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High-Performance 3D Remote Graphics Fueling Data-Driven Decisions for Energy Industry Environments


Visualization has become an integral technology for many industries, but especially for the fast-paced and competitive world of upstream oil and gas. 

The exploration and production (E&P) of natural resources has become a complex and vital task as existing sources become depleted andHPC oil gas industry_blog.jpg new reserves grow increasingly difficult to find. In order to assess potential drilling sites, monitor wells, and track reservoir depletion, teams of geoscientists, geophysicists, and engineers use large seismic datasets to build 3D models of the earth’s subsurface.

Remote visualization has been used to access, interpret, and manipulate these models for over 30 years. The energy, oil, and gas (EOG) industry is considered one of the most demanding use cases of this technology due to the computational intensity, 3D model size, and need for access from remote locations. 

Remote visualization allows a centralized high-performance computing (HPC) resource to host high-end compute and visualization processing, while sending compressed and encrypted images and videos to remote endpoint devices. For the oil and gas industry, this means that geoscientists and engineers at distributed research sites can interact with the HPC center and access seismic data and models that can help them pinpoint the best locations for drilling, perform 3D reservoir modeling, and analyze petrophysical data to optimize production.

Tapping in to remote visualization solutions

A key challenge is that the sluggish recovery from a recent downturn in commodity pricing has strained budgets for E&P activities and driven an increased focus on margins. Finding untapped sources of energy with a higher degree of certainty requires larger models and better simulations. However, HPC centers are facing tighter spending and staffing requirements. Because of this, remote visualization solutions must deliver greater business value in the form of improved performance, more efficient use of data center resources, and lower total cost of ownership.

A remote visualization solution for the EOG industry must also deliver an exceptional graphics experience. Geoscientists and engineers are considered HPC “power users,” who regularly use demanding 3D applications and the most advanced features of their computer hardware, software, and programs. Experiments have shown that if the latency between a mouse movement and graphics screen update is more than 120 milliseconds, the user becomes frustrated and productivity suffers. Recent advances in GPU technology, virtualization software, and remote protocols have broadened the availability of remote visualization solutions that are appropriate for these types of high-end users.

Remote visualization solutions built on industry-leading technologies like density-optimized HPC servers, high-performance graphics, and remote graphics software (RGS) can help geoscientists and engineers innovate faster and maximize productivity. HPE’s High Performance Remote Visualization solutions are built to do just that – drive higher levels of performance, efficiency, and productivity that are needed to accelerate exploration and discovery.

Success in the upstream oil and gas industry is dependent on the ability to visualize complex models quickly, securely, and from any location. Advancements in HPC are enabling geoscientists and engineers to improve geologic visualization and process tremendously large datasets to better interpret critical information in real-time. In extremely demanding environments where even the slightest moment of latency can cost millions, remote visualization is helping companies accelerate data-driven decision-making and extract key business insights faster.

Join me on Twitter at @Bill_Mannel to discuss the latest innovations in HPC that can foster business transformation.

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About the Author


As the Vice President and General Manager of HPC and AI Segment Solutions in the Data Center Infrastructure Group, I lead worldwide business and portfolio strategy and execution for the fastest growing market segments in HPE’s Data Center Infrastructure Group which includes the recent SGI acquisition and the HPE Apollo portfolio.