Software overcomes  tyranny of distance
Software overcomes tyranny of distance

Advances in server software will help tackle challenges facing mining and oil and gas companies as they share big amounts of data between remote sites and city offices, according to Microsoft.

Speaking to WestBusiness at the software giant's TechEd developers conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, Microsoft principal program manager Jeff Woolsey said Microsoft Server 2012, launched this month, would solve some major communications issues for resources companies.

The software includes a new feature called Replica, which has been designed to copy data between sites over long distances via minimal bandwidth - cutting out the need for high-bandwidth back-up systems, which could be prohibitively expensive on remote sites.

"Talking with some of the largest oil companies in the world, they have huge data centres and major enterprise investment but they also have all these oil rigs all over the world," Mr Woolsey said.

"For each one of these oil rigs they have between 10 and 20 servers and the challenge they have is that they have all this data out there on oil rigs which needs to be highly available and which they would like to replicate in their data centres located around the world.

"With Server 2012 we have solved both of those problems."

After initial synchronisation - either during off-peak times or via removable storage - Replica logs small changes to data every five to 15 minutes, depending on the quality of the network.

"In the case of something catastrophic, say if someone backed a truck over the server room and it is no longer there, that's OK because we've been replicating it to another site," Mr Woolsey said. "For the end user it means no downtime, they want to keep working, they need to be as efficient as possible."

Mr Woolsey said enhancements to remote access in Server 2012 would allow IT staff to log into machines over long distances and reduce the need to travel to site.

The writer travelled to TechEd as a guest of Microsoft.

The West Australian

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