“We are in a much safer and more secure model today because our new system is all API-driven.”

Bo Kennedy, Director of Infrastructure Architecture

  • High performance, high capacity storage that enables OvationData to write, concatenate, verify, and output massively sized files.
  • Easy to optimize and manage dedicated clusters in a dynamic environment.
  • Highly secure file sharing among multiple enterprise customers.
  • High NAS performance
  • Massively scalable capacity
  • 24×7 availability across all business functions
  • Ingest, manipulate and output 25TB+ files without chunking

OvationData Selects Qumulo to Provide Storage-as-a-Service Platform for Oil & Gas Users

OvationData Increases Its Ability to Manage Large Seismic Files by 5X, Enabling Interchange of Wide Range of Diverse Data Sets

Ovation Data Services, Inc. (OvationData) is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and has been in business for more than 30 years. The company serves several industries with technology solutions, but its primary focus is geoseismic data. Geoseismic surveys study a location’s seismic attributes and compare them to geological features typically found in oil or gas deposits.

Single files can reach 25TB+ sizes, and data sets easily reach into the petabytes. This scale places high performance and capacity demands on storage and file sharing. Few companies have dedicated high performance/high capacity storage that can manage large data as a single file, so they send their content to OvationData on tape or online.

OvationData creates dedicated NAS clusters for each customer that enables them to work with the data as a single file. It then remediates incoming data, concatenates chunks into a single file, verifies, and outputs the entire file back to the customer. OvationData will also output multiple copies of the file for project partners.

When Scale-Out Won’t Scale

OvationData’s legacy storage provider was Dell EMC Isilon Scale-Out NAS. Since OvationData routinely doubled its capacity every year, scale-out NAS was a critical requirement. However, as single files regularly grew beyond 25TB in size, the Dell EMC solution couldn’t keep pace.
OvationData decided to retain the legacy Dell EMC NAS for smaller datasets only, and set out to find a new storage provider that could handle geoseismic requirements at a reasonable price.

The IT team tested several different vendors, storage types, and configurations, including Tegile, Pure Storage, Nimble, and NetApp. OvationData determined what it needed most: raw performance and high capacity, along with flexibility and simplicity, were a must.
Bo Kennedy, Director of Infrastructure Architecture at OvationData, said, “There was a laundry list of systems we evaluated, and we found nothing. We don’t need block and we don’t need fancy functionality. We don’t even need replication because, after 30 days, we’ll output or archive data and move to another project.”

The company knew about Qumulo but had not tested it’s file storage system yet. Then Qumulo proved itself in a trial by fire.

Just before Christmas 2017, OvationData needed 800TB of storage to output and deliver customer data by December 31. This wasn’t a problem – until the primary Isilon system failed. “We didn’t even bother calling Isilon because there was no way they could get storage to us that quickly,” Kennedy recalled. “We called Qumulo, who immediately located four nodes totaling 800TB and shipped them to us. They arrived within 48 hours. The only reason they didn’t arrive sooner was that the airline bumped the heavy boxes in favor of Christmas packages. They came the next morning and we set them up right away. We made all of our promised data deliveries, which is the whole reason we’re in business.”

“For companies that are considering a NAS appliance for big data transfer and manipulation, and who need simplicity and security, Qumulo is the answer. There are a lot of appliances that do a lot of different things. But a scale-out NAS appliance that’s simple to use and manipulates huge files? That’s Qumulo.”

Bo Kennedy, Director of Infrastructure Architecture

Qumulo On Board

OvationData pronounced the purchase a success and bought 11 nodes of QC260 platforms to create a 2PB usable system. Deployment was extremely simple, and Qumulo’s customer success team was quickly available over Slack. Kennedy reported, “It’s nice being able to talk directly with your Qumulo team without having to sign a separate premium contract. It’s just part of Qumulo’s normal customer service.”

Kennedy reported his top three favorite Qumulo benefits: scalability, visibility, and simplicity.

With Qumulo, OvationData can support very large single file sizes. For example, one customer owned a 25TB file. The customer had to chunk it to send it to Ovation. Once the company received it, OvationData used the Qumulo file system as a single workspace to concatenate the chunks into a single 25TB file, analyze and validate the entire file in place, and output it as a continuous file.

Qumulo makes it possible to keep spare nodes, enabling OvationData to automatically scale its storage capacity up and down as needed. Should a customer run over a capacity limit, the company easily scales its dedicated cluster. When the data has been output, OvationData rapidly dissolves the nodes and reallocates space to other customers.

Visibility is also critical for Ovation’s workflow. The company does not store long-term data on Qumulo’s file-based NAS but uses it for high performance, large capacity storage for projects lasting about 30 days. OvationData prefers operating close to the capacity threshold, but this only works because Qumulo’s software enables clear visibility into file sizes, projects, owners, and retention dates; and because the process of ingesting and outputting files is fast and simple.

This level of visibility also lets OvationData accurately estimate completion times and resource requirements for customers. Another important advantage is the built-in, real-time visibility of the clusters. Even in environments that are not internet-accessible, the clusters will always present accurate information from their interface.

A third significant benefit of Qumulo’s system is its efficient consolidation and simplified management, which streamlined operations and slashed admin time for OvationData.

Qumulo’s APIs simplified and secured its storage environment by integrating with OvationData’s orchestration tools. The tools automatically deploy, tear down, expand, shrink, modify, and set permissions on the cluster without having to manually interface with the Qumulo system.

The permissions capability is particularly important. OvationData can manage customer data deliveries and output without exposing the Qumulo clusters. And automating customer permissions enables OvationData to deliver and receive customer data without interruption. Said Kennedy, “We are in a much safer and more secure model today because our new system is all API-driven.”

  • Scalability: PB-sized usable capacity and the ability to manipulate massively sized files.
  • Simplicity: Consolidation and management ease of use.
  • Visibility: Real-time visibility for troubleshooting, optimization, and planning.

Paying It Forward

OvationData also decided to resell Qumulo to its oil and gas customers. OvationData does the installation themselves. Kennedy said, “Qumulo makes installation so easy. We receive it, rack it, plug it in, build a cluster and we’re up and running. It’s one of the easiest systems to onboard that I’ve ever worked with.”

Optimization is also simple. Kennedy added, “We’re able to get any fixes done very quickly. The cluster performance when we first got it was good, but it is now excellent.”

“For companies that are considering a NAS appliance for big data transfer and manipulation, and who need simplicity and security, Qumulo is the answer. There are a lot of appliances that do a lot of different things. But a scale-out NAS appliance that’s simple to use and manipulates huge files? That’s Qumulo.”

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