MicroSeismic Sees Tenfold Performance Increase with Panasas


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Inadequate storage architecture slowing production processing was impacting MicroSeismic’s ability to deliver meaningful seismic imaging data to customers in a timely manner. Here’s how Panasas Storage with DirectFLOW® client software helped them achieve 10X application performance improvement.

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MicroSeismic Sees Tenfold Performance Increase with Panasas

  1. 1. Customer Success Story MicroSeismic Inc.“By using Panasas Storage withthe DirectFLOW® protocol, we’ve MicroSeismic Inc.increased performance of our MicroSeismic, Inc., based in Houston, Texas provides highlyapplications deployed on our Linux sophisticated seismic imaging services to the oil and gas industry. What sets them apart from other providers of these services is theirservers ten-fold and now have leadership in passive seismic processing.all of the throughput we need forexisting and future applications.”Michael ThortonVice President, Data Analysis,MicroSeismic Unlike conventional seismic imaging, The Challenge passive seismic processing does not MicroSeismic’s competitive advantage require the use of air guns or dynamite is based in part on the company’s ability which can have a negative environmental to quickly produce seismic images inSUMMARY impact in difficult-to-reach or difficult locations, such as mountainousIndustry: Oil and Gas environmentally-sensitive terrain. When or earthquake-prone geographies where collecting seismic data, the MicroSeismic only passive seismic processes areTHE CHALLENGE team of experts lay out an array of feasible. In addition to deploying highInadequate storage architecture slowing thousands of receivers that listen to the performance Linux clusters they relyproduction processing was impacting vibrations in the earth and underneath on parallel file system storage to driveMicroSeismic’s ability to delivermeaningful seismic imaging data to the ocean floor. The data they collect the processing demands of complexcustomers in a timely manner. from the arrays monitor reservoir algorithms and other computations response and other production-related produced from raw field data.THE SOLUTION activities which helps their customers • Panasas Storage with DirectFLOW® increase the efficiency of discovery and Initially, MicroSeismic relied on a SAN client software the volume of produced oil and gas. storage solution in conjunction with the • An integrated software/hardware company’s Linux clusters, but as new solution that includes the Panasas Like conventional seismic processing, processing applications were introduced, Operating Environment with the passive seismic processing requires the storage I/O became a bottleneck PanFSTM parallel file system and Panasas DirectorBlades® and massive amounts of data to be collected and the servers were ill-equipped to StorageBlades® and manipulated on a daily basis. It handle the increased workload. In effect, relies on high-performance computing to the prior storage architecture wasTHE RESULT develop fast, yet meaningful results for not optimized to handle the increased • 10X application performance further expert interpretation on where workload, causing the overall production improvement and how deep to drill within a given process to slow to unacceptable levels. • Increased productivity as a result area. MicroSeismic uses a patented of dramatically faster processing/ methodology for processing their data “Once we introduced a new process, response times which runs on dual-core processor- the existing storage was not viable • Reduced administration as a based Linux clusters. The clusters because it couldn’t handle the large result of simple installation and perform compute-intensive operations files that were generated by the data. management at ultra high speed to help accelerate So we added more storage, but it filled • Increased IT productivity and overall system availability results and reduce decision-making time. up within days. Then we purchased even 1-888-panasas www.panasas.com
  2. 2. Customer Success Story: MicroSeismic Inc.more storage and that filled up within weeks. It became a The Resultdomino effect so that as more capacity was made available, MicroSeismic is the world leader in passive seismicit was immediately allocated and used. Something had to be monitoring for oil and gas companies. To date, nodone and fast,” said Michael Thorton, Vice President of Data seismic processing vendor offers the same capabilitiesAnalysis at MicroSeismic.” By using Panasas storage with as MicroSeismic, although the company concedes thatthe DirectFLOW® protocol, we’ve increased performance competitors are expected to unveil their own versions ofof our applications deployed on our Linux servers ten-fold passive seismic software within the next year or two.and now have all of the throughput we need for existing andfuture applications.” “We expect to see competitors in this space in the future because it is very cost effective and you don’t have toThe Solution wait for legal permits to dynamite in terrains that might beMicroSeismic tested several competitive storage products over environmentally fragile or unstable. Unlike our competition,a two-month evaluation period with the expectation that the our team sets things up within a day or two and then wecompany would use a storage-area network (SAN) with Fibre start recording. We listen for the vibrations coming backChannel connectivity. However, after rigorous benchmarking of and then use our patented calculations in conjunction withboth SAN and NAS (network-attached storage) solutions that Panasas storage to derive meaningful results very fast.mostly run on Sun computing systems, MicroSeismic uncovered When necessary, we can easily add more Panasas storageperformance and throughput limitations in both third-party SAN to the production line as a shelf can be up and runningand NAS products as compared to the Panasas Storage Cluster within 30 minutes,” added Thornton.with DirectFLOW client. When problems do occur, as MicroSeismic experienced“When your business involves mammoth data files such as those one long weekend, a telephone call to Panasas’ customerused by MicroSeismic, you’re looking at several hours to transfer service dispatched a team of experts who worked withdata to perform seismic processes. With a SAN, we were lucky to Thorton to locate and solve the problem quickly, thus,get processing time that averaged 100 megabytes per second minimizing disruption of the seismic operation.(MBps), whereas with Panasas storage with the DirectFLOWsoftware, we’re achieving up to 300 MBps. The sooner we can MicroSeismic has not only achieved 10X applicationturn around these jobs, the sooner we can get meaningful results performance improvement since deploying Panasas storage,out to our customers. Perhaps a cliché, but in our business time and increased productivity as a result of these dramaticallyis definitely money,” said MicroSeismic’s Thorton. faster processing times, but more importantly, they are positioned to retain their industry leadership and maintainUsing Panasas storage allows high-speed, parallel data transfer their competitive advantage.between MicroSeismic’s Linux clusters and Panasas storage sothat data can be simultaneously transferred at optimum speeds.Previously, MicroSeismic would move completed projects to aSAN and later to tape archival systems. Now, the data is movedfrom Panasas storage directly to tape archiving, saving time,increasing IT productivity, and reducing administration costs.About PanasasPanasas, Inc., the leader in high-performance scale-out NAS storage solutions, enables enterprise customers to rapidly solvecomplex computing problems, speed innovation and bring new products to market faster. All Panasas solutions leverage thepatented PanFS™ storage operating system to deliver exceptional performance, scalability and manageability. PW-10-20000 | Phone: 1-888-PANASAS | www.panasas.com © 2010 Panasas Incorporated. All rights reserved. Panasas is a trademark of Panasas, Inc. in the United States and other countries.