Natural gas supplier optimizes license usage

Platform LSF and Platform Analytics capture license usage data for independent pay-per-use calculations

Published on 04-Dec-2012

"The project has exceeded our expectations, delivering well beyond our previous systems with a smooth transition to an IBM Platform Computing solution." - Chief Reservoir Engineer

Customer:
Natural gas company

Industry:
Energy & Utilities

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Technical Computing

Overview

This customer, one of the biggest energy suppliers in Europe, has used IBM® Platform™ LSF® for many years to schedule and manage ECLIPSE reservoir simulation jobs running on an HPC cluster. Recently, this company started a new project with Schlumberger to provide offsite processing using a remote utility computing model.

Business need:
Increase work without increasing the number of licenses needed to handle the increased workload Need to control access to pay-per-use licenses allowing only priority jobs access to these licenses Need to capture license usage data for independent pay-per-use calculations Need a better reporting tool for management, users and administrators

Solution:
Solution built with Platform License Scheduler and Platform Analytics controls license usage and accurately tracks it for billing purposes

Benefits:
License Leasing model from Schlumberger allows the company to access additional licenses when needed on a pay-per-use basis without purchasing licenses outright Full reporting overview of the system, including performance and utilization

Case Study

Managing expensive license usage

This customer, one of the biggest energy suppliers in Europe, has used IBM® Platform™ LSF® for many years to schedule and manage ECLIPSE reservoir simulation jobs running on an HPC cluster. Recently, this company started a new project with Schlumberger to provide offsite processing using a remote utility computing model.

The project has been so successful that the company decided to increase the number of in-house clusters dedicated to reservoir simulation. The main reason for this decision was that user workload had increased, driving up the number of simulations to the point where a larger combination of in-house clusters and leased hardware was required. However, the increased usage also caused shortages of licenses for “High Priority Asset Teams.”

In order to guarantee that enough licenses could be held back for these High Priority Asset Teams, IBM Platform License Scheduler was added to improve the ability to track and allocate license usage. At the same time Schlumberger, the de facto outsourced IT group for this customer, offered a pay-per-use (PPU) license model. The customer could now access additional licenses, to ensure that high priority work could be completed on schedule, especially during periods when demand exceeded available ‘owned’ licenses. This however meant that the customer and Schlumberger needed to be able to accurately account for the utilization of PPU licenses.

Schlumberger initially provided an in-house solution to calculate PPU costs. This solution analyzed FLEX logs and Platform LSF logs using spreadsheet macros to tie FLEX records to Platform LSF job records. While this provided information about which job used how many instances of each application feature—Schlumberger ECLISPE has a total of 38 different license features, mandating that further analysis be done to calculate license usage on a five minute interval basis in order to derive the final PPU bill.

The drawbacks of this solution were that it was very time consuming, since the FLEXlm logs had to be sent to Houston for initial processing prior to being merged with Platform LSF data. This proved to be manually intensive, and required significant effort to ensure consistency and accuracy of the results.

A total solution for license management and usage tracking
IBM Platform Computing suggested that a solution built using Platform License Scheduler and IBM Platform Analytics would improve the process, making it both faster and more accurate. The solution consists of two parts. The first part of the solution controlled which jobs can use the PPU licenses. Jobs are categorized as either Standard or Priority. Platform License Scheduler was configured to give Standard jobs high priority over any available owned licenses. However, Standard jobs are not allowed to access PPU licenses and are put on hold if there are no owned licenses available. Priority jobs can use owned licenses if they are available, or if none are available, they can use a PPU license.

The second part of the solution was to report on license usage. Platform Analytics, a business intelligence solution for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing information for better project planning decisions, is used. Platform Analytics incorporates the FLEXnet Manager plug-in to accurately report on license checkouts and usage against specific Platform LSF jobs by providing FLEXnet Manager with job details for each checkout. Custom cubes of data are then used to report owned license and PPU license usage. The customer can now more tightly control access to PPU licenses, while Schlumberger has an accurate, automated, daily report of PPU license usage that is acceptable for billing purposes.

According to the Project Manager in charge of the deployment, “this has been a very successful project, IBM Platform Computing worked in an open and professional manner.”

For more information
To learn more about IBM Platform Computing please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/platformcomputing

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Platform Analytics, Platform LSF

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America May 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Platform Computing, Platform LSF, Platform License Scheduler and Platform Analytics are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.