Q&A with Bradley Lauritsen, Director of Exploration Applications at Apache Corporation

Recently we sat down with Bradley Lauritsen, Director of Exploration Applications at Apache Corporation, to learn how they are using NetApp products to improve storage network performance and support business growth.


Welcome to NetApp 360! Let’s start with you telling our readers a bit about you and your company.


Bradley Lauritsen: I’m the Director of Exploration Applications at Apache Corporation. Founded in 1954, Apache is one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies.  We have over $43 billion in assets and approximately 4,450 employees worldwide.


Can you describe the situation with your storage network that brought you to NetApp?


BL: Like any growing global company, Apache is generating and collecting electronic data at a staggering rate. When the combined size of our corporate data and the data we use to make decisions on exploration reached 18 petabytes, we knew that we would need to implement a more advanced IT infrastructure.

In order to make quick decisions and mitigate our risk when identifying ideal drill locations, our employees need real-time access to 3-D seismic interpretations, reservoir simulations and other complex data. This requires a storage network with intensive computing, file sharing and data throughput capabilities. We had heard leveraging flash technology in our network could help on this front, and NetApp’s broad flash portfolio seemed a good place to start as we considered how to best use flash to help our storage systems keep up with growing performance demands.

What NetApp products are you using and what have they done to improve your storage network’s performance?


BL: We’re now using NetApp FAS6000 and FAS3000 series storage systems with Intel Xeon processors and multiple 512GB Flash Cache cards to improve storage performance and efficiency. NetApp Flash Cache intelligent caching capability allows us to speed access to the oil and gas data stored on the systems’ SATA drives. This configuration has resulted in a reduction in storage costs of about 52 percent per terabyte, as well as a 66 percent reduction in power savings and 59 percent reduction in storage footprint space savings.


We’re also using NetApp OnCommand Operations Manager to reduce administrative overhead by giving our IT staff a central console for monitoring and managing the storage network and to gather perfor­mance metrics and utilization statistics. We use NetApp FlexClone technology to efficiently replicate data volumes and reduce storage requirements in Apache’s developing and testing environments, while NetApp deduplication technology increases storage efficiency by as much as 53 percent in the production environment.

Finally, for backup and recovery, we use NetApp’s SnapMirror technology to replicate and store the last six months of data from our headquarters and remote offices in a managed hosting facility. SnapMirror lets us update that data set in increments to minimize bandwidth consumption and increase storage efficiency.


How has working with NetApp help ensure that your IT infrastructure supports continuous business growth for Apache?



BL: Apache remains focused on expanding its oil and gas exploration activities across the world and having a scalable, non-disruptive and high performance IT infrastructure is imperative to achieving our growth demands. Leveraging the data management solutions provided by NetApp and its partners enables us to stay laser-focused on accelerating our time to discovery and helping our users spend more time developing prospects and reservoir models, rather than worrying about managing data between applications. The high performance data management offered by NetApp and Intel really helps us accomplish these goals.