Shelf Drilling selects Riverbed | Aternity to accelerate business critical applications on offshore rigs


Riverbed | Aternity announced that Shelf Drilling, an offshore drilling company providing shallow water services to the oil and gas industry, has successfully implemented Riverbed SaaS Accelerator and Riverbed SteelHead to overcome the inherent bandwidth limitations of the VSAT links used to connect its off-shore rigs to mission-critical on-premises and cloud-based applications. By delivering a 95% reduction to the company’s Intranet traffic while optimizing core applications by 80%, the solution has helped Shelf Drilling streamline critical rig operations including order processing, staff training, and operations management.

Headquartered in Dubai, Shelf Drilling operates 30 rigs across eight countries and has 12 onshore locations, with approximately 3,000 employees and contractors. While technology plays a fundamental role in operations, the company’s offshore rigs present unique IT challenges.

“As satellite links are the primary means of connectivity, these rigs typically have low bandwidth of just 1-2 Mbps, and high latency of up to 750 milliseconds,” explained Ian Clydesdale, IT Director at Shelf Drilling. “As a result, some of our key applications require optimization to manage data replication effectively, including our JD Edwards ERP platform, responsible for generating purchase orders in the procurement process, as well as our operational management applications.”

Clydesdale added, “Additionally, all the usual administrative functions need to share and access large files especially during key rig operations. Also, employee satisfaction is another aspect that’s heavily dependent on connectivity. Our staff now rely on bandwidth-intensive applications to keep in touch with family and carry out personal functions such as mobile banking. It’s imperative for us to facilitate this.”

To address these challenges, Clydesdale and his IT team implemented Riverbed SaaS Accelerator to accelerate business-critical SaaS applications and Riverbed SteelHead for WAN Optimization to maximize network and application performance. These solutions integrate with key technologies such as Shelf Drilling’s VMware virtualization software, JD Edwards, and Microsoft 365 to improve performance.

Riverbed | Aternity has enabled the company to achieve a compression rate of over 50% on 1.2 terabytes of email data. Performance monitoring traffic is also accelerated at an average rate of 67% per month, and for their ERP suite, the company experiences 81% optimization along with a 95% reduction in database replication traffic. Additionally, Riverbed | Aternity streamlines replication of data from offshore instances to the virtual cloud environment.

Since Riverbed | Aternity began optimizing Shelf Drilling’s Internet traffic, outages are now less likely to affect data transfer. This is key to the company’s cloud-first strategy which includes the migration to Microsoft Azure in the UAE. “Riverbed | Aternity is an integral part of our infrastructure, so when we’re considering new technology solutions, we have to prioritize technologies that integrate directly with it,” said Clydesdale. “We’re always striving for the best possible digital experience for our teams, and it simply doesn’t make sense to run a network of our size and complexity without Riverbed | Aternity’s optimization and SaaS Acceleration solutions.”

Commenting on the successful partnership between Shelf Drilling and his organization, Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, META at Riverbed | Aternity said, “This was a landmark project as Shelf Drilling was the first organization in the Middle East to implement our SaaS Acceleration solution. We take pride in providing them with technologies that are virtually ‘invisible’ – requiring minimal resources from their internal IT team – and thereby affording them the ability to focus on revenue generation and value creation for their end customers. As they now look to adopt a cloud-first strategy, Riverbed | Aternity is ready to actively guide them through their exciting transformation journey.”

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