Interview—Urvish Vashi, Paradigm (February 2014)

Paradigm VP marketing explains the rationale behind the move to the Amazon cloud and the different options. Today, data management is performed by customers but Paradigm has plans for Geolog and (maybe) Epos in the cloud. Remoting high end visualization remains tricky.

What is the motivation behind the Amazon web services (AWS) cloud offering?

UV—Customers are interested in reducing friction, reducing infrastructure and for some, moving to less or no IT involvement. For Paradigm the cloud helps us grow the number of ported platforms for our products, providing access from tablets and other operating systems. Starting with Sysdrill, we certify and validate applications on AWS to address both these goals. We are announcing two AWS options. The first, for more hands-on IT-led deployments delivers Sysdrill as an EC2 instance, offering scalability and performance but requiring IT management of the cloud. The second targets companies which just need the application with zero deployment hassle. Here, Paradigm carries all the management burden, setting up the hosting environment and passing through costs to customers. 

So you are not moving to AWS as a development platform?

No not yet. These are cloud-ready offerings, not fully multi-tenant hosting environments. In the longer term there are opportunities here for economies of scale, but we have more work to do ...

How does the data flow into the cloud from drilling/geosteering operations?

Real time data from the drill site is consolidated by the client or service company and fed as Witsml to the Sysdrill instance in the cloud. There is no functional difference between the Amazon cloud edition and a desktop version of Sysdrill.

So no data flows from the rig to the cloud?

No. This could be done but not has yet implemented. The data route goes through our OpsLink data broker for consolidation and output to Witsml.

Although the hands-on option would seem like a good opportunity to combine data management and applications in the cloud. What about Epos in the cloud?

Today Sysdrill is in a stand-alone mode as if it were running in a client’s own data center. We have not validated Epos in the cloud, so you need a connection to your own data center, or you could run everything on your own virtual private cloud.

Is combining data and applications in the cloud where you are heading?

Yes—we are currently testing this kind of approach. This is the first of many steps. We are building more on the cloud but one outstanding problem remains, that of high-end visualization from cloud-based solutions.

Wow! That problem hasn’t been fixed yet? We have been hearing about it for over a decade!

Sure, the industry has been looking at this since the 1990s. The problem cropped up in the old application service provision offerings. But the challenge remains. While Citrix and other solutions exist, they require the use of API libraries inside the software. This is OK as far as it goes but ultimately we will need a new client/server model that just sends a minimal amount of data to the user. But again, this needs doing at the application level.

But with today’s smart phones and tablets this is a totally generic issue..

Indeed but our industry is a bit slow to move to the cloud, perhaps because of security concerns—although Amazon and others are steadily knocking down the barriers. In the end, it’s economics that is driving the move to the cloud.

You mentioned other platforms—do you have iPhone/tablet uses for Sysdrill?

Sure there is a remote terminal option that runs on the iPad—maybe not on the phone.

And this functionality is enabled by AWS?

Yes. Amazon provides great bandwidth, validated ports and a really usable interface.

Who is using the cloud... independents, majors?

We have several smaller companies who are trialling the solution. This is not driven by our major accounts. However, there is not a single major or NOC that has not got some cloud trials running.

What’s next for the Amazon cloud?

Geolog. This should be interesting as it has a larger installed base.

Will you be storing data in the cloud?


And offering the ability to compare drilling wells with nearby related wells?

Yes and this is true to a degree with Sysdrill which has a database of drilling knowledge and can tap into third party data stores. We believe that the cloud represents an IT paradigm shift akin to the desktop revolution of the last century. Companies can avoid owning and managing infrastructure. We all have to start somewhere and Paradigm is positioned as a vendor who can help out with this move. More from Paradigm.

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