Standards That Work

I was thinking about why we have standards and what they achieve today. I have had a fair bit of experience both as a consumer and producer, dating back to working on X.400 in the 1980s through the many ‘standards’ in software through to the current day. In almost all cases these technology standards have, to some extent, failed. None raised themselves up to manage to be the thing the writers intended. At best they just grabbed a foot-hold or a niche. In this post, I will discuss the reasons why.

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The costs of unreliable data

In a recent survey we carried out, (download the report here), we asked professionals involved in Hydrocarbon Accounting (HCA) how confident they were in their data. Around 65% said that they were “not at all” or only “somewhat” confident in the data they were using as input to the hydrocarbon allocation process. This situation is problematic, given that allocation is all about determining the division of ownership of hydrocarbon products, and that mistakes can have a real and substantial financial impact. Inadequate systems and processes can make it difficult to manage routine issues like mismeasurements, and initially small problems can give rise to a cascade effect with consequences that are difficult to unravel. A failure of compliance is not the least of the potential problems.

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Please stop talking about private cloud

I made a presentation at yesterday’s conference on Developments with the Digital Oilfield in London. The title of my talk, “Why private cloud is a cul-de-sac of doom”, was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and intended to be mildly provocative. However, I had a serious purpose, in that the words and terms we use to describe things are important in creating clarity and driving ideas. Misusing them dilutes their power and ultimately diminishes opportunities. In that context, the term “private cloud” is one that has minimal value and causes confusion.

In my talk, I referenced the NIST definition of cloud computing, and my version of the three key elements that embody the transformational impact of the cloud:

  • A usage-based payment model, whether that’s per user, per cycle, per cpu, or whatever
  • Rapid elasticity, or the ability to seamlessly grow and shrink your demand without needing to stop to add new hardware or software
  • No barrier to exit or entry
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Why low cost is not enough

In a recent posting to LinkedIn, comments from an oil company contact were reported to the effect that high levels of investment in hydrocarbon allocation systems were unsustainable. The poster invited people to consider whether it was time to concentrate on value for money. I won’t link to the post, partly because it was on a closed group, but also because I wanted to focus on the general issue that it raises, rather than the specifics of the post.

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Choosing DigiCert over Verisign

Our current SSL certificate is provided by Verisign, and we’ve had it for three years now. It’s coming up for renewal, and we wanted to add extended validation(EV). The cost on the web site made me pause, but you can’t go wrong with Verisign can you? Besides, it had to be worth contacting them to see if we could cut a deal, as we wanted to go to EV, and probably get another certificate too. Hmmm…

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The cloud: Why not, not why

When I do presentations of energysys.com, and I show how good it is and how it can transform a company’s business, I’m often asked whether it can be installed locally, and why we’re delivering our solution in the cloud. The answer to the first question is “no”, but the second question requires a more considered response. Why, indeed, do we deliver our solution for production reporting and allocation in the cloud?

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Why saving is so last century….

When Palm, Inc produced the Palm Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) way back in 1996, they were revolutionary in many ways.

First and foremost, they simply worked. Pop your Palm in the bundled cradle, press the button, and your calendar, contacts and other information were in sync with your desktop, and you had a complete backup.

Secondly, the Palm really was small enough to slip in the pocket. The Psion Series 5, which came along in 1997, was a brick in comparison, though the fact it had a keyboard was sufficient to convince many of its merits. Personally, I found the Palm’s weird, shorthand notation for text entry to be easy to learn and extremely fast.

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