5 Things That Oil Companies Should Regard as “Must Haves” When Choosing Between Public or Private Cloud Data Management Solutions

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Photo by Lori M. Sousa on Unsplash

Oil companies are just starting to wake up to the possibilities that public cloud offers.  The arguments that the public cloud is not secure or is too costly are now being washed away.  The benefits that are now available in the public cloud are massive.  Here are 5 things that oil companies should consider as “Must Haves” when choosing their cloud based data management system. 

  1. You must be able to install your own applications within the private cloud offering.
    Today, oil and gas companies want not only access to data, but also access to the data with cloud-based applications that are resident within the same cloud - so that data access and processing can be done within the cloud itself.  This cuts down data transfer requirements and allows work to be done in-situ.  If you need to download your data to your internal network or create tapes to use, process, or share your data – then your private cloud solution is not keeping pace with technology.
     
  2. You must have the ability to share data between users
    The volumes of data created by oil and gas companies tend to be large.  The typical data sharing methodologies of oil and gas industry by creating copies of data on tape or HDD to share with third party companies is slow, costly and terribly inefficient. Collaboration both within oil and gas companies as well as between them, not to mention suppliers is core to the modern distributed cloud.  Data sharing should be as simple and cost effective as hitting a share button and include industry leading security.  If your cloud does not allow data sharing then it is far too restrictive.
     
  3. When you need more resources (Space, Processing Power etc.), then transparent, automated scalability is essential.
    The whole premise of the cloud in my view is scalability.  If your private cloud solution does not scale or requires advance notice of resource allocation, then your cloud is simply not useful in today’s high performance oil and gas sector.  Oil and gas companies tend to be both impatient, while at the same time used to long project turnaround times.  Clouds with scalability for processing and data storage are going to cuts week or months off projects if deployed on a cloud that scales with your needs.
     
  4. If your private cloud isn’t measured, managed, and billed on the basis of what you use, then your private cloud might as well be swapped for on premises infrastructure.
    Use it a lot, then pay for it.  If you don’t use it much, then it should cost less.  If the private cloud is not SaaS, then it is simply going to be more expensive than the public cloud alternatives. 
     
  5. Your private cloud must replicate in an automated fashion to another discrete geography or your data is at risk. 
    Private clouds that require tape backups and couriers to send data to other locations are inefficient, costly, and really are not clouds at all.  They are essentially JBOD’s (Just a bunch of disks (or tapes)) – and that puts data at risk.  Modern public and private clouds automate replication.  If yours does not – then think twice about your cloud solution. 

    To read about the cloud solution provided by Tape Ark that makes use of the latest in cloud technology, then request our white paper on the Open Petroleum Data Lake and the Amazon Web Services page.

 

Comment

Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

Open Standard Petroleum Data Lake?

For as long as I have been in the industry there has been a longstanding approach to data management that typically involves importing and storing data into a proprietary system that has punitive contract termination clauses. These costs make it very difficult to move from one system to the next.  In many cases, oil and gas companies felt held to ransom if they wanted their data back, which was often stored in an internal format that only the provider could unravel.  But if the oil company wanted the data back or wanted to move to a new system, the costs of doing so and getting the data back in a usable format was often prohibitive.

In my view, if you supply a great product or service, and take care of your customers, then you should never fear customers moving.  If customers decide to move, then either you are not doing your job well enough, or someone has out innovated you.  By always keeping the clients desires and wants in mind, you should be able to stay on that innovation curve and address your client’s needs.

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In that vein, we have created an open standard petroleum data lake (ODPL) where oil and gas data can be archived, and you can attach your interface of choice to it (essentially any ARCGIS based data management system).  In this way, if you want to change your interface or access tools, you never need to move your data – just change the application.  The data sits in Amazon Web Services cloud storage, using an industry standard PPDM data model, and allows clients to attach their chosen application to it without ever moving the data again.

See our web pages in cloud consulting and OPDL for further details. Keen to hear feedback on the concept of a centralised, standardised, and globally accessible data lake.  If you are interested in a white paper on the OPDL, click the link to request some details.

Old School Data Recovery

This cartoon recently caught my eye from The Daily Drawing  http://thedailydrawing.com/.

Only pre-millennials will understand this.

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I am willing to put my hand up and am proud to call myself a member of the Gen X squad.  As a child of the 80's I most certainly got a few pencils out to rewind my mix tapes.  Back then I never would have dreamt that those early first steps in innocent data recovery would eventually see me travel the globe and forge a career in large scale corporate data recovery and data storage.  In fact, I performed a project in Ethiopia in the mid 2000’s to recover the countries collection of oil and gas data stored on old 1980’s tapes and found myself rewinding tapes by hand  - in a fashion not unlike the cartoon shows.

I’m sure everyone over the age of 35 has a few of these babies around their house with their favourite tunes on them. If I look hard enough I am 100% confident that there is a Top Gun soundtrack on cassette tape lurking in the back of a cupboard somewhere requiring the pencil treatment.  Thank goodness for Spotify I say.

