PI pulls plug on POSC - backs rival PPDM data model. (April 1998)

Charles Ivey, CEO of PI(Dwights) andPetroconsultants announced that they will no longer support the Petrotechnical OpenSoftware Corporation.

In a dramatic announcement at the Public Petroleum Data Model (PPDM) Association's Houston Member Meeting, Charles Ivey, CEO of PI(Dwights)/Petroconsultants gave enthusiastic support for the PPDM data model and at the same time announced that PI would no longer continue with their membership of the rival Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC). Ivey's position on data management technologies was revealed in an extensive interview in PDM Vol 3 N 1. In this interview, Ivey explained PI's philosophy of providing "Just in Time" data as opposed to the more theoretical models and systems developed by POSC, which Ivey categorizes as offering "Just in Case" solutions. Ivey's attack on the POSC Epicentre data model was two pronged. Epicentre, according to Ivey is too complicated for common mortals, and cannot be engineered for performance.


Few would disagree with the criticism that Epicentre - with its highly normalized myriad of tables and relationships described in the esoteric Express data modeling language - is complex. Defenders of Epicentre would claim that this complexity is the price to pay for detailed mapping of the real-world. The performance issue on the other hand is of primordial importance to PI(Dwights), particularly in the North American context. Monthly updates of PI(Dwights)' massive North American database stress the relational database to the limit. Ivey considers that the relatively straightforward approach to database design adopted by the PPDM association helps them to load this data in a timely manner.


Ivey's talk was subtitled "The quixotic search for data integration and management" and likened the POSC Epicentre database to the Tower of Babel, with complex mappings of every imaginable real world entity. Ivey cited Freedman Dyson, who wrote recently in Wired Magazine, "Big projects are guaranteed to fail because you never have time to fix everything." PI's approach has therefore to build on the PPDM data model which has been augmented to include a horizontal drilling subject area, a subject area for production and has extended the land/lease portion and seismic navigation areas. The PI data model is referred to as the PIDM model, and is deployed in the P2000 data management product.

Iris21 outside scope

Petroconsultants' Iris21 data model will not for the meantime be integrated into PI's PPDM-based strategy. Ivey acknowledged that Iris21 data model is "too complicated and unfriendly to the end-user". But Iris21 is the only data model that can handle Petroconsultants' concession-based international data. First attempts at federating the North American PIDM data model with Iris21 will therefore be limited to the deployment of a PPDM-like wrapper around Iris21 which will enhance ease-of-use while preserving the whole of the Petroconsultants dataset.

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