Premier Oil have a number of geologists working on various North Sea projects who are currently dispersed between their London, Aberdeen and Stavanger offices. While their roles and responsibilities are different, frequent collaboration is required on seismic interpretation projects, using tools such as Kingdom. Historically this has posed major challenges for the IS teams at each site; deploying applications, managing data and collaborating their analysis and results. Consequently, when the Group IS Manager discussed the concept of “Remote Access to 3D applications” with ISN Solutions, it captured his interest.
In April 2012, ISN engineers deployed a Proof of Concept installation of Citrix XenDesktop for Pro Graphics. It is an extension of the widely adopted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution, but instead harnesses the compute power of a physical, high spec, graphics card to power 3D applications. An existing Dell T-series workstation in Aberdeen was repurposed as a XenDesktop Pro Graphics host and a Windows 2008 server was built up as a XenDesktop Controller. Once fully configured, geologists in London and Stavanger were able to browse to a website hosted by the XenDesktop Controller and launch a remote desktop session to the XenDesktop Pro Graphics host. Because the XenDesktop host had a powerful nVidia Quadro graphics card, the geologists were able to work using dual monitors at a 1920×1200 HD resolution.
Initial feedback has been positive. One geologist in Stavanger, whose only option prior to this PoC was to use VNC to a desktop in Aberdeen, is very happy with the improvement in performance when using Kingdom. Other applications and usage scenarios will be tested throughout the rest of the PoC which will run until the end of May.