Oil & gas industry controller benefits from embedded database

Hydril is using the fault-tolerant eXtremeDB from McObject.

By Control Engineering Staff February 14, 2008

A high availability, in-memory embedded database system from McObject has been selected by Hydril Co. as the cornerstone of new pressure-control technology for the oil and gas industry. Hydril chose the fault-tolerant eXtremeDB and its remote procedure call (RPC) implementation running on the QNX Neutrino real-time operating system (RTOS) for key data management and network communication roles in its new pressure control systems.

eXtremeDB-HA resides within controllers and helps optimize safety and productivity. Databases are replicated within each controller to ensure availability in the event of an application failure.

eXtremeDB-HA collects real-time machine and environmental data for management of undersea pressure control equipment (known as a stack or “pod”). The entire system controllers is synched via eXtremeDB-HA using a dual redundant network and a standby pod. In the event of interruption of archiving to the central enterprise database, the eXtremeDB Transaction Logging (TL) module has an on-device data archiving feature for undersea controllers.

Replication of system data, at multiple levels and with automatic fail-over , provides high reliability for critical pressure control applications, according to a spokesperson from McObject. The database provides the core messaging system with its remote access interface, which enables controllers and software components to read from and write to eXtremeDB databases at every network node. QNX Neutrino RTOS’s built-in networking underlies eXtremeDB-based communication, providing a secure transport layer for inter-process data exchange.

“By positioning eXtremeDB-HA as the origin and destination point of every message, the interface adds transactional capability to network communication, and this safeguards data integrity across Hydril’s distributed system,” said McObject chief technology officer, Andrei Gorine. “eXtremeDB-HA guarantees that whatever event happens on one controller, it absolutely gets reflected on all other parts of the system.” He credited QNX Transparent Distributed Processing (TDP) with simplifying the coordination of system nodes by enabling all network devices to recognize one another and share information peer-to-peer, regardless of location.

Dave Culley, vice president of marketing at QNX Software Systems , added, “QNX Neutrino and eXtremeDB form a very powerful combination for networked and distributed control applications, such as Hydril’s. McObject has harnessed the power of our unique transparent distributed processing capabilities, delivering built-in redundancy and load balancing capabilities to Hydril’s control nodes without the need for any special coding.”

Because eXtremeDB-HA can be extended by adding new indexes and tables, and because using a commercial database system naturally separates application logic from database logic, the embedded software is expected to accommodate upgrades and new features more easily than before.

Also read, from Control Engineering:
Understanding Pressure Instrumentation

Improvements to Pressure Sensing Instruments Enable New Practices

Pressure Sensing: It’s Everywhere!