ANSYS Jumps on the Simulation Cloud with 16.1 Release
Shawn Wasserman posted on May 12, 2015 |
ANSYS Enterprise Cloud brings another simulation giant online

Co-author: Roopinder Tara

ANSYS Comes to the Amazon Cloud

ANSYS Enterprise Cloud gateway. Courtesy of ANSYS.

ANSYS Enterprise Cloud gateway. Courtesy of ANSYS.

It’s been said again and again, simulation is coming to the cloud. However, the latest CAE giant to beam up its platform and solver to the cloud is ANSYS with their new ANSYS Enterprise Cloud offering.

The Enterprise Cloud will bring ANSYS’ workflows and data onto the Amazon Web Services cloud. In fact,  most of ANSYS’ flagship products will be available through the cloud service.

The jump to the cloud will also allow users to improve the hardware and software scalability of their simulations on demand.

How ANSYS Will Work on the Cloud

CFD simulation of TCPC surgery of contrast medium injection into superior and interior vena cava. Color-coded to velocity. Courtesy of ANSYS.

CFD simulation of TCPC surgery of contrast medium injection into superior and interior vena cava. Color-coded to velocity. Courtesy of ANSYS.

Ray Milhem, vice president of Enterprise Solutions at ANSYS, explains that the cloud offering will be available through a browser. Companies will no longer need to install and update their software. And users can use an older version of ANSYS if they wish.

“Any hardware can work on ANSYS Enterprise Cloud as long as it has Internet, a screen, keyboard and a mouse. You can even do some on the iPhone,” said Barbara Hutchings, director of Strategic Partnerships at ANSYS.

The platform will have a common user environment that will be able to connect all the ANSYS tools. It can also be extended to use third-party technology or custom workflows built by the customer. “This is delivered as a turnkey solution but it’s a customizable platform,” explained Hutchings. “Users can even use an older version of ANSYS if they prefer it.”

Milhem added, “Our team worked on it for a while to make the Enterprise Cloud have the same look and feel, with the same workflow. Users have the ability to deploy other CAD members and third parties.  When you drive a car, you don’t think about what is under the hood, you just drive. We want to give users that experience between ANSYS and the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud.”

Who Should Get the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud?

Introducing the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud. Courtesy of ANSYS.

The simulation cloud tends to help small organizations as it democratizes the technology by eliminating the expensive hurdles like HPC and powerful workstations. However, ANSYS will be targeting medium to large businesses.

For the smaller organizations, Hutchings notes that there is an existing solution partner ecosystem that hosts cloud access on a regional basis.

“The decision was made as most of our customers are medium and large corporations,” said Milhem.  “They wanted a comprehensive cloud. Many worked with Amazon testing and deploying ANSYS software in the past. They approached us and it gave us the mandate. Our customers didn’t want to build more data centers on their premises so the conversation shifted to alternatives like outsourcing software and licenses to the cloud.”

To that end, the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud will not change how users buy the software licenses. You will simply use the licenses you already possess but now the same license lets you use the software on the cloud.

ANSYS explains that their Enterprise Cloud offering will ease the adoption of simulation with:

  • End-to-end simulation: pre-processing, solvers and post-processing
  • Secure data on virtual private cloud, no downloading necessary
  • Support of 3D interactive graphics
  • HPC auto-scaling
  • Allowing multiple users and solutions to run at once

Benefits to ANSYS on the Cloud

Elastomer deformation simulation. Courtesy of ANSYS.

Elastomer deformation simulation. Courtesy of ANSYS.

The added benefit to cloud computing is truly the scalability of HPC resources.

“A lot of customers are running simulations on a single work station,” said Hutchings. “A very high percentage will need to redo every model to compute in a resource.”

She added, “Cloud allows you to scale to larger computer resources. Need faster  processor, more memory?   You are able to get all of this on the cloud.”

Hutchings noted that HPC purist will say that the cloud doesn’t use InfiniBand, which she noted as the secret sauce of HPC. “But that doesn’t mean you won’t get good scaling up to a good level for most workloads in the space,” she argued. “And you don’t have to invest in infrastructure that is already obsolete when you get it.”

Milhem agreed, adding, “The only difference is InfiniBand and Ethernet, but cloud technology changes rapidly. The software for auto scaling for HPC is available and is part of our design to ensure customers from the web can access HPC.”

ANSYS’ Cloud Security and Latency Concerns

Wireless communication simulation. Courtesy of ANSYS.

Wireless communication simulation. Courtesy of ANSYS.

“When I talked to IT about security they say, ‘encrypt the data at motion and rest,’ and this solution does both,” said Hutchings.

Milhem added, “Security is very serious for us. It was one of the first areas we had to look at with the Amazon team almost a year ago.”

Another concern often appears when talking about the cloud: latency. Hutchings explains that for users worried about lag issues, they can take ANSYS Enterprise Cloud on a test drive. They will be able to load models and play with rotations.

What Separates ANSYS Enterprise Cloud from Others?

The capacities of ANSYS’ new cloud capabilities help the CAE giant fall in line with the current state of the art.

It seems that ANSYS’ goal with the cloud is to cater to their own user base and allow them to step onto a new platform, one that they have undoubtedly heard about. Though this move may bring in a few new customers — the kind who is likely to demand cloud technology in all applications — it will likely benefit only current and potential ANSYS customers who had already preferred ANSYS over other simulation software to begin with. Their only hurdle was the HPC.

If you are interested in cloud simulation, it would be best to start doing your homework on which platform you prefer. However, if you already prefer ANSYS to its competitors, and you don’t want to invest in hardware, then the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud is for you.

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