TDE Group’s mission is clear: leading the oil and gas drilling industry into the digital age. With more than ten global offices, the company provides customized drilling data analytics solutions to operators and contractors around the world.
The company’s core product, software proNova, aggregates data directly from the rig in real-time. This data is then processed independently to provide web-based analysis and reporting services. Clients can use the findings to maximise efficiency and identify downhole challenges as soon as they appear. proNova is based on a patented Automated Operations Recognition System and has been used to process over 40,000 wells since its introduction 19 years ago.
Since its inception in 2000, TDE Group has been growing rapidly which was challenging for the company’s data center. “We were unable to keep up with the pace,” explains Thomas Woitischek, systems administrator at TDE. “We ran out of disc space and could not maintain the necessary hardware.” The company soon realized that it had two options: Update the existing data center or move to the cloud.
When making this decision, TDE Group had to consider two main challenges: First, the company’s fast growth made it very hard to predict
future demands. “We did not want to spend a lot of time planning and setting up a data center that would already be outdated in two years,” says David Präsent, product owner of TDE’s IT and Software Development project. The company needed a solution that could scale with growth.
Secondly, TDE employees work from around the world and different people need access to different services. The company therefore had to make sure that using a cloud service guarantees access from everywhere and, at the same time, in no way compromise security. Any cloud solution would have to be safely integrated into their network.
It quickly became clear that AWS ticks all these boxes. The large selection of products and pay-as-you-go pricing guarantees that the system can be adjusted to any future developments. And with the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) and additional safety features like security groups, integrating AWS’s infrastructure was not an issue.
TDE uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) as the main server hosting platform, while databases are hosted on Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). Backups of Amazon EC2 data are flexibly managed in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
As historical drilling data is crucial for an accurate drilling analysis, fast and easy disaster recovery on different operational levels is an important requirement. To achieve this, TDE uses AWS Lambda to create Amazon EC2 snapshots and also stores file-based backups from Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS and on-premises servers on Amazon S3. This enables them to restore either a complete machine or particular data, depending on what the situation requires.
As TDE was offering legacy desktop applications for their customers, the company also needed to find a way to make these apps available for co-workers or customers outside the company network. When applications are not web-based, this can be a real challenge. Amazon AppStream 2.0 allowed TDE to manage their applications within the secure AWS network architecture. “At the time of migration, this was a real game changer feature for us,” Präsent recalls.
What made AWS even more attractive was its easy and intuitive setup and operations. “We were able to start testing right away,” says Präsent. All his team had to do was sign up for an AWS account. And the company soon found that working with AWS on a daily basis is just as effortless: Setting up new Linux and Windows servers with Amazon Machine Images (AMI) was quick and easy and no complex routing was necessary for setting up Amazon VPC. Furthermore, working with security groups instead of complex firewall rules and access control lists makes inbound rules clearer and therefore more secure. And automating tasks with scripts in the serverless AWS Lambda environment is equally straightforward.
Aside from making it easy to handle, the intuitive setup of AWS has also enabled TDE Group to work more independently from IT or service providers. Rather than being reliant on external consultants, the company experts can use AWS online documentation and a host of troubleshooting forums to implement solutions quicker. “We can now solve most problems directly ourselves,” says Thomas Woitischek. Such internal solutions not only brings down costs, but also help detect and resolve problems faster and increases control. To this end, the company has recently started using AWS Systems Manager for fully automated maintenance and updates of their infrastructure. Managing software licenses also became more flexible and easier to handle, as TDE does not have to buy them in advance anymore. “We can easily upgrade our database servers to a newer version for the same monthly price, or quit a service to reduce our monthly costs,” says Woitischek.
For clients in the oil and gas industry, digital data analysis allows them to monitor and organize their global rig operations accurately and efficiently. But hosting data on a web server requires maintaining the highest levels of security. “Our customers need to know that they can trust us and that their data is safe with us,” explains Präsent. Certifications like ISO 27001 (Security Management Controls) and SOC 2 (Security, Availability & Confidentiality Report) sets a high security standard and inspire trust. Working with AWS makes it possible for TDE to provide the highest level security without having to acquire all necessary certifications themselves. Using AWS also makes it easier for TDE to comply with its customers' regulations and to implement compliance guidelines within the existing processes.
As a company on a path towards global expansion, TDE Group was looking
for a scalable solution that could help them grow. “We wanted to work with the market leader with the broadest selection of regions in Europe,” says Präsent. With AWS, expanding to a new business location now takes a few days instead of multiple weeks. Furthermore, the scalable system allows TDE Group to stay flexible with changes to their business environment. “We can add new instances with a few mouse clicks and only pay what we actually use,” says Präsent.
Taken together, these benefits have made planning ahead and dealing with the company's growth a lot simpler for TDE. IT costs now exclude external consultants, license management becomes more predictable, and scalable systems ensure that TDE always pays only for the services used. David Präsent is convinced: “With AWS, we have chosen the right provider to enter the next phase of our business development.”