Abra Controls Effortlessly Ingests Millions of IoT Data Points for Faster, Better Decision-Making

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Michael Haag

Abra Control Offset Well Monitoring System

Abra Controls is a software and SaaS company serving oil and gas companies in Canada and the United States. They specialize in optimizing hydraulic fracturing operations with their real-time wireless and portable solutions. Recognized for their leadership and expertise in offset well monitoring, their system is designed for real-time data streaming and quick deployment by technicians. It requires less time on site and smaller payloads.

Offset well monitoring in the oil and gas industry is the process of tracking and monitoring the performance of existing wells that are located near a proposed or new well. This is done to identify and mitigate any potential risks to the new well, as well as to the existing wells.

Abra Control’s system collects a variety of information from a number of IoT devices and sensors, including pressure, temperature, flow rates, and casing integrity. All data needs to be collected (in real-time), quickly analyzed, and made available (again, in real-time) to operators’ mobile devices— around the world.

Through this SaaS platform, Abra Controls aims to provide users with:

  • Real-Time Reporting: React instantly to important events and stream data in real time
  • Data Analytics: Aggregate data in various ways and ensure access in seconds (rather than hours) to help stakeholders make quick and informed decisions
  • Anywhere, Anytime Access: Reliably and confidently access needed data from mobile devices—from anywhere in the world

To support the underlying IoT streaming applications, Abra Controls sought a database solution that was easy to manage and delivered the resilience their customers expected. They chose YugabyteDB Managed, our fully managed DBaaS solution.

Technical Requirements For This Cloud Native, Geo-Distributed App

As the use of their SaaS platform grew, Abra Control realized they needed to upgrade their core database from standard PostgreSQL to improve scale and resilience. Their priorities were to minimize risk and operational costs during the upgrade while reducing ongoing management.

The following parameters and requirements guided Abra Control’s decision:

  • Deployment: Single-region, multiple availability zones
  • Primary Database Requirements: PostgreSQL compatibility and high availability were the two primary requirements.
    1. Abra Controls had an existing application stack running on PostgreSQL, and they wanted to minimize having to re-architect apps. They needed a database that was PostgreSQL runtime compatible with support for advanced features.
    2. Since high availability was the main driver for the database upgrade, they needed a database with built-in resilience that could protect the data with minimal complexity or operational overhead.
  • Cloud Used: Google Cloud
  • Workload Characterization: Write-intensive data streaming from IoT devices
  • Throughput: Millions of data points every day and support for over 1,700 transactions per second.
  • API Interfaces: YSQL (PostgreSQL) and YCQL (Cassandra)
  • Additional Database Requirements:
    • Horizontal scalability
    • Minimal operational overhead
    • Multiple APIs—PostgreSQL and Cassandra

Turbocharging PostgreSQL with High Availability

Based on those requirements, Abra Controls migrated their applications from a single-node PostgreSQL instance to a single-region, multi-zone deployment of YugabyteDB Managed on Google Cloud. They started off with a three-node cluster spread across three availability zones. Data was synchronously replicated between nodes, providing both node- and zone-level protection.

Now let’s explore three of the key elements of the final architecture.

  1. Multi-Zone High Availability

    Abra Controls chose a single-region, multi-zone deployment for their SaaS Platform. With the multi-zone support and replication factor of three (RF3), they can protect their data from node and zone outages without impacting data availability or customers’ access to real-time data.

    Abras architecture across three availability zones
    Abra deploys their database across three availability zones in a single-region to boost resilience.
  2. High Write Throughput

    Throughput and performance were also important to Abra Controls since their applications closely mirror a classic event and data streaming system. They needed to support over 1,700 transactions per second while ensuring low read and write latency to the database. Their dataset was well over 500GB (and growing).

    YugabyteDB Managed ingests data from multiple sources in real-time. The stored data can then be quickly analyzed (as needed) and served up in near real-time to any/all monitoring applications.

    Abra Architectural overview

  3. PostgreSQL Runtime Compatibility

    Abra Controls outgrew the core capabilities of PostgreSQL, but their applications were all designed to work with PostgreSQL. They selected YugabyteDB Managed because it delivered the above availability and performance they were lacking along with strong PostgreSQL compatibility, which included support for triggers, stored procedures, and functions.

    The runtime compatibility enabled them to lift-and-shift their applications with no to minimal application changes—a key requirement in helping them minimize the time and costs spent on database management tasks.

    All levels of PostgreSQL compatibility are not the same - social card
    Understand the different levels of PostgreSQL compatibility. They are not all the same.

In Summary….

Abra Controls is a perfect example of an early-stage company that has grown beyond the core capabilities of standard PostgreSQL. Rather than invest in a complex solution bolted-on to what they had, they chose a PostgreSQL-compatible DBaaS that would let them keep their focus on their software and delivering value-add services to their users—versus database management.

YugabyteDB’s strong PostgreSQL compatibility ensured a seamless migration of their applications to a modern platform that could deliver built-in resilience and meet their customers’ expectations for always-available data.

Learn more about YugabyteDB Managed and the features that Abra Controls is leveraging through the following resources:

  1. Attend a Thursday demo to see geo-partitioning in action
  2. Sign up for a full-featured, free trial of YugabyteDB Managed to give geo-partitioning a try
  3. Visit our Docs and Blog space to discover how you can build a global application with YugabyteDB
Michael Haag

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