Customer overview

To support its real-time oil rig operations product, SafeKick needs storage with tremendous reliability, scalability, performance and failover capability. The company decided to pair its services with SvSAN, and SafeKick now is poised for success because of the unparalleled value the combined solution offers the market.

IT infrastructure challenge

SafeKick is a solutions provider to the oil industry, and was founded in 2009 to make drilling anywhere in the world easier. One of the ways they do this is through a product they’ve developed called SafeVision which takes data from sensors around a rig and processes it in real time. With this information, rig operators can see in real time what’s happening down below, where the actual drilling is taking place; it’s like a GPS system for drilling operations. The system removes user error or fatigue from the drilling process, and ultimately results in more efficient, productive and safer drilling operations.

There are several inherent challenges with operating such a data collection and analysis product on an oil rig. Oil rigs (especially offshore ones) are harsh environments which typically have severely limited and slow-running internet connections. Power supplies are short, and unreliable. Space for hardware is limited at best. Also, when hardware failures occur, it’s incredibly costly and time-intensive to replace bad parts – and every hour of downtime costs money in lost operations.

To enable SafeVision to operate properly and deliver optimal value to clients, SafeKick needs to pair its software with a data storage system on the back-end that can support:

  • High availability and reliability, to provide minimal to no downtime
  • Enough performance to ensure proper real-time support
  • Failover capabilities in case a server or something else goes down, and ease of maintenance for on-site support staff

The StorMagic solution – and the ROI it delivers

SafeKick originally considered a traditional SAN solution, but it didn’t work for several reasons. First, connections wouldn’t work – simple interoperability wouldn’t be supported. Second, they would have supported their traditional solution with a physical SAN, which became incredibly complex and expensive. It also was difficult to manage, because each part failure meant sourcing parts, getting approval to go out to the rig and sending staff and equipment to the rig to fix the system.

Finally, the traditional system required big UPS systems, more power and cooling – all of which drove up operating expenses. For all these reasons, they learned a SAN solution wasn’t a fit for their objectives.

After a thorough review, SvSAN was selected by SafeKick to be that back-end storage solution for SafeVision. SvSAN, a software solution delivered through a virtualized shared storage platform, enables enterprises to eliminate downtime and ensure high availability of business critical applications at the edge where disruptions directly equate to a loss in service.

Since integration, SafeKick has seen that SvSAN has delivered on the above benefits – and provided a competitive advantage for the company that will enable its clients to derive more value from the combined solution. Specifically, they include:

Simplified hardware – Because it’s a software-only solution that leverages internal server storage, SvSAN enables a two-server and no-SAN environment. As a result, it’s as portable as storage can possibly be – the perfect IT complement for an offshore rig. In addition, SvSAN reduced the complexity of the solution for SafeKick, requiring only one crossover cable on site instead of 50 cables before.

True high availability and reliability – With SvSAN, synchronous mirroring occurs to ensure seamless operations if one server goes down. As a result, SvSAN eliminates single point of failures commonly encountered with legacy SAN solutions or other storage infrastructures while improving application performance and reducing infrastructure complexity and downtime. This enables SafeVision to quickly and reliably fail over servers, and prevent data loss.

Centralized IT – SvSAN’s industry-standard management interface allows thousands of SvSANs across distributed sites to be managed, provisioned and maintained remotely from a single-pane-of-glass interface at a central location. This makes SvSAN – and SafeVision, by extension – much easier to use, and with minimal resources on site.

Ease of deployment – SvSAN’s automated, scripted deployment process enabled hands-off deployment from central IT across all locations. For SafeKick in particular, all SvSAN set-ups are done back at the home office – and then deployments are executed in turnkey fashion. No on-site staff are required; it’s a simple plug-and-play process. This also is much more secure, because deployment isn’t dependent on a cloud infrastructure or an unreliable WAN.

Cost savings – With less power used, less equipment to ship, money reclaimed from no downtime, less use of IT support on site and more, significant cost savings have been realized in a short time frame. The entire system was procured at a 35 percent lower overall cost than other solutions SafeKick considered. Also, for SafeKick, SvSAN has already produced a 50 percent reduction in licensing fees for failovers, allowing the company to pass those savings along to its customers.

Because of these benefits, SvSAN already has helped SafeVision develop a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. As such, SafeKick expects significant growth for the product and its overall business within the next few years.