LSIS is interested in building a universal high-performance computing (HPC) cloud-based CAE platform. LSIS is introducing a CAE cloud service provided by Rescale, a cloud HPC service company, to lead a revolution in existing production methods. Rescale offers a variety of HPC services such as engineering design, scientific calculations, machine learning, and on-demand cloud HPC services that add scalability and security reliability in a cost-effective way. I met with CEO Joris Poort, who visited LSIS recently, and Yoo Sung-Ryul, a senior researcher at LSIS Research Center.
LSIS needed an HPC solution for CAE and CAD.
Yoo Sung-Ryul: LSIS created an organization called C2 in the second half of 2015, whose ongoing mission is to build an effective and reliable system to support CAE and CAD. The goal is to build a system for our in-house engineers to use anytime, anywhere without any limitations.
However, the cost of building a private HPC platform was more than 5 million USD, which was cost-prohibitive. The cost of building an HPC data center was so high that it made a lot of sense to move to the public cloud.
In the first half of 2016, we were introduced to Rescale through a meeting with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and are now building a platform for CAE simulation work in the cloud with Rescale.
How does Rescale’s CAE cloud platform compare to an on-premise system?
Rescale provides an on-demand, pay-per-use service for hardware and software. On the Rescale platform, CAE jobs can be run on a web-based GUI that requires only a few easy step-by-step clicks to complete. And it can also handle pre-processing and post-processing in the cloud.
Rescale supports a wide variety of software, which allows us to choose the right software for our business requirements. We can also configure our hardware by utilizing data centers around the world, and we can use as many cores as we want.
I think paying for software and hardware by actual usage is very effective. Multi-physics simulation, which requires very large models, is also very easy to run on Rescale’s platform. I expect this will shorten product development schedules and greatly improve the quality of our products.
Did you consider other CAE cloud platforms?
LSIS compared Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers AWS and Microsoft Azure for one year. Our main concern was whether we could use CAE software – like ANSYS, STAR-CCM+, and Abaqus – effectively on the cloud. To do so with AWS and Azure, we would have needed to invest a lot of time and money to install the software on their infrastructure ourselves.
Not many companies offer HPC platform services in the cloud like Rescale. There is a company called SimScale in Europe, which has a more limited software list and is less user-friendly. And they don’t have a branch office or partner in Korea. These factors led us to choose Rescale.
What concerns did LSIS have when considering the CAE cloud?
The user experience on cloud-based operating systems is very different from that on local PCs. However, I think that companies need to change and innovate in order to stay ahead of the competition. Typically, companies like us have to make large investments in software and hardware. But if you run your software on the cloud, you can save a lot of money in upfront capital investments.
The cloud environment is a big deal, but is there a burden on security or user experience?
We are approaching the adoption of Rescale step-by-step. The system will be operated as a pilot project in the first half of this year, and by the second half every CAE engineer will be using it. We expect both CAD and CAE engineers to be using Rescale’s platform starting next year.
From the perspective of the company, we had to monitor very detailed levels of CAE usage and overcome some internal resistance to introduce Rescale. But we can dramatically reduce our costs and shorten product development time. I think overall, the benefits of using a cloud service far outweigh the costs.
LSIS’ future plans
As we mentioned earlier, the cost of establishing an IT infrastructure is an enormous part of a company’s investment, and it will be very cost-effective for us to convert the capital cost of building an IT infrastructure into operating expenditures.
We are currently conducting final testing on the CAE cloud platform. We are examining various aspects in terms of cost and user experience. Based on our success with running CAE software in the cloud, we plan to support CAD and PLM on the cloud in the future.