Total chooses Linux for its supercomputer

French oil firm Total has revealed that its supercomputer is now running on a Linux Enterprise Server operating system.

The oil giant chose the Linux Enterprise Server - provided by software company SUSE - as it was the best value for money, according to the Total's high power computer (HPC) engineer, Diego Klahr.

The IT deployment comes as Total looks to bolster its oil production process. In 2013, with oil and gas reserves diminishing, the Exploration and Production (Total E&P) department needed to improve how it located new oil and gas reserves.

To do this, the team needed better data visualisations of the seismic data it collects; data that is gathered by generating vibrations and measuring how underground geological structures reflect them.

Consequently the company, which operates across 130 countries including the UK, decided to replace its legacy supercomputing system with 'Pangea', a high power computing specialist SGI computer which boasts ten times more power last year.

"Pangea is an extremely powerful solution for running numerical models in support of three-dimensional visualizations of subterranean geological formations," Klahr said.

"Using the system, we can run 10 times the number of simulations we run with our previous supercomputer, helping us to identify potential deposits and determine the best extraction methods more easily."

To keep operational costs as low as possible, SGI uses its M-Cell design, which provides a closed-loop airflow and warm-water cooling to contain heat within a hot aisle, to reduce total cooling requirements.

Pangea is reportedly one of the two highest-performing supercomputers worldwide used in industry.

This story, "Total chooses Linux for its supercomputer" was originally published by Computerworld UK.

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