Saudi Aramco reports immediate ROI with new Dell solution

Saudi Aramco has deployed Dell’s largest, high performance computing cluster (HPCC) at its EXPEC Computing Centre to accelerate its oil and gas exploration programme.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  June 25, 2003

Saudi Aramco has deployed Dell’s largest, high performance computing cluster (HPCC) at its EXPEC Computing Centre inorder to accelerate its oil and gas exploration programme. The HPCC, which is part of the oil giant’s second cluster phase programme, will link thousands of servers together to act as a single, powerful compute engine, and help Aramco to process its ever-increasing tide of seismic data and also expand its clusters easily and cost effectively in future.

The supercomputing cluster in phase two comprises 910 Dell PowerEdge servers, adding 1,820 Intel Pentium III processors to Saudi Aramco’s compute engine. Dell has also implemented Scali Manage from Scali AS to ensure that the 910 servers can be managed from a central point with maximum efficiency and reliability. Processing the seismic data allows geophysicists and geologists to more accurately assess where new reserves of oil and gas may be situated and is a critical tool for Saudi Aramco’s exploration.

“We initially installed a 32-node cluster last year and saw the cost benefits immediately; we recently worked with Dell to add a further 910 nodes,” says Mohammad Huwaidi, Saudi Aramco’s exploration systems analyst. “Using standards-based systems from Dell enables us to build the fastest yet least expensive Prestack Time Migration (PSTM) system. Our ability to rapidly and inexpensively add computing power to our cluster is one of the major benefits of the Intel platform,” adds Huwaidi.

Saudi Aramco says the new implementation has already provided an immediate return on investment. Where an oil strike used to take four weeks with Aramco’s legacy proprietary system, the Dell cluster has resulted in a positive oil strike in only two weeks.

“The Saudi Aramco installation demonstrates that global customers are using standards-based technologies to ‘fulfill’ their most challenging computing requirements,” says Walid Moneimne, vice president, Enterprise Systems Group, Dell EMEA. “The performance and price benefits in scale-out environments for applications previously conducted on expensive proprietary systems, have made supercomputing increasingly accessible to the mainstream market. A Dell HPCC solution leveraging high-performance clustering software, such as Scali Manage, can deliver the same results as a proprietary system for as much as a tenth of the cost,” he adds.

Dell Services deployed and commissioned the cluster with the help of the vendor’s Saudi Arabian distributor Al-Alamiah and software partner Scali AS.

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