Comment /Source

Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in the Oil Sector

For the old timers in the industry, the good the bad and the ugly brings up memories of the 1966 Spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood. The movie became known for its unique use of long shot and close-up cinematography, as well its distinctive use of violence, tension and stylistic gunfights (kind of sounds like most analyst reports on the oil price).

In the movie, Clint Eastwood is a gun slinger (“the good” from the title), competing against “the bad” and “the ugly” to find buried gold in New Mexico.

I caught a 10 minute segment of this movie the other morning at 2am while researching technology trends and completing my design of a 10Tb storage platform that can be etched onto the back of a grain of rice. It instantly dawned on me that the movie and its characters were a pretty good allegory for the trends we are seeing (or have seen) in the data storage industry. 

As with all commercial technology ideas, there are good ones, bad ones and downright ugly ones. In fact many can become all three given the right amount of time, or some can be all three at the same time.  Take the Ford Pinto for instance. It was good in that it was kind of sporty, it was bad because it was not the most reliable car and it was ugly because it had the tendency to explode when involved in a rear end collision.  

For the oil industry, and the technology it uses to store its valuable data, I thought I would take a look at the past and present to see which main storage technologies found the buried Confederate gold in New Mexico and which ones were slain in the gun fights of time.

The first cab off the rank is the first commercial storage medium ever produced in the industry - the humble reel to reel tape. This one has become all three over time. 

Good - in that it was a revolution that kick started a new industry and opened new avenues for sharing data.  Bad - because with hindsight it did not hold much data in comparison to the technology we see today.  And ugly - because in many cases the tapes have disintegrated, putting at risk the valuable data recorded on them. 

The second wave of storage medium in the industry came in the late 1980’s when it moved to closed cartridge media. The fundamental design of this media type is still in use today and the evolution from 3480 to 3590 to 3592 was seamless and driven by a single manufacturer (IBM). To be fair it is a stretch to find the bad and the ugly in this technology. Even after 25 years, the medium is stable and almost always readable.  When push comes to shove, I can always find something bad to say about anything – but on this occasion I am going to follow my mom’s advice  - “if you don’t have anything nice to say about something, then don’t say anything at all”.

Running in parallel to developments in tape storage and vying for oil industry dollars was disk storage. This one was good, bad and ugly all at once and over time. It was good in that its capacity and speed quickly overtook tape allowing rapid access to data without the need for a tape drive or additional hardware. But it was also bad in that it became unreliable when put through the sorts of read/write pressures put to it in the oil and gas industry with its large files and continuous use patterns. It took some time, but it has also eventually become downright ugly due to the sheer number of manufacturers of this storage medium trying to create lower cost higher performing devices that now seem designed to fail.

I think it is safe to say that the reel to reel technologies of the 1980’s were killed in action  - with their last words before Eastwood took them out being the horrible high pitched scream of a severely deteriorated tape passing over a tape drive head.

Hard disk technology has seen its share of fights as well, but continues to battle on the reliability vs cost battle fields of New Mexico.

It is only closed cartridge technology that in my book  has found its way to the chest of Confederate gold – both metaphorically and commercially.  Whilst I believe that tape storage in general is doomed to lose ground in the coming years to cloud, it is only so because of competing technologies, and not because it has major faults.  Tape Ark is here to help on this front.

I better wrap this up. The garage just called and said my Ford Pinto is ready for collection.

As published in The Australian Society of Exploration Geophysics - Preview Magazine Issue 177.

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Comment

Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

Would you wait 4 weeks to stream a Netflix show?

Last week we restored some legacy tape based data for a major Australian mining company. The data were 8 year old drawings of a mine shaft that were needed urgently by the company due to a HSE issue on the mine site. 

The data was written across 8 tapes in NetBackup format and was written from an NDMP server to the tapes. Knowing the urgency of the project, we restored the data in less than 48 hours from receipt of the tapes and hand delivered the data to ensure its safe receipt.

What we delivered was data ACCESS however there is more to the story… 

The data RETRIEVAL part of this story is another matter and that was handled by an offsite storage provider. The tapes took 3 weeks to get picked from a local vault/warehouse in Perth and were eventually delivered to the wrong address. Then a second request was placed to get copies of these tapes, also in a local vault which arrived a further week later. 

So just 48hrs for Tape Ark to access the data, but 4 long weeks to retrieve the data. Good enough?....we think not.

What I still don’t understand is why corporations are willing to put up with this level of service for their highly valuable corporate data, yet at home they expect data-on-demand services like Netflix. Would 4 weeks data retrieval for your critical corporate data be acceptable when you know there is a better way? 

#NoMoreTape #TapeisDead #TapeToCloud #TapeArk

You Wouldn't wait 4 weeks to stream Netflix in your home so why do corporations continue to wait to access valuable data?

