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High Availability Data Management on the Ocean Floor: Hydril Chooses eXtremeDB-HA for Undersea Drilling Control System

December 11, 2007 — Hydril Company, a leading manufacturer of connection and pressure-control products for the oil and gas industry, has chosen fault-tolerant eXtremeDB High Availability™ (HA) in-memory embedded database system from McObject® and its remote procedure call (RPC) implementation running on the QNX® Neutrino® realtime operating system (RTOS) for key data management and network communication roles in its new pressure control technology for oil and gas drilling.

In Hydril’s new pressure control systems, eXtremeDB-HA resides within controllers, collecting real-time machine and environmental data used to manage undersea pressure control equipment (the stack or “pod”) and to optimize its safety and productivity. These databases are replicated within each controller, to ensure availability in the event of application failure. The entire pressure control system of database-enabled controllers is synched via eXtremeDB-HA utilizing a dual redundant network and a standby pod. In addition, the eXtremeDB Transaction Logging (TL) module provides an on-device data archiving feature for the undersea controllers in the event that archiving to the central enterprise database is interrupted.

This replication of vital system data, at multiple levels and with automatic fail-over, provides the highest degree of reliability for Hydril's mission-critical pressure control application, said Eric Milne, the company's chief engineer of electrical and software engineering.

eXtremeDB also plays a critical network communication role in Hydril’s new technology. The database itself 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. The QNX Neutrino RTOS’s built-in networking underlies the 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,” McObject Chief Technology Officer Andrei Gorine said. “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 in a peer-to-peer fashion, regardless of their location.

“QNX Neutrino and eXtremeDB form a very powerful combination for networked and distributed control applications, such as Hydril’s,” said Dave Curley, vice president of marketing at QNX Software Systems. “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.”

In earlier pressure control systems, Hydril used data management code developed by the company’s engineers. Milne said the adoption of McObject’s commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) database “frees up development resources” and reduces QA in his department. “Integrating a proven database system has helped us meet customers’ needs faster by reducing the development cycle,” he said.

Because the eXtremeDB-HA can be easily extended by adding new indexes and tables, and because using a commercial database system naturally separates application logic from database logic, the new embedded software is expected to accommodate upgrades and new features more easily than before, Milne said. “Customers are always adding new capabilities to their systems. They might want to integrate an existing system, or software that may be developed in the future. eXtremeDB-HA will greatly reduce the amount of code required to make such a change,” he said.

About eXtremeDB High Availability

eXtremeDB High Availability is McObject’s in-memory embedded database designed to provide fault tolerance for mission-critical systems such as industrial control equipment, military and aerospace equipment, and telecommunications gear.

Using a rugged, time-cognizant, two-phase commit protocol, eXtremeDB-HA ensures that changes to a master database and identical standby databases succeed or fail together, and enables deployment of multiple fully synchronized eXtremeDB-HA databases within the same hardware device or across multiple, widely distributed systems. eXtremeDB-HA’s two-phase commit protocol facilitates instantaneous fail-over, with zero replication-induced latency.

About Hydril

Hydril Company, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is engaged worldwide in engineering, manufacturing and marketing premium connection and pressure control products used for oil and gas drilling and production. For more information see

About McObject

Founded by embedded database and real-time systems experts, McObject offers proven data management technology that makes real-time systems smarter, more reliable and more cost-effective to develop and maintain. McObject counts among its customers industry leaders such as DaimlerChrysler, EADS, JVC, Tyco Thermal Controls, F5 Networks, CA, Motorola and Boeing. McObject, based in Issaquah, WA, is committed to providing innovative technology and first-rate services to customers and partners. The company can be reached at +1-425-888-8505, or visit

McObject, eXtremeDB, eXtremeDB High Availability, eXtremeDB Transaction Logging and eXtremeDB HA are trademarks or registered trademarks of McObject LLC. All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.