BP closes data centres to move its applications into the Amazon public cloud

Data, the new oil

The deal with AWS is eye-catching as a result of the pure global scale of BP and its potential to encourage other industrial giants to do the same.

BP is closing its European data centres and migrating all data and 900 key applications currently hosted there to Amazon Web Services. The move is part of a company-wide programme to accelerate the digitisation of its infrastructure and operations.

Two European “mega data centres”, as the energy giant describes them, are the largest that BP operates globally, and they host data from across all BP’s businesses. “Moving to AWS enables BP to use a broad and deep portfolio of cloud services, including machine learning, analytics, storage, security, databases and compute to gain greater insights and automate processes,” said BP.

The data centre migration expands on BP’s existing relationship with AWS, which it said has helped the organisation to “improve operational efficiencies, eliminate up-front capital expenditures and quickly adapt to market changes”.

The move to the public cloud for BP began in 2013, when the company moved to host its BP.com website on AWS. Since then it has been looking to move more business applications out of its own data centres as their leases came to an end.

It can’t move all data into a public cloud though as some of its data is connected to highly regulated commodity markets and other data is subject to data sovereignty demands.

In its global Downstream business, BP’s refineries run AVEVA Unified Supply Chain software, a crucial decision-making analytics platform, on AWS. It has also migrated around half of its 65 business-critical SAP production environments to AWS, which it says has “improved system performance and integrity”.

The company now plans to accelerate the migration of additional SAP applications to AWS. In addition, BP is creating a data lake on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), for use across its businesses, and will use Amazon Kinesis, a service that enables organisations to easily collect, process and analyse real-time streaming data, to gain timely insights for its emissions monitoring and gas station pump operations.

With this information and leveraging Amazon SageMaker, a machine learning (ML) service that provides organisations with the ability to build, train and deploy ML models quickly, BP will be able to make predictions that will help the energy company make faster business decisions and drive efficiencies.

And moving forward, BP aims to continue to advance its cloud-first enterprise data strategy to significantly improve its supply-chain operations and deliver advanced Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for increased safety, predictive maintenance, corrosion detection, logistics tracking and intelligent assistance.

In a separate deal, AWS has signed two renewable energy projects with BP that will provide it with over 170MW of wind and solar capacity in Sweden and Spain each year over the next decade, to supply energy to Amazon’s fulfillment network in Europe and Amazon Web Services data centres.

BP CIO Steve Fortune said: “AWS is helping us to transform our operations. Exiting our European data centres and migrating to AWS supports our digital transformation agenda, and we’re excited about the possibilities for increased flexibility, operational efficiencies and opportunities to innovate.”

Bill Vass, VP of technology, storage, automation and management at AWS, said “global companies like BP trust AWS to support their digital transformations”.