Sue Graham Johnston, VP, General Manager, Juniper Network

Schlumberger Deploys SD-WAN to Support Remote Digital Oilfield Operations | Juniper Global Summit

Global Summit 2021 SD-WAN
Sue Graham Johnston
Side-by-side photos showing Sue Graham Johnston from Juniper Networks (on the left) who will interview Maged Elmenshawy from Schlumberger (who is on the right) about Schlumberger's deployment of SD-WAN to support remote digital oilfield operations.

How the most complicated industry on the planet stays connected.

How does Schlumberger dynamically select and leverage the most optimal network available and use it effectively, at any time, from any location on Earth?

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You’ll learn

  • How a network can address environmental challenges

  • Why satellites are only part of the solution

  • The current challenge facing the oil and gas business

Who is this for?

Security Professionals Network Professionals


Sue Graham Johnston
Sue Graham Johnston
VP, General Manager, Juniper Networks

Guest speakers

Maged Elmenshawy
Maged Elmenshawy
Global Network Manager, Schlumberger


00:07 Hello, everyone,

00:09 my name is Sue Graham Johnston and I'm vice president

00:12 and general manager here at Juniper Networks.

00:15 Joining me today is Maged Elmenshawy,

00:19 Global Network Manager for Schlumberger.

00:22 Maged, welcome, and thank you for joining us today.

00:26 Thanks very much, Sue, for having me.

00:28 Juniper and 128 Technology is really proud to partner with Schlumberger

00:33 because you're such a forward-thinking company in the industry

00:37 and we're excited to support your digital oilfield operations globally.

00:42 Tell us about Schlumberger and your role in particular.

00:46 Schlumberger is an oilfield services company,

00:48 which means that our domain is really in what we call

00:52 the upstream of the oil and gas industry,

00:55 which is mainly focused on identifying,

00:58 exploring and producing oil and gas from reservoirs,

01:03 basically assisting our clients that do that, right?

01:06 So we don't do it ourselves.

01:08 This involves a lot of advanced technology

01:13 and being able to serve our customer's needs basically anywhere on the planet

01:17 where these types of natural resources are produced.

01:22 It presents some really interesting challenges.

01:24 I remember when we were doing an installation in the Arctic Circle,

01:28 our team actually had to get polar bear training on

01:31 what do you do if you find a polar bear while you're out on the installation.

01:36 Yes, that's very true.

01:38 Health and safety and the environment

01:40 are really key aspects of operations in this domain, really.

01:45 That could involve anything from dangerous gases to dangerous animals.

01:49 That's certainly true.

01:52 It really is hard to think of an industry that's, frankly, more complicated

01:58 than oil and gas,

01:59 because you've got everything from

02:02 hyper-competition to probably one of the most volatile market conditions

02:07 that exist in any industry and certainly,

02:10 the environmental risk management you just mentioned,

02:13 can you help the people listening in understand more about

02:17 the role the network plays in helping Schlumberger

02:21 and your customers address those challenges?

02:24 Sure, fundamentally,

02:26 our services are focused on providing data to customers

02:30 so that they can optimize the performance of their operations

02:35 and optimizing the production of resources.

02:41 All of this revolves around data and typically,

02:46 the locations for these types of resources are

02:49 naturally in very remote locations.

02:52 It involves connecting people and equipment

02:55 from very harsh locations to central experts

03:00 or production systems that need to be able to interact and understand

03:05 and interpret this data on a 24 by seven basis.

03:08 The operations are extremely expensive,

03:12 drill ships, drilling rigs, things like that,

03:15 as well as the equipment that's required to achieve this.

03:18 Being able to connect the remote sites to experts in town and the necessary systems

03:27 is fundamental to the business.

03:29 The network is crucial.

03:31 Of course, we have a lot of people that work out of offices,

03:34 and then you have the normal day-to-day thing,

03:36 but from a direct revenue-impacting perspective,

03:41 the network is absolutely crucial.

03:44 This is really where Juniper and 128 Technology comes in.

03:49 We've been partnering with Schlumberger for quite some time now,

03:54 you really are a customer that has helped push our technology in new directions,

04:00 but it would be great if you could share a bit about why did Schlumberger select

04:05 the session smart routing solution?

04:08 If you think about the kinds of locations I just described,

04:11 whether it's in the middle of the desert

04:13 or in the snow in Canada or somewhere else in the middle of the ocean,

04:17 they're, by nature, locations that are very difficult to connect to networks.

04:22 Typically, you have a few options.

04:25 One of them is satellites.

