Data transfer has hurdles for any industry, but remote file transfer from ship to shore must overcome additional obstacles. Even as data collection tools become more powerful and generate bigger datasets than ever before, transfer tools have improved at a slower pace, and are not often built with mid-ocean data transfer in mind.
Discover how three organizations avoided this common pitfall with FileCatalyst, and improved their offshore data transfer speed, reliability, and management.
The Right Data, the Right Time: How PGS Uses FileCatalyst for Offshore Big Data Transfers
Petroleum Geo-Services, (PGS), a global marine geophysics service company serving the energy industry, including oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, and offshore renewables, captures images, recordings, and other Earth subsurface data. PGS offers a broad range of services and unique technologies, including multisensory seismic data acquisition, advanced imaging, and reservoir analysis and interpretation. To do so, PGS captures huge amounts of data from the ocean floor and below via a fleet of advanced vessels, which is then used by organizations in the energy industry.
Transferring data from ship to shore is a necessity for PGS, as the large datasets collected at sea must be sent to offices around the globe for further processing, analysis, and quality control before moving into customer hands. Capturing data from remote offshore locations and sending it ashore can take time, especially when encountering slow transfer speeds or using manual methods.
To align with the company mission to support the energy industry with the right data at the right time, Lead Engineer James Watson turned to FileCatalyst, a file transfer acceleration solution that transfers datasets of any speeds dozens of times faster than standard file transfer solutions.
Now, FileCatalyst optimizes PGS’s transfers as they move across unreliable networks and in remote areas to increase delivery speed and reliability. Said Watson, “The first benefit we noticed after implementing FileCatalyst was the enhanced control over our transfers and a dramatic speed improvement—we are finally able to use our 10 Gbps line speed to its full extent.”
The PGS team also saw process improvements in administration, thanks to FileCatalyst’s tracking and administrative capabilities. “Our IT department was able to stop putting out file transfer related fires and provide a well-managed service to users,” added Watson.
Related Reading: High Seas and High Stakes Communications: Securing the Maritime Industry
Rowing for a Cure: Remote File Transfers During a Solo Rowing Race
The Atlantic Rowing Race, considered one of the world’s toughest nautical challenges, is a race from the Canary Islands to the West Indies held approximately every two years. Called the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge since 2013, the event draws teams made up of one to five rowers. In the 2013 race, single-rower team Adventure4aCure, made up of solely Andrew Abraham, employed FileCatalyst to deliver digital content captured during the event.
Across the more than 3,000 nautical mile race, Abraham used an iPhone to capture footage and photos of his time on his 24-foot ocean rowing boat. As Australia’s long distance rowing world record holder, Abraham was uniquely qualified for the grueling race against 16 other teams. His goal was twofold: break the existing world record by crossing the Atlantic by rowboat in just 46 days, and raise money and awareness for disadvantaged children.
With FileCatalyst, Abraham was able to easily send photos and video clips of his journey to a central location for processing and production via satellite. Despite transferring video and images from a small vessel, FileCatalyst’s core transfer technology ensured delivery at full line speed, even with unpredictable satellite connections in the middle of the Atlantic.
An Anachronistic Addition: A Three-Mast Sailing Ship Uses FileCatalyst for Offshore Big Data Transfer
In a remarkable effort to retrace Charles Darwin’s voyage aboard the HMS Beagle 150 years after the publication of Origin of Species, Dutch broadcaster VPRO commissioned a ship and filled it with a complement of scientists and an “endless quantity of rope.” The ship VPRO selected was a three-mast sailing ship, the clipper Stad Amsterdam; despite the ship’s historical look, 21st century software and tools were used for both data collection and filming.
FileCatalyst wasn’t initially part of the manifest, but VPRO quickly discovered that it was necessary: file transfers were unreliable and slow, and risked delaying production of VPRO’s 35-part series on the voyage.
Read the Case Study: VPRO TV Uses FileCatalyst to Expedite Sea Voyage File Transfers
Senior Product Manager at HelpSystems, Chris Bailey, said of initial conversations, “As we listened to the problem being described, we knew right away that FileCatalyst would work for VPRO. Every item on their requirements checklist, from bandwidth scheduling, to retry and resume facilities, to maximized transfer speeds, were problems that FileCatalyst has been designed from the ground up to solve. The match couldn’t have been more perfect.”
After implementing FileCatalyst, the VPRO team found that transferring files, once a major bottleneck, no longer required long wait times and troubleshooting. Said Francis van Gorp, technology consultant to VPRO, “Even under extreme weather conditions with a very unstable satellite link, FileCatalyst uses every moment of connection time to send files across.”
How FileCatalyst Helps Maritime Remote File Transfer
Big data needs a robust file transfer method. Even more so when that big data’s origin is aboard a ship at sea.
FileCatalyst is designed to maximize transfer speeds in any scenario, with any file size. It is built to ensure data delivery while getting the most out of the network, and does so through bandwidth scheduling, retry and resume capabilities, and more.
What to expect from FileCatalyst—on land or at sea:
- Fast Delivery: Based on the UDP protocol, FileCatalyst transfers files without any delay or obstruction from network impairments like latency or packet loss. Even with big data—in the gigabytes and terabytes—avoid lengthy transfer times, failed transfers, and size limitations with FileCatalyst.
- Constant Motion: Unlike UDP, FileCatalyst recovers lost packets to provide reliable, rate-controlled transfers. To keep file transfers moving, FileCatalyst breaks data into blocks as files are encoded, sending blocks rapid-fire rather than waiting for each transfer to be acknowledged completed.
- Quick Pivots: Satellite links are prone to packet loss, which can confuse transfer protocols into thinking the network is congested. FileCatalyst allows administrators to choose a path forward, rather than allowing the system to reduce throughput: power through and retransmit lost packets, or slow down delivery.
- Global Logistics: Vast file transfer distances create challenges in terms of speed, management, and tracking. FileCatalyst acts as a centralized hub, ensuring that file exchanges are fast, simple, and executed at full line speed regardless of geographic location.
- Secure File Transfers: FileCatalyst employs industry-standard encryption and authentication in line with compliance mandates including SOX, HIPAA, and GLBA.
- Optimized Bandwidth: Accelerated file transfer solutions can make the most of even the most precarious connection types to send files quickly, while at the same time leveraging reliability features to guarantee files reach their destination.