A Microsoft-sponsored survey by Gulf Research* has found that ‘Microsoft operating systems dominate high performance computing (HPC) in upstream oil and gas.’ The survey, carried out last month, quizzed 104 users in service companies, oil and gas companies, consultants and academia. A ‘95% confidence level’ for the results was claimed.
Apart from the staggering claim of ‘dominance’ in HPC, the study found that Microsoft ‘applications’ were used most often for data manipulation and reporting with 50% of the sample using internally or externally developed bespoke applications. About half of the sample spent 35% or less of their time on ‘high-performance technical computing functions.’
Users reported ‘satisfaction’ with current level of access to compute power, most having ready access to sufficient compute power on their desktop. Data integration was mostly provided by systems within the company. Half the sample spent less that 20% of their time manipulating data and preparing final reports.
Users of custom or internally developed software users were more satisfied than users of third party software with the highest satisfaction reported from users of volume interpretation, geological modeling, mapping and well planning. Lowest satisfaction was reported from uncertainty management, rock physics, and data integration applications.
In answer to the question, ‘Which operating system do you use for your HPC environment?’, 96% reported use of Microsoft Windows, ‘on a daily basis.’ Moreover, some 73% of the sample reported that they ‘never used’ Linux for HPC.
The results from Microsoft’s promotional study fly in the face of reality. HPC is a huge Linux success story to the virtual exclusion of Microsoft’s technology. For more on how to get the answers you want from a survey by asking the wrong people the right questions, see this month’s editorial.
This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2007 Issue # 3.
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