04:27 Satellite networks are predictable in terms of coverage,

04:31 but they come with the drawbacks of being extremely expensive,

04:35 very limited in terms of bandwidth,

04:37 very cumbersome to deploy the equipment for,

04:40 as well as high latency.

04:43 The other alternatives are cellular,

04:47 which is very unpredictable because you don't know with a lot of certainty

04:52 where you're going to have coverage and even if you do,

04:54 it's not a guaranteed service.

04:56 It's just best effort,

04:57 just depends on what kind of throughput you're going to get,

05:00 it depends on how many people are using the same tower, et cetera.

05:04 What we really needed was something that could dynamically select

05:10 and leverage the most optimal network transport available,

05:14 whether that be satellite, cellular, et cetera,

05:17 and as well use it efficiently.

05:20 As I mentioned, some of these networks, particularly satellites,

05:23 are extremely expensive.

05:25 We need to be extremely efficient in the way we use the bandwidth

05:29 and really what differentiated 128T

05:32 and Juniper from some of your competitors

05:34 is the fact that you're not using legacy tunneling technology

05:38 and your approach is based on sessions

05:42 which secures the connection without

05:45 resorting to decades old approaches.

05:49 Yes, absolutely.

05:50 I remember telling my building manager we're working with a new customer right now

05:55 and I actually need to install a satellite dish

05:58 on the roof of my building in Burlington so we could better

06:01 test our technology with some of the challenges you are facing.

06:05 Certainly, here at Landside,

06:08 we actually have slightly more reliable satellite connectivity but it really is

06:14 a challenge when you're dealing with

06:16 all of those disparate types of transports all over the world.

06:20 In fact, you reminded me that one of the things that we faced was that

06:25 some of the satellite technologies use particular types of compression

06:30 and TCP optimization approaches to the network traffic.

06:35 That, in fact, some of the other platforms that we evaluated broke.

06:40 Meaning that they wouldn't work effectively

06:43 and 128T was one of the unique options that actually did not break

06:48 those types of protocols and optimizations.

06:52 That was another key deciding factor for us.

06:56 Excellent.

06:58 Are there any other challenges that you're facing right now

07:00 that we've helped you overcome?

07:04 I think one of the other things that we find that was very

07:09 beneficial to us to leverage from the 128T

07:11 approach was your flexible deployment options.

07:16 We can deploy it in the typical

07:20 edge device that is based on any X86 platform that you've certified

07:25 including a lot of different vendors.

07:27 Obviously, now with your integration,

07:30 with Juniper, that brings the additional advantage

07:33 of having an integrated hardware platform to provide the solution on.

07:39 In fact, even some of our business lines that produce

07:43 the acquisition systems that are collecting the data from remote sites

07:47 are now moving to X86 based platforms.

07:50 They're actually embedding the SD-WAN end points within containers,

07:55 within those virtualized platforms.

07:58 It gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of how it's deployed.

08:02 The other thing was, really, I should mention,

08:04 is the engagement factor.

08:05 We had extremely high level of engagement from your technical operations team.

08:13 As you mentioned, you sent someone all the way to Alaska

08:15 in the initial stages of us proving the solution works for our requirements.

08:22 That was really critical for us, is getting that engagement

08:26 and that agility in adapting to some of our requirements.

08:32 I think the partnership helped us understand better

08:35 the scope of what you were facing.

08:37 It made for some great photo ops next to FracCATs

08:41 and in barren landscapes, but really,

08:45 when we talk about the challenges of reliability,

08:48 it helped me impress on our development team that

08:52 for a company like Schlumberger and the industry you work in,

08:56 it's not a truck roll if something breaks,

08:59 it's literally a helicopter flight, if that.

09:03 The technology itself just has to be

09:07 really hardened and, hands down, reliable

09:10 because you may be running a rig with nobody there or if there is somebody there,

09:15 it really is life critical and health and safety critical information

09:19 in addition to the machine information that's being transmitted back across these networks.

09:24 The imperative for is just at a whole different level than it would be for, say,

09:32 a traditional retail network.

09:35 That's very true and, in fact, it's also been

09:38 exacerbated to some extent from the COVID-19 crisis

09:42 that everyone has gone through over the past year or so.

09:46 With a very concentrated push from both our clients and from Schlumberger internally,

09:54 from the health and safety perspective,

09:56 to minimize the number of people that need to physically go to these sites.

10:02 We already had a focus on remote operations,

10:05 what we call remote operations for the past few years,

10:08 but now it's become even more front and center where we need that network

10:13 that's serving the field to work even more reliably than it ever has,

10:18 because instead of sending the engineers that typically run these jobs to the rig,

10:23 now we're minimizing the number of people that go to the rig

10:27 and having them in town running the jobs completely remotely over the network.

