The energy industry is becoming more and more complex. Renewable penetration is increasing every day, emissions’ regulations are getting stricter, and power companies are continually looking for new ways to increase efficiency, lower their carbon footprint, and still improve reliability, resiliency, and safety. Energy businesses have responded to these paradigm shifts by embarking on digital transformation journeys to build a linked workforce, enable digital twins, and other initiatives.
However, these transformations have given rise to a sea of data that now requires it to be effectively managed, maintained, and secured. This is where the dire need for cloud data management solutions – Multi-cloud in particular, comes into play. In this blog, we will look at the significance and benefits of implementing a multi-cloud data management approach. We will also go over the use cases, and examples of multi-cloud solutions in the energy industry, among other things. So, let's get started!
Key Challenges Faced by the Energy Industry Right Now
Aftermath of the Global Pandemic
Since the pandemic there has been a shift in how the energy industry functions. Building new energy infrastructure has been delayed due to the pandemic's disruption of global supply chains, which includes the supply of raw materials, machine components to the oil and gas industry, etc. On a good note, it has also surged the support of renewable energy sources. Governments are being urged by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to leverage the advancements available to address the issue of economic recovery. Additionally, this has sped up the shift away from conventional corporate structures toward cleaner energy sources, goods, and services, and the importance of being more resilient and flexible to changing conditions.
The Rise of Open Data
Open data is information that is freely accessible to the public and can be utilized by anybody. The energy industry has generally been a closed industry, with energy corporations closely guarding data. The rise of open data, on the other hand, is altering this, and energy corporations are now being required to share their data with the public. Sharing data beyond the sector promotes greater efficiency, transparency, collaboration, and innovation across the entire sector, it also helps in better management of wider operations as the sector transforms through the shift away from fossil fuels. As a result, energy firms are in need to adopt new technologies and solutions like cloud to handle their data securely and effectively.
The Green Agenda
The world is shifting toward a low-carbon future, and energy corporations must adapt. This includes investing in renewable energy, lowering carbon emissions, and increasing energy efficiency. The green agenda is pushing the need for energy firms to select technology and solutions that will assist them in meeting these objectives.
Large Funding for Rapid Customer Acquisition/Buy-In
Digital startups that are disrupting the old energy business model are increasing competition in the energy industry. Customers benefit from these firms' unique and inventive solutions such as electric vehicles, green manufacturing, green factories, fuel-efficient tires, EV charging infrastructure, and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower, powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things to give improved services to users while also drawing significant funding, resulting in quick customer acquisition and buy-in. This puts pressure on traditional energy businesses to develop and adopt new technology to remain competitive and profitable.
Surrounded by Data and Starved for Insights: Multi-Cloud Data Management for the Energy Industry
Fact: The energy sector is generating vast amounts of data. Truth: Managing this data effectively is no joke, it is absolutely critical to the industry's success.
But how is Multi-Cloud the Answer?
Multi-cloud data management provides several advantages to the energy industry, including:
Energy firms can acquire a fuller perspective of their data by gathering and analyzing data from numerous cloud platforms, leading to greater insights. This increased visibility leads to informed decision-making by allowing the identification of patterns, anomalies, and trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, companies can optimize energy production and distribution by merging available data on cloud sources, eliminating waste and enhancing efficiency.
Maintenance and Management of Streamlined Assets
Multi-cloud solutions can optimize equipment performance and energy usage, reducing costs and improving sustainability. By leveraging the analytical capabilities of cloud platforms, multi-cloud solutions can provide predictive maintenance recommendations and identify performance issues. By continuously monitoring equipment performance and energy usage data across different cloud platforms, predictive maintenance recommendations can be generated. This helps in identifying potential issues before they cause costly downtime. In the energy industry, downtime can be very expensive, making this aspect crucial for both cost reduction and sustainability efforts.
Enabled Cross-Integration of Disparate Channels
Multi-cloud solutions enable energy companies to integrate data from disparate channels, providing a more complete view of their data. This can lead to improved collaboration between teams and departments, leading to better decision-making and improved efficiency. Additionally, having a single point of contact for all cloud-related issues simplifies monitoring and management.
On-Premises Setup Becomes Affordable
Energy firms can use a variety of cloud services, reducing the requirement for expensive in-house infrastructure. This saves money while still allowing you to scale resources as needed. It can also assist in freeing up resources for other essential activities, such as new technology research and development or renewable energy projects.
