Customer Spotlights
January 13th, 2022

Coder is the adaptive solution for data scientists at NOV

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Mark Milligan
Head of Sales

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Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the heart of the world's oil and gas industry, NOV (formerly National Oilwell Varco) is a leading independent equipment and technology provider listed on the Fortune 500. Originally founded in 1862, NOV and its predecessor companies have spent 159 years helping transform oil and gas field development and improving its cost-effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and environmental impact.

Joshua Cluff is the Data Science Operations Manager at NOV. As such, he is responsible for defining and leading the adoption of best practices in model lifecycle (development, deployment, maintenance) across the data science organization of the entire company.

The challenge: Repeatable, secure development environments, with their favorite IDEs

With continual growth and development in data science, NOV quickly was pressing the limits of its existing platform. Being an AWS customer, a strong effort was made to utilize existing AWS services, specifically Cloud9—their cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE). However, the diverse makeup of NOV’s various data science teams quickly pushed the boundary of what Cloud9 could provide. With the transition from on-prem to cloud development, the team quickly grew frustrated with not being able to use PyCharm, RStudio, and VS Code. There was a seemingly insurmountable need for an adaptive solution that matched the varied requirements and preferences of numerous data science teams. It was Joshua Cluff’s responsibility to find that solution.

Legacy code and current practices

IDE adoption at NOV has followed similar industry patterns over time. The organization began with a large amount of legacy code in R. A collective decision was made to move new projects to Python, which led to data scientist preferences for JetBrains PyCharm and the ever-growing popular open-source IDE, VS Code.

To be a complete platform, the solution required support for legacy IDEs like RStudio as well as newer IDEs like VS Code and PyCharm.

The pain point of VPN

Another requirement was from NOV's information security group, which requires additional VPN configurations to do development on local machines. NOV sys admins saw an opportunity to adopt a browser-based remote development platform that required fewer VPN configurations, which would mean fewer support tickets to wade through. Coder provides an encrypted TLS browser session, and each development environment is secured in an isolated AWS cloud Kubernetes pod.

Need for robust debugging

AWS Cloud9 is convenient and makes it easy to manage cloud resources; however, the IDE is proprietary, and the NOV data scientists found the debugging tools lacking compared to what they were accustomed to using. With Coder, NOV’s data scientists can continue to use the powerful debugging features in PyCharm and VS Code.

Coder—the adaptive solution

With Coder running on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), NOV’s data scientists now connect to their workspaces securely through a browser. "Coder opens the door for data scientists to use the IDEs they prefer like RStudio, PyCharm, and VS Code,” says Joshua Cluff. “It simplifies environment management, removes the need for multiple VPNs, increases security of data usage by restricting data to the cloud, and all without increasing the load on sysadmins."

Learn about other use cases and see a demonstration of Coder

If you would like to see a live demonstration of Coder for your data science, front-end, and back-end software development needs, schedule a demo. You can also evaluate Coder with a free trial running on Docker or Kubernetes.

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