10:31 It really has become absolutely business-critical.

10:34 It's amazing and Schlumberger shared a lot in the press about new frontiers

10:40 that you're pursuing as an industry from Rig of the future to

10:45 lots of cloud-based services and, of course, the whole push on IoT.

10:52 Can you share a bit about what's next in your vision

10:55 for network transformation for oilfield systems?

10:59 Sure. Let me mention from a business perspective,

11:04 there's a few focus areas.

11:05 Obviously, the mental and physical safety of the people and certainly,

11:12 with this kind of work from anywhere type of environment

11:15 that will stay with us for quite some time,

11:17 probably permanently to some extent,

11:20 there is that perspective of digital experience.

11:25 How do you measure it?

11:26 How do you optimize it regardless of where

11:28 the person is working from or what type of network connection they have?

11:35 That's going to provide some new challenges that

11:38 we haven't really faced as much before.

11:41 From a customer perspective,

11:43 we're very focused on performance management,

11:47 delivering the optimal performance for the customer

11:49 and doing that through digital transformation.

11:52 That's where cloud-based services come in,

11:55 which again pushes the network to the front.

12:00 Finally, I would say from a industry perspective,

12:04 sustainability has taken on a very strong focus for us

12:08 both from the perspective of our operations itself and moving towards

12:14 a carbon-neutral type of operation as well as

12:19 exploring new markets in new energy.

12:23 Things like hydrogen and geothermal energy, things that are not petrochemical.

12:30 That's from the business perspective.

12:32 Really, what we're looking for from the network transformation

12:35 is how can we serve some of these key needs?

12:39 For us, the initial business driver was for SD-WAN and the network transmission

12:45 was in the field for the reasons that we've discussed.

12:48 Now we're looking really towards how do we extend that transformation

12:51 then to the core network that connects all of our offices,data centers,

12:55 and the cloud and optimize really the whole end-to-end

12:59 experience whether you're working from our own prem offices or whether

13:05 it's a customer accessing services that we're providing in the cloud

13:08 or whether it's someone working from home or anywhere else for that matter?

13:12 Fantastic. I think working with Schlumberger has really pushed our thinking about

13:17 what it means to deliver an experience-first network.

13:21 Maybe a way of closing here today,

13:27 any thoughts for other customers that are embarking on a digital transformation?

13:32 You're certainly doing one of the broadest implementations I've seen across

13:38 such a range of technologies and challenges,

13:42 but I'm sure many customers even in smaller,

13:46 more confined set of challenges

13:48 could benefit from some of the learnings that you've had along the way.

13:51 Any final thoughts to share on that?

13:54 I think that changing the network,

13:58 especially if it's a large enterprise network of any scale,

14:02 is always a very high-risk undertaking.

14:07 We've spent years basically evaluating, understanding SD-WAN.

14:13 It's still a very nascent technology.

14:16 There's not a lot of standards around it.

14:18 I think we've been a bit cautious.

14:22 We've identified where is the business case for first,

14:27 rather than just looking at it from a pure technology perspective.

14:31 We identified that very clear business case for us.

14:34 We did some initial quick pilots that proved that yes, in fact,

14:38 it does work and it fits our use case.

14:43 That was where we decided to okay, let's choose that scope and expand on it

14:49 and provide the value to the business based on that.

14:52 There may be other business drivers for other customers.

14:56 Other customers may still be,

14:57 let's say, heavy on MPLS and they'd like to move to Internet.

15:01 Us, ourselves we're still heavy on MPLS ourselves,

15:04 but we've optimized our cost a lot because we have a very large scale network.

15:11 That cost optimization was not the initial driver,

15:15 but for a lot of companies, that may be a different business driver,

15:20 where they may prioritize doing it on the core,

15:23 they may have a large number of very similar,

15:26 let's say, cookie-cutter type of sites where it's very easy to implement.

15:30 There's a lot less risk, I think so.

15:33 Identifying the business case,

15:36 proving that the technology works in the customer's environment with,

15:41 let's say, small scale trials first, and then expanding based on that.

15:46 That's great advice.

15:47 Thank you so much again for joining us today, Maged.

15:50 It's always terrific to talk to you and to hear what Schlumberger is up to.

15:54 I appreciate your time to share it with the broader Juniper audience.

15:58 Thanks so much.

15:59 My pleasure and thank you for having me again.

16:01 Great. We'll talk to you soon.

16:02 -Bye-bye. -Thank you, bye-bye, Sue.

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