Best of Each Cloud
Energy companies operate with multiple landscapes and cloud vendors, this comes with the flexibility to match specific features and capabilities that can optimize workloads, based on factors like speed, performance, reliability, geographical location, security and compliance requirements. This can help energy companies benefit from the best features of each cloud platform.
Unplanned downtime or outages cannot be afforded by the energy industry, multi-cloud reduces the risk of a single point of failure. An outage in one cloud won’t necessarily impact services in other clouds, and if one cloud does go down, computing needs can be routed to another cloud that's ready to go.
Multi-cloud solutions can assist energy organizations in lowering the cost of maintaining data on cloud across numerous environments while also increasing the efficiency of data management operations. Companies can decrease expenses related to data storage, processing, and transfer by simplifying data management across cloud APIs. It can also save money using data storage techniques like compression, deduplication, and automatic storage tiering.
Multi-cloud offers multiple layers of protection for energy data and applications. Companies can leverage the security features provided by different cloud providers and partner platforms, such as firewalls, intrusion detection, and data encryption. This multifaceted approach to security enhances the overall protection of sensitive energy data, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and protecting against potential cyber threats.
Renewable Energy and Carbon Footprint
Data centers consume massive amounts of energy, making them a significant emission source. Because of underutilization and overutilization of infrastructure resources (e.g., computing, storage, networking, and cooling), energy consumption in cloud data centers is inefficient. Cloud providers can leverage datacenters close to sources of renewable energy to follow energy efficient practices such as green energy, sustainable energy, and water conservation which the providers are investing in heavily these days. The Big Three cloud providers, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, have all pledged to completely decarbonize their data centers and are seeking to use low-carbon and renewable energy sources to cover their own consumption
With a multi-cloud-based solution, asset managers and data managers can access logs and subsurface data immediately; whenever and wherever they need it to make better, faster discoveries. Multi-cloud data management also allows for the organization of large sets of data from multiple vendors and locations. This organized and accessible data can be retrieved instantly on various platforms, enabling energy companies to make faster, data-driven decisions. For example, cloud for oil and gas exploration can improve the efficiency of drilling and extraction operations by providing instant access to subsurface data.
Compliance with Data Laws
Regulations governing data protection and governance, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), frequently require sensitive data to be stored in specified jurisdictions. Multi-cloud provides energy companies with the flexibility to store data in compliance with regional laws and regulations. This ensures that sensitive data is handled in accordance with legal requirements while still benefiting from the advantages of a multi-cloud approach.
Use Cases and Examples of Multi-Cloud Data Solutions in the Energy Industry
Predictive Maintenance: Predictive maintenance can help energy companies reduce downtime and improve asset performance.
For example, energy companies rely on critical assets such as wind turbines, drilling equipment, and power plants. Predictive maintenance uses data analytics and AI, and machine learning to forecast when equipment might fail. The same wind turbine company can utilize multi-cloud solutions to gather data stored from the sensors on turbines, streamed from edge environments or cloud solutions to the central cloud, and predict when maintenance is needed, thereby optimizing the performance and reducing operational costs.
Disaster Recovery: Disaster recovery solutions can help energy companies recover quickly from disasters and minimize downtime. For example, a utility company can use multi-cloud solutions to replicate their critical infrastructure and data in multiple cloud environments. In case of a power outage, they can quickly switch to a backup environment to maintain essential services.
Asset Performance Management: Asset performance management solutions optimize performance and reduce maintenance costs. Example, cloud for oil and gas companies can be used for asset performance management of say, its drilling equipment. It can help detect asset irregularities and take corrective action before assets fail. It integrates real-time and historical data with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, allowing users to detect irregularities weeks or months before they may fail. Additionally, users receive information on time-to-failure, which they can utilize to prioritize maintenance.
Energy Management & Forecasting: Multi-cloud helps with Energy management and forecasting solutions that help optimize energy usage and reduce costs. For example, energy suppliers can predict changes in supply using weather forecasts and other data on cloud, and project customer demand trends to ensure the system remains balanced.
Predict Customer Churn and Friction: Multi-cloud solutions can assist energy firms in forecasting customer churn and friction, allowing proactive efforts to retain consumers. Clouds' churn prediction analytics, machine learning models, real-time monitoring, and historical data can be used to forecast which customers are most likely to churn, allowing energy companies to target at-risk customers. An energy company, for example, can employ multi-cloud solutions to analyze customer data and forecast when a customer is likely to migrate to a competitor.
