Does Technology Help You Keep Up With Your Workload?

[show_avatar align=left avatar_size=30]My cohorts and I are off to SEG next week to meet with customers, partners, friends and colleagues.  We will hear and tell lots of stories during our visits.  Whether at the conference, the exhibit floor, over lunch or drinks, when conversation turns to reminiscing about how it used to be for geoscientists, we will reflect on the amazing and exciting changes we have witnessed in our careers.  For the most part, life for a geoscientist is better. I remember my early days as a geophysicist and the time-consuming chores of working with paper sections, measuring travel times with a ruler, transferring times to paper and drawing a contour map.  Preparing for a prospect review meant the office was a busy place nights and weekends.

The explosion of computer technology has streamlined the process tremendously and allowed for orders of magnitude more data to be interpreted and analyzed in far less time.  Yet, despite the exhilarating changes technology has provided, geoscientists still work nights and weekends to meet critical deadlines and wrest the best prospect models from the data.

People will ask next week, what can a technology vendor like EMC provide to help alleviate the workload pressures?

We can’t solve all the problems in the complex environment that comprises today’s exploration IT and application environment.  However we can identify bottlenecks and work with customers and partners to provide performance relief for applications constrained by traditional network attached storage, or NAS, which is the workhorse of the industry.

Consider the popular application SeisWorks© from Landmark.  By understanding the data flow in the application we applied our technology and were able to reduce the time required to render seismic interpretation displays by 2-3 times.  Another customer found that they can read volumes from Landmark OpenWorks© 4.6 times faster than traditional NAS.  When using Landmark GeoProbe© they could do the read 19 times faster.  That’s a significant time savings over the course of a day let alone a week or a month.

Geoscientists would like to be able to interpret and analyze their data “at the speed of thought”.  How is that possible if it takes minutes to walk through a series of inline or cross line slices?  One customer complained that it would take up to 5 minutes to toggle between seismic slices.  Solid State Disk (SSD) works wonders on data base performance.   SSD’s in combination with other technologies applied to OpenWorks© from Landmark now allow this customer to toggle between slices in near sub-second time.  One IT guy said the time savings was equivalent to two full time geoscientists!

Many of you use Petrel© from Schlumberger and common practice is to pre-fetch data and store it on the hard drive of your workstation.  Once loaded, it’s faster to retrieve it from the local drive than from shared storage. But that behavior poses great challenges for the data managers.  Working with Schlumberger we’ve shown that the shared storage model can in fact perform twice as fast as the local workstation drive, unlike traditional NAS, so that the application users and data managers can do their jobs well.

All the results above were achieved by working closely with partners and customers to understand the challenges and identify where EMC could assist.  Clearly, the issues are complex and require this kind of collaboration.  The solution discussed above is EMC Upstream Application Accelerator.

I am curious about your experiences in this arena and welcome your thoughts and comments. Hopefully, I will see you at SEG in San Antonio so we can swap stories.

About the Author: Peter Hodge