Dell Marine Seismic Servers Set World Record for Offshore 3D Production

Dell PowerEdge M-series blade servers are powering a high performance computing (HPC) cluster on a vessel that set a world record for offshore 3D seismic production. Geotrace, a leading seismic processing and imaging company, is using Dell servers and workstations, software and services to analyze and deliver data gathered at sea. The seafaring HPC cluster has drastically improved data turnaround time, making Geotrace more competitive and enhancing their service to customers.

Eliminating Time of Data Analysis to Gain Competitive Edge

  • Dell helps customers like Geotrace deploy systems fast, run them more efficiently and take cost and complexity out of managing the entire data center, even remotely.
  • Geotrace helps companies make critical decisions about extracting from their oil and gas reservoirs by processing data gathered during seismic surveys. The faster the data is extracted and analyzed, the more competitive a business in the oil and gas industry can be.
  • In the past, data gathered offshore had to be brought back onshore via tape to a data center for analysis. By placing an HPC cluster directly on the seismic exploration vessel, Geotrace engineers now analyze data as soon as it is gathered at sea, improving analysis response times and reducing manual data collection and analysis processes.

It has eliminated at least two months of wait time for its customers. In addition, the company has improved the performance of its onboard cluster compared to its previous, land-based systems.

A Boat Load of Dell Blades

  • Geowave Endeavour, a ship owned by Geotrace’s client, Wavefield Inseis ASA, uses Dell PowerEdge blade servers, PowerConnect switches, Dell Precision workstations, and OpenManage software to process seismic data and analyze the information before arriving back at port.
  • The HPC cluster on the Endeavour includes 16 fully-loaded Dell M1000e blade enclosures connected by Dell PowerConnect M6220 Ethernet switches. The blade enclosures house a total of 256 Dell PowerEdge M600 blade servers running CentOS Linux. Each server features two quadcore Intel Xeon processors that offer significantly improved performance per watt compared to previous processor generations

Dell PowerEdge M600 blade servers consume up to 19 percent less power and deliver up to 25 percent better performance per watt than the HP BladeSystem c-Class.

  • Because there is a fixed power supply on the Endeavour, Dell OpenManage Server Administrator software provides power management tools and alerts that let administrators easily configure maximum power thresholds by server or server group.
  • Geotrace engineers use high-performance Dell Precision T3400 workstations with Intel Core 2 Duo Processors aboard the ships to expedite data analysis and delivery.
  • Dell Remote Access Controllers (DRAC) allow Geotrace to manage blades remotely


  • "As oil and gas resources become scarce, energy exploration companies are increasingly turning to supplies that are located in remote areas, often at sea. Our clients look to us for fast and accurate data so that they can recover these supplies quickly and safely. By putting the Dell blade cluster onboard the Endeavour, we've eliminated at least two months of wait time for the customer," said Matt Gaskamp, data center operations manager, Geotrace.
  • "Organizations like Geotrace need computing solutions that are developed with their specific needs in mind, not one-size-fits all systems. By considering the space, power and people in the equation, Dell partnered with Geotrace to develop a highly-efficient, easily managed, reliable blade-powered HPCC to match their very unique and impressive business needs," said Rick Becker, vice president of software and solutions, Dell Product Group.

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