There is a new urgency for reaching oil more efficiently in a capital and risk intensive environment, especially with narrow margins around non-traditional exploration. The cost of offshore drilling for oil could be several hundred million dollars, with no guarantee of finding oil at all. On top of that, the high cost of data acquisition, drilling, and production reduces average profit margins to less than ten percent. Also, the expense and strict time limits of petroleum licenses impose a fixed time for exploration. This limit requires data acquisition, data processing, and interpretation of 3-D images with a limited amount of time to a solution envelope.
High performance computing (HPC) helps oil and gas companies accelerate ROI and minimize risk. This is done by providing engineers and geoscientists engaged in identifying and analyzing resource with the potential to map crucial project decisions. Azure provides true HPC on the cloud for customers in the oil and gas industry. Azure provides a broad range of compute resources to meet the needs of oil and gas workloads. This ranges from single-node jobs that use our compute optimized F-series virtual machines to tightly coupled many-node jobs that run on the H-series virtual machines, and all the way up to a dedicated Cray supercomputer.
Of course, compute resources are only useful to the degree you can access them. Many key line of business applications and workflows rely on in-house developed applications optimized for HPC resources. This can pose a dilemma in the cloud age where a significant customization and re-work is sometimes required to modernize applications in order to take advantage of cloud scalability and elasticity. This is where Azure Batch comes in to assist.
Azure Batch lets companies integrate their existing applications with Azure compute resources to execute applications in parallel, and at scale. There's no need to manually create, configure, and manage an HPC cluster, individual virtual machines, virtual networks, a complex job, or task scheduling infrastructure. Batch automates these tasks to create cloud native applications. Best of all It is a free service, you only pay for the resources used as part of the Batch workflow.
Right now, an independent software vendor (ISV) in the oil and gas industry is using Batch to enable its code to run in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This offering uses containers to have an identical environment in Azure and on-premises. The standard application workflow is implemented through web hooks, which runs the models and uploads data to a storage account. This allows the vendor to make the software available to customers in a scalable way without having to run their own infrastructure.
If you’re at the Rice Oil and Gas HPC conference this week, stop by the Microsoft booth to learn more.