Avoiding Common Drawbacks to Cloud Simulation

Some key security and stability considerations for any cloud simulation user.

Followers of cloud computing will know all about its benefits; this is especially true when it comes to simulations. You can run multiple iterations, designs, and simulations at the same time using as much or as little computing power as you need on a pay-as-you-go basis. This side of cloud computing is associated with little overhead, quick deployment, and a quick return on investment.

There is risk, however, associated with housing your IP, critical designs, and business plans on a third-party system. Caution must be taken to access the benefits involved. Though not related to simulation directly, a recent white paper from SugarCRM gives some good pointers on this issue, outlined below.

Security is key when choosing a cloud-based provider. You want to ensure that your data is only accessible to you; is accessible at all times even if your provider goes belly up; and that your data – even non-IP data – isn’t being sold to the highest bidder. So look into the business and be sure to ask the right questions to safeguard your hard work as well as your contacts list.

Typically, when your IT finds a new software update they will schedule an appropriate lull to apply the changes. With cloud services, however, the providers schedule upgrades on their own time. Imagine your simulation solution moving towards a ribbon user interface days before the final design is due. Your design team will be spending more time finding their tools than actually designing.

It is best to ensure you are warned and therefore able to plan for unexpected upgrades to your cloud service. Then you can plan for a lull, or at least reduce the effects of a drastic change to the user interface.

The world of computing is not always a stable one. You may find yourself using your favourite cloud simulation program one day, and the next day you find that the application no longer exists. Such disruptions may not be limited to small companies or simulations either. Heavy hitter Google famously cut their RSS reader this past July, almost without warning.

To traverse this tide, and to protect any software or data that is critical to your mission, Sugar suggests that you ensure you have access without a connection. Make sure that you own the software license and are able to access the software and your data offline too – such as in Autocad 360. After all, being forced to find replacement software and redraw designs can be disastrous to your bottom-line.

Finally, make sure to get your security in writing; if the cheaper option doesn’t ensure your service then it will cost you too much in the long-term. It is worth the initial investment to ensure the operations of your organization, especially for small businesses where one service shut down can mean the difference between missing and making a payroll.

Written by

Shawn Wasserman

For over 10 years, Shawn Wasserman has informed, inspired and engaged the engineering community through online content. As a senior writer at WTWH media, he produces branded content to help engineers streamline their operations via new tools, technologies and software. While a senior editor at Engineering.com, Shawn wrote stories about CAE, simulation, PLM, CAD, IoT, AI and more. During his time as the blog manager at Ansys, Shawn produced content featuring stories, tips, tricks and interesting use cases for CAE technologies. Shawn holds a master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.