North Sea Pathways: Digital Oilfields to Ultra-Secure Data Centers
Tampnet is a Norwegian based global operator of oil field telecommunications, wholesale capacity, and mobile LTE services. Tampnet operates the largest offshore multi-terabit, low latency optical network in the North Sea, which reliably serves over 240 offshore assets such mobile rigs, Oil&Gas Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) platforms, and exploration rigs. Reliable, high-speed, low latency network services are the primary goals of their network, which includes 2500km of subsea fiber optic links, multiple strategically located 4G LTE base stations, as well as a multitude of traditional point-to-point radio links. The state-of-the-art optical network employs an all-optical Colorless-Directionless-Contentionless (CDC) design that achieves the lowest latency possible with a Layer 0 Control Plane that’s both OTN and mesh capable for sub-100G services rates.
Backdrop: The Digital Offshore Oilfield
Big data analytics, remote exploration and internet of things are market trends set to impact a wide array of industries. For the oil and gas industry, these new advances are reality today. Fiber optic networks, and the digital resources that they interconnect, are facilitating this technological transformation by allowing the entire offshore energy ecosystem to more efficiently manage resources (ex. oil drilling platforms).
Offshore energy corporations leverage submarine networks, like Tampnet’s, to connect offshore assets to onshore assets to realize a variety of operational benefits to help differentiate via operational efficiency. Some of the important benefits that interconnected offshore digital oilfields offer are listed below.
- Constant access to onshore experts located anywhere in the world via connections to the global internet allowing faster and improved decision making
- Significantly improved efficiency of offshore operations, coupled with vastly reduced downtimes
- Improved operational safety/security for offshore personnel and assets via continuous communications
- Ongoing communications between onshore and offshore personnel to expedite critical decisions
- Near real-time visibility, control, and oversight to best manage exploration activities and drilling assets
To maximize the value of all the data collected from offshore assets, broadband and mobile LTE connectivity must be provided via modern submarine telecommunication networks to ensure a constant flow of immense amounts of actionable data to and from offshore assets and onshore data centers.
Opportunity: Connecting Critical Destinations beyond the Digital Oilfields
Tampnet North Sea Network Assets & Connectivity
The recent emergence of Sweden, Norway, and Finland as superior data center markets is highlighted by Cushman and Wakefield’s annual study of global data center markets. In 2013, all three countries placed in the top 10 globally. Today, just three years later, the same study placed all three countries in the top 5 of all markets globally for data center attractiveness.
It’s not hard to see why, as these countries collectively possess a vibrant, educated workforce, access to green and secure energy, low operating costs and enjoy the support of local and national governments and industry. Along almost any measure, such as total operating costs, available energy in terms of megawatts already deployed, modernization, and physical security of the facilities themselves, the Nordic region has quite possibility the most advanced portfolio of data centers in the world.
Until recently, access to the Nordic region data center market was constrained by congested and non-diverse routes from mainland Europe through Denmark and Sweden. This has now been changed as Tampnet enters the market for the wholesale connectivity. Markets such as London and Dublin, even Amsterdam and Paris, now can access the region via Tampnet’s direct North Sea routes. Furthermore, Tampnet also has direct continental access via its system to Denmark. Together with Tampnet’s northern route to Aberdeen, southern route to Lowestoft (UK) and its direct route to Denmark, Tampnet can offer customers the ultimate in diversity – three diverse and direct routes from the data center markets in the Nordics to the rest of Europe. No other network in place can offer this capability today placing Tampnet and its customers in an enviable competitive position.
The North Sea as a Strategic Route Offering Critical Diversity to Key Markets in Europe
Besides offering highly reliable and protected data center connectivity, Tampnet also offers their customers an alternative for transport to carrier hotels, peering exchanges, and points beyond the Nordics, such as Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. By enabling a northern alternative connecting these markets, Tampnet provides geographic diversity from congested infrastructure found in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. In many cases Tampnet’s alternative routes offer reductions in latency as well, which is always a sought after benefit.
Tampnet also offers an advantage by combining the latest in CDC optical technology from Ciena across its entire infrastructure, which means a failure in one part of the network does not interrupt traffic in other parts of the Tampnet network ensuring resiliency and high network availability. In addition, because Tampnet’s subsea routes are switched on offshore platforms, Tampnet can shift traffic mid-span in the event of an outage at sea. This capability is particularly helpful in the ever increasingly congested, yet vital waterways of Europe.
Until recently, access to the Nordic region data center market was constrained by congested and non-diverse routes from mainland Europe through Denmark and Sweden. This has now been changed as Tampnet enters the market for the wholesale connectivity.
Security and reliability-minded end users of optical networks incorporate redundant contingency paths as part of their risk analysis since terrestrial and submarine networks are susceptible to faults, regardless of the cause. Network path redundancy is key to improved Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans and as cloud-based content and applications are increasingly migrated into distant data centers, constant network access is critical to corporate viability making constant uptime within the network component ever more necessary.
Tampnet’s large installed base of over 240 interconnected offshore assets is proof of Tampnet’s ongoing commitment to operating high availability services and the entire ecosystem relying on Tampnet continue to put their trust in their services. Tampnet’s network was designed from inception with the offshore energy sector’s ultra-reliable connectivity needs in mind, which is very similar to connectivity needs of other sectors in northern Europe, such as large data center operators, carriers, ISPs, cloud, and content providers.
Unique Solutions, Advanced Technology and Superior Reliability
Since 2001, Tampnet’s mission to create industry solutions for the energy sector has brought it to the unique position of operating critical and vital infrastructure not just for the North Sea, but for the Nordic region as a whole. Offering multiple diverse paths to and from the UK and Norway, combined with the latest in Ciena CDC capabilities, provides its customers with a highly unique and superior solution for reaching and transiting the Nordics when compared to most traditional, more conventional routes.
As we enter the next decade, the stage is already set for the introduction of new and exciting technologies, such as 5G, the Internet of Things, Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence, and augmented/virtual reality which will all further disrupt the markets and application spaces served by Tampnet’s expansive network assets. As this profound and exciting transformation continues to unfold before our eyes, the global demand for highly secure and scalable data centers interconnected over highly robust and resilient network connectivity will continue to grow. Tampnet, and its partners in the Nordic region, have created a rather unique pairing of connectivity, scalability, security, and cost effectiveness that is currently unique in the Data Center Interconnect industry.