Expansion of unconventional oil and gas exploration and production has played a key role in the evolution of geoscience applications, both in terms of hardware and software. Due to the uniqueness of unconventional development workflows, different computing solution paradigms are required. In this paper, various distributed computing solutions for geoscience applications are discussed, with particular emphasis on a local cloud-based computing environment to support an integrated unconventional applications workflow environment.

The computing methodology aims to build an integrated, distributed, interactive virtualization, and remote visualization environment for optimum resource utilization and seamless scalability. This goal was achieved using three different approaches to meet unconventional resources dynamic requirements. The first approach focuses on a multi-layer local cloud computing infrastructure hosting a collection of loosely-coupled components. The second method utilizes RemoteApp infrastructure to enable users to access 2D windows applications remotely, from any workstation, as locally-based applications. The third approach is based on visualization clusters that facilitate launching of computationally and graphicsintensive applications.

The new environments improve the overall performance of geoscience application usage. In addition, they reduce the communication burden among multidisciplinary asset teams, facilitating faster decision making. Supporting these sophisticated computing environments is simplified as they provide a centralized solution that streamlines the application administration and maintenance process. The flexibility of these solutions can accommodate new real-time data types without requiring major changes to the overall design. The modular architecture of the three approaches facilitates the seamless replacement or addition of new components and applications. System support professionals can make changes and upgrades to the environment's software/hardware resources with minimal interruption to end-users. In addition, the new methodologies have enabled optimization of manpower and support resources.

The new computing environments deliver access to multiple platforms and multiple vendor applications in a seamless manner. They are flexible, enabling components to be easily replaced or added with minimal overhead. Applications can also be easily added or removed with minimal disruption to the user community. The computing environments, including the data layers, are safeguarded through mirroring to ensure high-availability and business continuity.

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