Synchronization over satellite connections
Petrofac, just as other companies in the oil and gas industry, has project sites with limited infrastructure in remote locations far away from the central or operational offices. However, a constant on-line connection between these sites is a must, since all these sites constantly need to exchange business documents and technical documentation between each other. In this specific case, Petrofac was looking for a solution, that can guarantee real-time on-line data synchronization between the central document repository located in UAE and their project site in Saudi Arabia. Both sites had EMC Documentum repositories, so the task was to establish real-time synchronization of these two repositories. However, the project site had very limited infrastructure, so the data synchronization needed to be done over a low bandwidth (1Mbit) satellite (VSAT) connection with high latency (600-1000ms round-trip time) and high error rate. The same connection was also used by the employees for their everyday work, so the solution needed to adopt to the already existing heavy traffic. In these circumstances, the vendor (EMC) could not provide an adequate solution.
- Low bandwidth VSAT lines, with high latency and high error rate
- Heavy traffic on the VSAT lines (~10% of the 1Mbit is free during daytime)
- On-line synchronization while sustaining business continuity
- No adequate solution from EMC
- Fully remote work (Budapest-Dubai)
SOLUTION – SYNCHRONIZATION USING MPS VOYAGER
For establishing the required synchronization between the two ECM Documentum repositories, Multipass Solutions used its universal ECM toolkit – MPS Voyager. MPS Voyager has a large number of built-in enterprise system connectors, so it can easily connect, not only repositories from the same ECM vendor, but it can synchronize or integrate any popular enterprise systems or databases with each other. The information exchange between the target and source systems is configured using visual “flows”, which are created in the graphical designer interface and executed by the Voyager Engines installed at the source and at the target site.
First the solution scans the source system, gathers new or modified documents and compresses them into small data packages. (In case of a two-way synchronization, both systems act as source and target systems.) These packages are then transferred from the source site Voyager Server to the target site Voyager Server over the satellite connection, using a special, latency tolerant transfer method. This method and the packaged data structure enables continuous data transfer even in case of low bandwidth connections with high latency and high error rate. Moreover, this type of synchronization adopts to the available free bandwidth, so the data transfer doesn’t interfere with the business traffic on the same lines.
At the target site, the transferred packages are extracted and the data is loaded directly into the target system system with all adequate metadata (existing or added during the synchronization). The synchronization can be manually started from the Voyager designer, or can be scheduled, as it was in this case.
Main steps of the synchronization
- New and modified documents are extracted from the source repository by Voyager.
- Extracted documents are compressed and packaged on the source side.
- Data packages are transferred from the source system to the target system using a special, latency tolerant transfer method.
- The transferred data is extracted by the Voyager Server at the target side and loaded into the target repositories.
Multipass Solutions helped Petrofac overcome the challenges of effectively synchronizing mass data stored in their EMC Documentum repositories over high latency and low bandwidth satellite connections. This way the company can keep all its information always up-to-date and provide real time remote access to documents stored not only in the head office but also in remote sites like drilling locations and research facilities. All work was done remotely from Multipass’ headquarter in Budapest, Hungary.
- Ongoing synchronization even with the highly limited satellite connection (at the rate of 3.13GB/day)
- Latency and low bandwidth tolerant transfer method
- The synchronization didn’t interfere with the existing business traffic on the lines
- Utilizing 85%-91% of the available bandwidth (the EMC DFC/DFS solution averaged an app. 5% transfer rate)
- Intelligent error handling, excellent monitoring and detailed error reporting
- All work was done remotely from Multipass’ Budapest HQ
ABOUT PETROFAC LTD.
Petrofac Ltd. is a leading international service provider to the oil and gas production and processing industry, with a diverse customer portfolio including many of the world’s leading integrated, independent and national oil and gas companies. With 7 operation centers and over 18.000 employees, Petrofac Ltd. provides integrated services across the oil and gas asset life cycle in 29 countries worldwide.