications. Results demonstrate industry leading reliability and consistency and superior performance for mixed file sized O&G workloads.

DDN is selected over and over again in high performance workflows because DDN products deliver unique benefits in performance that scale, reliably and cost-effectively. A lot of what makes our solutions unique comes from core, DDN-developed technologies like Storage Fusion Architecture (SFA) and Storage Fusion Architecture Operating System (SFAOS), and intelligent caching at every level data access from storage system level with ReACT, SSD acceleration, prefetching and application hinting with SFX and the ultimate in application acceleration and burst buffer caching—Infinite Memory Engine (IME).

The synergistic impact of these fundamental technology innovations in DDN Storage solutions enable unprecedented performance and scale for O&G workflows. It is no coincidence that DDN solutions power over half the petascale sites globally in O&G, are selected time and again for use in the most demanding oil and gas datacenters, and receive more awards than any other HPC storage product line in the world including Best use of HPC in the Oil and Gas.

  • Chirag Dekate
  • Chirag Dekate
  • Senior Product Marketing Manager
  • Date: March 20, 2015