Real-time Data and Analytics: Multi-cloud solutions can help energy companies collect and analyze real-time data from multiple landscapes onto a centralized dashboard or cloud, allowing them to make better decisions. For example, remote monitoring of assets and real-time collaboration between on-site and remote teams
Reduced Ecological Cost: Multi-cloud solutions can help energy companies reduce their ecological cost by optimizing energy usage and reducing waste. By providing insights into carbon emissions and resource consumption, the energy industries can make more sustainable choices when using cloud resources. For instance, using the cloud has 98% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is 93% more energy-efficient than using on-premises data centers, according to Microsoft Corporation and WSP Global Inc.
Use of Centralized Approach: Because power generation resources are frequently scattered geographically, understanding asset performance necessitates centralizing both operations and monitoring. A broad view of process and infrastructure operations is necessary, allowing power generation companies to combine information from many different sources into a single environment. Breaking down these geographical borders not only saves time and improves productivity, but it also starts to address the issue of data sovereignty and protects data from geopolitical concerns.
Legacy Assets for Future Profits: Another reason to implement a multi-cloud data management system soon is to make use of years of collected and unused data. According to a Deloitte analysis, oil and gas corporations have switched toward "rightsizing" their existing resource portfolio and are ready to spend further to extract more value from selected assets.
Enable New Ways to Become Efficient: Multi-cloud solutions can help energy companies become more efficient and resilient by enabling new ways of working. For example, an energy company can use multi-cloud solutions to enable remote work and collaboration between teams.
Managed Cloud Services for the Energy Industry
Managed cloud services provide several benefits to the energy industry, including increased security, improved scalability, modernization, reduced costs, optimized resources and efficient and secure operations. Here are some examples of managed cloud services for the energy industry:
Google Cloud: Google Cloud provides secure and powerful energy solutions that allow energy companies to accelerate their business agility and scale workloads for utilities and renewable energy. Google Cloud uses its energy expertise and AI leadership to run the world's most energy-efficient data centers and help power companies reach their efficiency goals.
Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure provides secure and scalable cloud services that can help energy companies manage data storage, meet regulations, and customer expectations. It can reduce the cost of managing data in multiple cloud environments, integrate data from disparate channels, providing a more complete view of their data, and improve security by providing multiple layers of protection
Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS provides advanced and secure cloud services and deep industry expertise across energy, utilities, and sustainable energy sectors. AWS cloud services can help energy companies reduce the cost of managing data in multiple cloud environments, as well as improve the efficiency of data management operations.
Oracle: Oracle provides cloud computing solutions for the power industry that facilitate the centralization of data from increasingly decentralized assets, enabling advanced analytics and machine learning. Oracle's cloud solutions can help energy companies address the challenges of aging infrastructure, changing weather patterns, changing demand profiles, adoption of renewable and distributed energy sources, and electric vehicles.
This comes as no shocker that the top cloud providers in the energy sector are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform. A recent report surveyed 388 executive and technical respondents at Cisco Live and found that the majority (59%) of the energy sector uses Azure, while 44% use AWS, and 11% use Google Cloud.
The survey also found that, while 41% of the energy sector only use one cloud, 33% use two cloud providers, indicating that the energy sector is increasingly making the move to multi-cloud.
Multi-Cloud Data Management - A Game Changer: Cloud4C's Take
Over the course of the pandemic, the percentage of energy and resources execs using a mix of multiple public clouds with one or more private cloud rose from 47% to 64% and has continued to grow steadfast. Multi-cloud enables businesses to use the best possible solution for different workloads. As a result, companies get more value from their data and are more likely to achieve a competitive advantage. This is where Cloud4C steps in!
Cloud4C is one of the leading global cloud and managed services providers, delivering multi-cloud management solutions and IT services on cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud, enabling your digital transformation journey while dealing with the complexities of multi-cloud architecture. Our experts can help power companies realize the value of their data, starting with the right foundation. We also offer a beneficial blend of services, including hybrid cloud solutions, cybersecurity management, AIOps-powered managed services, business analytics and RPA, and SAP services, and more in a single SLA from infra till application login. And this definitely is not it.
If better visibility of mission-critical operations and services across multiple landscapes and clouds is a key concern, contact us today.