SMi Energy Data Storage 2010

Isilon’s OneFS bests open source. Wipro’s upstream storage reference architecture. NetApp, EMC, Isilon, Panasas slug it out over storage efficiencies. Neil Brown says ‘switch off the lights.’ For Volantice, it’s really about data management. Quotium, Spectra Logic ‘in praise of tape.’

The inaugural SMi Energy Data Storage conference held in London last month was interesting in that solution providers hailed from both upstream oil and gas and utilities. But there was a dearth of end user presentations and something of an excess of sales pitches—albeit of a fairly educational nature. More on SMi Conferences from

Volantice’s Ugur Algan set the scene with a general introduction to E&P data types and the niceties of managing entitlements, documents, GIS and legacy media. Data volumes continue to rise vertiginously. Algan recently came across a single survey of 100TB – and this will be 4D, repeat acquisition. Complicating issues for the upstream data manager include replication, archive and backup, ‘data just multiplies!’ Storage infrastructure is only a small part of the story. The future will see high capacity everything, a likely move to the cloud and better data management with software for de-dupe and replication. But Algan insisted, ‘The issue goes beyond storage, the real problem is data management.’ More from

Neil Brown (DeMontfort University, UK) has been investigating how ‘intelligent’ corporations are with their energy use. Not very it seems. We generate lots of energy that is thrown away as can be seen from a nighttime visit to London’s Canary Wharf business center where most offices remain ablaze with light. Also, around 30-40% of PCs never get switched off. For a large corporation, it easily pays to for a dedicated person to go around switching PCs off—or you can get the cleaners to do it. Justifying such action requires ‘longtitudinal’ energy data to pinpoint problems. You can use water meter data as proxy for building occupancy and compare with energy use. Smart meters also ran… More from

Andy McDonald described how Isilon is addressing the ‘petabyte problem.’ Isilon claims traction in energy with over 50 large customers. Seismic processing is a target market as is interpretation and visualization. Isilon’s claims to fame include low sysadmin overhead, commodity components and its own software, in particular the proprietary OneFS file system. McDonald warns against using less performant open source file systems. OneFS exposes a file system ‘like a 10 petabyte USB key!’ Energy clients include Kelman and Spectrum Energy. More from www.isilon.com1.

Sajjad Khazipura described how Wipro has leveraged its experience building data centers for its upstream clients noting that ‘for every dollar spent on data, $8 is spent on storage.’ Wipro’s upstream storage reference architecture (WUSRA) is described as a ‘business process aware storage application.’ WUSRA ‘understands’ seismic processing environments like Omega and ProMax and software including OpenWorks R5000, Petrel, Eclipse and VIP. WUSRA is designed ‘to assure data access across the workflow.’

To address proliferating data volumes (growing at 70-80% per year!) customers are asking for a ‘step change.’ Wipro’s answer is tiering, starting with the high performance storage for the cluster and moving out to lower cost solutions—ultimately to the cloud. The cloud is now a ‘viable option’ according to Wipro which is working with partner Microsoft to leverage its ‘Azure’ solution—although Wipro claims to be supplier agnostic. The idea is to ‘combine business process outsourcing with infrastructure optimization.’ The user just sees a portal. More from

NetApp’s Peter Ferri showed off a telling slide of upstream storage clients for its unified approach to multi (storage) vendor data management. The advent of 64 bit Microsoft Windows desktop platforms with the CPU and graphics horsepower necessary to drive data intensive interpretation and modeling applications is impacting networking and storage needs. NetApp’s latest concept is the ‘Petrotechnical Cloud,’ consolidating resources and offering users thin client-based access to 2D and 3D visualization. More from

Simon Mitchell (Spectra Logic) put in a stalwart defense of tape storage noting that while storage demands explode, ‘70% of all capacity is misused’ as in inert, allocated not used, orphaned etc. Tape is now reliable, very high density and has a smaller footprint than disk. The Ultrium LTO roadmap scales out to 13TB/tape and a 470MB/s data rates (both uncompressed). More from

John Bell outlined EMC’s attempt to catch up with NetApp in the upstream. NetApp had successfully ‘wiped out’ HP—what could EMC do? Client surveys determined pain points such as ‘cumbersome’ applications that run slow, exploding real time data volumes and storage growth. EMC’s answer is ‘fully automated storage tiering’ and multi path file share. This has cut BP’s storage costs by 20% and is used by BG Group in an ‘aggressive global expansion.’ EMC’s technology powers Schlumberger’s new data profiling service that optimizes Petrel, GeoFrame and other upstream data management. More from

Panasas’ Derek Burke showed off another blue chip client list including BP, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Aramco. Prestack depth migration testing with Paradigm has shown Panasas’ Parallel NFS to be ‘2.5 times faster’ than vanilla NFS. Similar results are claimed for Landmark’s ProMax. More from

Another ‘in praise of tape’ presentation came from Quotium’s Fernando Moreira. Tape is ‘green,’ high performance and offers good lifetime if properly managed. Quotium’s StorSentry runs in parallel to an archival application, collecting quality and performance data and advising on drive and tape changes. Tape is still the most cost effective solution for archives of over a petabyte. For long term storage and compliance, ‘tape remains the only choice.’ As capacity reaches 10TB/tape, real time tape monitoring is critical. More from

1 Shortly after the event, Isilon was acquired by EMC.

This article is abstract of a longer Technology Report produced by Oil IT Journal’s publisher, The Data Room. More from

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