When I was a child, we had a house full of pets. Loads of them. Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, fish, birds, I even had to look after a goat. Pretty much half the house seemed to be under the weight of animals, and I wanted to be a zoo keeper. It just seemed the natural way to live.
Many years later, I met a chap, who wrote an autobiographical book about buying a failing zoo, and it reminded me of my dream. I asked him what his life was really like; had it all been worth it? He smiled and said: “oh yes, very glamorous. We live in a lovely house surrounded by creatures we care about and for. It is our whole life.” He paused and sipped his tea, then with some humour said: “I just wish we did not have to spend so much time shovelling their crap!”
I can see that. In our old data centres, we had unwitting perhaps, realised my childhood dream. We had created a fantastic IT zoo. Each animal had its own habitat. Many of the animals did not get along, but with some coaxing we got them to perform well for our applications. Some were virtually extinct, most were really quite high maintenance. They were expensive, exotic creatures in a bespoke world. We even had zoo keepers and tailored medical insurance to cover their regular ill health. The management of the zoo was a major part of our business focus and expenditure.
Unless you are selling zoo tickets, running a zoo is a real issue and a waste of effort. It costs a lot and, although we grow attached to our charges, they do produce a ton of crap. They become our pets and we love them very much. We lavish our care and attention on them and keep them healthy. No matter what state they get in they have to be managed and maintained. Rain or shine. In many cases, when they die, we kept them for prosperity, just in case.
Why do I make this analogy? Well, it is a clear parallel with our own move to the AWS cloud, and the move made by our customers. Ask yourself this: “Do we build business value by running IT systems?”. The answer for any Oil and Gas business is inevitably a firm “No”. I don’t mean IT is without value, but that value comes from what it is used for. Running a data centre and a team of keepers is a pure cost, a wasted effort and investment.
With a move to cloud we stop trying to run a zoo. We still care about and need the animals, but our engagement is with service utility as a whole, rather than the individual parts needed to support a service. Each animal can be replaced by another one. There are thousands of them, and we do not know any of them. We do not have relationship with these animals. We have a relationship with a farmer. Finally we only pay for the services we need, and have the flexibility to decide for ourselves where we need to spend more or less to achieve our business goals.
So, now we buy services that we need. It is not a just different way to procure hardware or infrastructure. It is a way of tailoring a software service that offers extraordinary flexibility and value.
Our use of the Amazon cloud lets us offer a higher level cloud based services for Oil and Gas companies. One that focuses on business value, not IT services. It is subscription based, giving end user flexibility and control over services such as production reporting, meter data management, hydrocarbon accounting, reserves management, etc. Reliable scalable services to deal with Oil and Gas data problems. No more software procurement, issues with upgrades, compatibility, performance, security, failures, network access, etc.
This really is the start of something new and better. It reduces overheads and increases flexibility. Business services that give vastly reduced effort to understand what is really going in on in your operations. It means making faster better decisions, backed by certainty and complete flexibility to accommodate changes in your business environment. It frees resources to focus on the business of being an Oil and Gas company. It is a lot cheaper than building and running your own zoo too!
It is available now, so now is the time to start to see this as the way things are done, before the cost of inaction overtakes you!
This post by our Technical Director, Peter Westwood, resonates with our message to “free the porcupine”. Learn more here.
If you’d like to know how to do this, or would like to discuss the transformational nature of cloud, get in touch with EnergySys at firstname.lastname@example.org.