As one of the largest energy companies in the world, Repsol’s work covers a wide spectrum of segments in the energy sector: exploration and production (E&P), refining, and the development of efficient and sustainable energies. Over its 90-year history, Repsol has expanded to meet growing global energy demands, emphasizing in its mandate a practice of blanket sustainability. Working across a multitude of segments within the energy and E&P sectors requires the constant rollout of accurate information from its technicians’ labs, both on land and at sea. Cloud adoption and Azure’s HPC capabilities massively improved their operations by transforming on-premises applications into accessible cloud applications.
Fuel for Azure HPC Applications: Democratizing Access to Cloud Applications
Within a single environment, geoscientists can perform key geological workflows from stratigraphic and seismic analysis. When it comes to making billion-dollar decisions based on those HPC workflows, Repsol depends upon accurate and rapid quantitative interpretation, which, according to Greg Walker, Reservoir Engineer Discipline Manager, means “a large number of runs…and intense compute power.”
Accurate reservoir modeling depends upon immediate access to power and bursts, anywhere in the more than 35 countries where Repsol operates.
“Most traditional reservoir engineers have a desktop station. They might get through one run a day. It’s easy for a reservoir engineer to create huge volumes; we’d done [everything] previously on on-premises clusters,” said Walker. The company’s policy of rapid innovation required more compute power for their applications than on-premises systems were capable of handling. As a result, they translated them into cloud applications.
Cloud Migration: Managing Mission-Critical HPC Applications in the Cloud
One of Repsol’s mission-critical applications is Petrel geological and reservoir modeling software, which requires high throughput and reliability. It was imperative that they move to the public cloud to democratize access—deploying workstations anywhere in the world—that would enable researchers to carry out their work in cloud applications without the risk of storage failure. Their move to the cloud with Azure NetApp Files further necessitated that they migrate these crucial systems without compromising the performance of their current HPE 3PAR storage setup.
“One of the key elements that was failing us was the storage; Azure NetApp Files was a lifesaver here. We have seen amazing performance increases,” Walker concluded, speaking of their HPC applications now run in the Azure cloud.
Cloud-Powered HPC: 6.5x Performance Increases Over On-Premises Storage
After their cloud migration, the energy company registered a 6.5x performance increase in their Petrel applications alone, relative to their HPE 3Par. The root cause of the gain? 90% of their performance improvement could be traced to ANF, which underpinned their cloud applications, with only 10% due to faster compute.
To make those figures concrete: Repsol’s productivity skyrocketed from a limited single run per day per workstation to more than a hundred runs per day. On top of that increase in momentum, runs that used to take a month or more now took only a few hours for Azure HPC workloads.
| “Good Information Allows You to Optimize."
The decision to migrate to Azure HPC and utilize Azure NetApp Files as the foundation of its mission-critical applications was simple: “Good information allows you to optimize,” said Amalia Olivera-Riley, Geoscience Specialist Director at Repsol. Cloud migration, and hosting their HPC applications on Azure, vastly increased the proliferation of information crucial to their operations.
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