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ROGER JORDAN, Associate Editor | October 30, 2014


DENVER, Colorado – The hectic pace of the international exploration industry and the rise of computer intensive big data is leading companies to take a closer look at cloud computing.

Leo Reiter of Nimbix, a provider of cloud-based high-performance computing infrastructure and applications, delivered a presentation on cloud computing to industry representatives on the opening day of the SEG’s annual conference in Denver.

“The reception has been very, very good,” Reiter, CTO at the Dallas-based company, said after spending two days at the society’s 84th annual meeting.

While cloud computing may once have been written off as “pie in the sky,” upstream companies are now taking a serious look at how they can make it work to their advantage, he said.

The main issue isn’t whether oil and gas companies can benefit from cloud computing, but rather how they can “integrate cloud computing into their workflows,” Reiter added.

One of the main attractions of cloud computing is that it allows companies to focus on their core competencies; instead of diverting time and resources in an effort to develop their own high performance computing system, companies are increasingly looking to outsource that responsibility.

“There is no reason for everyone who wants to do processing to have to build their own supercomputers,” Reiter said, adding that there is a more than ample supply of computing capacity available via the cloud.

Nimbix offers a number of solutions that can help the upstream industry work more efficiently and, perhaps more importantly, help companies improve their bottom line.

Developers, Reiter says, were one early adopter of Nimbix’s services.  Industry developers are routinely writing algorithms that necessitate considerable computing power. However, instead of allowing these processes to hamper their local clusters, Nimbix’s cloud service allows developers to build and test their algorithms at scale before taking them in-house for implementation.

Another potential use for cloud computing relates to the running of engineering simulations, which negates the need to build expensive prototypes. “We are seeing more and more interest from people supplying the oil industry on doing equipment design and simulation,” Reiter said.

And while some may question the security of cloud-based computing, Nimbix is clear that data security is one of their top priorities.

One potential weakness of cloud computing is the over subscription of resources, where a number of customers run – in parallel – on the same physical machine. Nimbix, however, adopts a different approach and only allows one customer on any given machine at a time.

“It’s impossible for one customer to contaminate, or even inspect, another company’s work,” Reiter said. And for companies that are uncomfortable with transmitting their data over the internet, Nimbix offers a unique solution.

Nimbix can run a fiber optic link from their Dallas-based data center to the customer’s office. This way the end user can still store all of their data in-house while simultaneously taking advantage of Nimbix’s computing power.