You Wouldn't wait 4 weeks to stream Netflix in your home so why do corporations continue to wait to access valuable data?

Comment /Source

Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

Where Do I Get my Inspiration From?

Here is a picture of a great friend (Angelo Felgueiras) that I met 4 years ago. Angelo is standing at the South Pole – wearing the pulk harness I used to get to the North Pole and subsequently passed on to him to use to get to the South Pole. Angelo just completed climbing the 7 tallest peaks on each continent (also known as the 7 summits), and then went to both the North Pole and South Pole to complete what is called the grand slam. He is also the only Portuguese to complete this feat for his country. 

I was fortunate enough to go to the North Pole with Angelo and spent considerable time talking to Angelo while we trekked along under our own power through heavy wind and extreme cold. Angelo is the chief pilot at TAP Air Portugal airlines and is an amazing individual. When working towards the North Pole, Angelo had already climbed Mount Everest and the others in the seven summits collection and I very much enjoyed hearing the tales of his adventures. 

Angelo helped me understand that anyone can do anything they want if they put their mind to it. He helped me get to the North Pole on his vibe and energy alone. After making it to the Pole, I moved on to climb a few mountains of my own. I owe Angelo a lot for opening my eyes and giving me a real taste for adventure.

Where do I get my inspiration from – the people I meet who have tried great things – failed or not. Sometimes you just need your eyes opened to what is out there – and Angelo sure did that. Here’s to adventure, and thank you Angelo Felgueiras for inspiring me to find a new life in adventure and exploration as well as in business at Tape Ark.

Adventurer angelo felgueiras - an inspiration for tape ark founder & ceo guy Holmes

Adventurer angelo felgueiras - an inspiration for tape ark founder & ceo guy Holmes

Comment

Guy Holmes

Guy is a graduate of Geophysics from Macquarie University in Sydney, and has completed a Masters of Business Administration (Technology Management) from Deakin University in Melbourne. 

Guy is a successful leader with a proven track record in the growth of start up and turn around businesses in the IT, medical and information management sectors.

Guy has extensive experience in the oil and gas, minerals, medical, and information management industries in Australia and the Asia Pacific and is a highly regarded entrepreneur.

Guy’s experience includes:

• Sourcing Venture Capital
• Acquisitions and Sales of businesses
• Commercial technology development
• Research and development for internal and external products
• International business development
• Product and service marketing, development, and management
• Multimillion dollar contract negotiations with government and private sectors (International and domestic)
• Development of business and marketing plans, strategy documents , and other executive level documents
• Industry leader in information management, data management, archiving strategies, legacy technology with a particular focus on the management of oil and gas and minerals information and data on a global scale.
• Operational management and refinement to seek maximum profitability
• Grant applications, financing arrangements, and seeking alternative funding

The results that Guy has achieved in his varied roles stand testimony to his abilities to:

• Manage organizational resources to achieve results
• Develop and drive technology solutions to achieve business goals
• Grow businesses that are both start-up and/or stagnant
• Successfully land, negotiate, perform and complete projects both domestically and internationally

Guy has been married for 24 years and has five children. He enjoys playing ice hockey, travel, mountaineering and spending time with his family and reading. 

Today's Tape is Not Dead, But Yesterday's Tape Certainly Is

What the release of the new LTO-8 Tape drive really means.

As time has gone on, the life span of new technology (including tape drives) has shrunken.

Technology that one used to buy and use for 10 years, is now only lasting 2 years before being superseded and made redundant by newer, faster and “better” technology. Tape drives and tape media are no different.

For those of you jumping up and down with excitement about the release of the new LTO-8 tape drive (yes – all three of you), don’t get too carried away. While the drive does offer increased capacity and speed, and whatever else the manufacturers want you to believe, it also marks the end of yet another generation of your backup data. Tape drive manufacturers used to make an attempt to have backward read compatibility for at least 2 generations of tape drive, but not so with the LTO8, which only has 1 generation read compatibility.

So – if you have LTO-6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 tapes, add them to your list of dead and inaccessible media if you upgrade to LTO-8 or be sure to factor in the costs of having additional and redundant legacy drives on standby just in case. 

Some companies offer data migration services from older LTO media to newer LTO media, but it isn’t free, it’s expensive and it sure as hell was never factored into the TCO calculations they shared with you when you bought your first tape drive.

As a result of the decreasing lifespan of tape technology the volume of “archive” or “legacy” data in storage is increasing at an alarming rate. The time frame between the data being active and accessible on current tape technology to it then becoming vulnerable and possibly unreadable on a superseded technology is shrinking. Archive data used to be data that was 10 years old, it is now 2 years or less in the tape world.

There is a solution to this tape life (death) cycle - the Cloud. Yes – LTO-8 has its place, but if you really want to solve your legacy backup tape and hardware issues, then I suggest you review the material here.

#NoMoreTape #TapeIsDead #TapeZombies