iStore (The Information Store) is developing the petroleum industry's first public cloud offering on Microsoft Azure Services platform. The independent software vendor is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner who blazed trails with a SharePoint 2007 based digital oilfield solution called PetroTrek®, that is being used by supermajor oil companies in their on-premise systems.
iStore understood the implications of the paradigm shift occurring in the computing space through Cloud and would like to be part of this radical change early in the process. The company wanted to level the playing field between the small independent oil producers and the supermajors by creating a multi-tenant Cloud based solution for managing the production assets. iStore refactored their existing PetroTrek® solution with minimal effort to deploy it to Azure platform. This is a testament to the application compatibility of Azure Services Platform with its popular Windows counterparts on-premise.
Azure Services Platform allowed iStore to leverage the existing on-premise databases and directory services and combine them with Azure Compute layer in creating a multi-tenant solution that is accessible to the Long Tail of oil producers. The PetroTrek OnlineT solution leveraged the existing IT assets from their on-premise PetroTrek® solution for a faster time-to-market delivery. One of the core strength of iStore is their proven abilities towards creation of solutions based on federated data stores and this solution exploits that capability to the fullest extent as shown by the architecture diagram in Figure 1.
Figure 1: PetroTrek OnlineT architecture
This Azure based solution allows the integration of the existing IT infrastructure (e.g. security systems) of a customer thereby allowing them extract value from the existing IT investments. The log in screen shown in Figure 2 can authenticate users through an on-premise system (large companies may prefer this for security reasons) or through an Azure self contained security infrastructure for small IT shops who don't have huge on-premise IT resources.
Figure 2: Authentication can be federated with on-premise security systems
Interoperability Azure application server platform (ASP.NET based) allows the mash up of various Cloud hosted and/or on-premise services in creating user experiences that keep the user's mental model in the center. Figure 3 shows well pad sites on Bing maps. Not shown here is various information layered on top related to the wells and well sites.
Figure 3: Bing map delivered from Azure with various layer selections shown in the left nav bar
PetroTrek OnlineT also uses Silverlight in delivering right user experience for various oil and gas well production KPIs as shown in Figure 4:
Figure 4: Silverlight based well KPIs delivered from Azure
The case study of the PetroTrek OnlineT solution is published at http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000005762.
The following quote from Oscar Teoh, VP of Operations says all about the IT agility brought in by Azure Services Platform:
"Our PetroTrek on-premise Digital Oilfield solution caters for supermajors and national oil companies; Window Azure enabled us to level the playing field between large companies and independent oil producers by helping us deliver similar IT capabilities across diverse customer base!" - Oscar Teoh, VP of Operations
A few other quotes from their development staff and marketing are below:
"If we could give independent operators access to Digital Oilfield solutions with the same functionality as the ones we've developed for the supermajors and national oil companies, we could revolutionize exploration and production in the United States." Ben Parker, Director of Marketing.
"We'll be able to provide value to our customers right away because Windows Azure helps us eliminate a lot of operational hurdles." - Tod Magstadt, Strategic Planning and Project Manager.
"If we compare the upfront cost of the two deployment models, I would estimate that using Windows Azure could save customers as much as 90 percent in some cases." - Thinh Pham, Senior Architect.
PetroTrek OnlineT cloud offering is a proof that IT agility can be enabled for large and small companies alike through Cloud Computing. Azure Services Platform and Cloud Computing in general is a fix to the perpetual business and IT misalignment issues exacerbated by the lack of agility in IT operations.
iStore is partnering with CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) in taking the cloud solution to market.
More information on iStore can be found at PetroTrek Online or by calling (713) 787-6798.
To learn more about Windows Azure please visit www.windowsazure.com.
iStore was def ahead of the curve on this one... especially the part about leveling the playing field between the small independents and supermajors... this paradigm "shift" is still happening today -- and in many ways the tipping point of the digital oilfield has yet to arrive... Cool post, thank you!
- Greg A.
Founder of GreaseBook