Information technology is all about change so one can hardly fault Microsoft for moving the goalposts on its somewhat mysterious upstream reference architecture, Mura.
When we interviewed Microsoft’s Ali Ferling (OITJ Dec 2009) Mura was to ‘offer the application platform and plumbing that would let partners build applications as line of business solutions.’ This was to be achieved by ‘taking key industry specs and adding value by building them into an ‘out-of-the-box’ integration framework.’
Over time, the ‘out-of-the-box’ message has been replaced by the notion of ‘declarative integration’ which, being interpreted, seems to mean ‘integration via SharePoint,’ although these are our words not Microsoft’s.
Now Mura has again transmuted as indicated by new white papers on the Mura website*. These show a paradigm shift as Mura is retooled for the cloud. The new vision puts ‘cloud services’ at the heart of technology delivery to the energy industry. Microsoft is ‘leading the industry to the cloud and providing the foundation for next generation of oilfield solutions.’
Microsoft argues that corporate upstream IT infrastructure is unable to support today’s business needs and exponential E&P data growth. Much of this data is trapped in upstream applications, making it difficult or impossible to use. Enter the new revitalized Mura—with the promise of a ‘cost-efficient, cloud-based plug-and-play business logic.’ If a technology supplier comes up with a better web-based seismic viewer, it can just plug into the Mura cloud.
Along with the regular Energistics and PPDM standards that Mura purports to support we have ‘OData,’ a spec that was recently backed by Shell’s Johan Krebbers (OITJ May 2013) as a solution to upstream data woes. But as previously, just as you think you’ve ‘got’ Mura, the marketing material backs off from the concrete, retreating into the old ‘declarative’ rather than prescriptive notion. This is backed up by no less than 27 ‘guiding principles’ for use by Mura developers including ‘published interfaces and information models.’
Comment—repositioning Mura in the cloud may be more than just a marketing shift. Microsoft cites Ubiterra’s Ubiseis and Halliburton’s FieldPlan as being served from the Azure cloud. Although it is harder to see where other claimed Mura successes like Schlumberger’s Petrel Studio and Invensys Archestra fit in. Moreover—whether in our out of the cloud, Microsoft’s Mura poster children have not miraculously developed plug and play capabilities. Mura? Maybe it should be Mums—Microsoft upstream marketing strategy.
* On the Mura home page.
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