About Nissan 85 Years of Innovation and Leadership
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2018, the company sold 5.52 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.6 trillion yen. Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America.
“The challenges we faced at Nissan revolved around managing our in-house HPC system alongside keeping up with the latest technology innovations needed to meet market demands” Seiji Kawachiya, General Manager of Engineering and Quality System Department, Nissan Motor Corporation.
Shifting to an Agile Innovation Model
Nissan chose to shift its technical computing to Rescale to gain an agile, cloud-enabled, platform-based solution on a pay-per-use model to minimize overall cost-per-simulation, gain instantaneous agility, and continuously adopt the latest technology. This allowed Nissan to:
- Allocate the right resources at the right time
- Avoid over-provisioning and wasting resources
- Avoid under-provisioning and creating product development delays
Challenges with On-premise Computing
Like many enterprises, Nissan realized they were limited by fundamental aspects of on-premise computing, such as: limited electric power, high total cost, and data center utilization challenges (Nissan averaged 40% – 80% utilization). Nissan recognized that these inherent on-premise problems threatened its innovation, market leadership, agility, and time-to-market.
Their on-premise HPC systems also faced the following challenges:
- They were constrained by the initial hardware and software specifications. Nissan’s computing investments were fixed over a 4 year cycle, until a 9 month hardware refresh.
- They were complex to operate. Nissan’s HPC systems required many specialized employees, facilities, application maintenance, and security measures.
- They struggled to handle high-demand (peak) loads. Nissan’s fixed HPC resources caused their engineers difficulty in allocating priority workloads to computing resources, and added risk of missing design improvement opportunities.
“The alternative options that were available outside of Rescale such as building our own solution or extending our on-premise environment were inadequate and did not meet the full demand of what Nissan required.” Dai Matsubara, Assistant Manager of Engineering and Quality System Department. at Nissan, System Director of Nissan HPC.
Committing to Rescale
To address these challenges, Nissan chose Rescale’s ScaleX Enterprise platform because it provides diverse and scalable HPC resources on a pay-per-use model, and an efficient global administration infrastructure. Nissan also valued that the Rescale solution provided:
- The ability to instantly scale a diverse range of the latest hardware and applications
- Controls for administering simulation users, projects, software, hardware, and budgets
- A single solution that supports Nissan’s journey to the cloud, starting with hybrid
The Rescale Solution
Rescale’s managed (and AWS-backed) HPC platform converted Nissan’s complex stack of software, hardware, and infrastructure into a single, unified solution that remains agile in the fast-moving technology environment. Nissan’s engineers are able to access the latest technology selection through a single, unified solution and at virtually unlimited scale.
The Rescale-Managed platform architecture encapsulates many services, software and infrastructure layers.
Agile Engineering and IT Business Impacts
Within 4 months, Nissan’s global engineering division was concurrently running hundreds of jobs per day on the Rescale platform. They experienced the following results:
- Completely eliminated all queuing time, which was previously an average of 2 – 3 days
- An 18% cost optimization of applications and productivity due to better matching the hardware to specific workflows. Nissan expects a further cost optimization of 15% with next generation hardware, bringing the combined cost and productivity improvement to more than 30%
- 50% cost reduction on HPC operating expenses
With 3 – 4 times higher software cost than hardware, shifting to better optimized hardware and agile scalability allowed Nissan to achieve more with the same licenses and improve their workflow efficiency.
Hardware cost savings include electricity and operations by 50% when on-premise utilization is under 30%.
Assessing the Complete Cost of HPC in the Cloud
Nissan carried out in-depth cost assessments when considering alternatives and was able to combine many different views (IT costs, engineering costs, products, and safety risks). With the latest hardware and unlimited computing resources on demand capacity, they reduced time to market for their newest innovations.
Nissan leased on-premise HPC systems at a fixed rate over the life of the hardware. This made on-premise hardware appear less expensive than cloud for Year 1, however the overall cost of an agile cloud platform solution became substantially lower.
Nissan expects that the total cost-per-simulation (hardware and software) of cloud resources will decrease over time when compared to a fixed on-premise infrastructure. This occurs when new technology improvements are released and computing performance increases.
Nissan recognized that its ability to remain agile and innovate faster was their key competitive differentiator in the automotive markets. They saw it was a strategic imperative to deliver their global engineering team with platform HPC resources to increase overall operational efficiency. Nissan chose the Rescale ScaleX Enterprise platform, which successfully delivered improved ROI across these business drivers:
- An 18% cost optimization of applications and productivity, achieved by using optimized resources for each application and the agility to instantly scale resources to match computing demands.
- One unifying platform solution for long-term sustainable product quality and innovation enabling rapid new technology adoption.
- Faster product development, achieved through improved infrastructure agility and turnkey global deployment and administration, together provide zero queue time during peak engineering demand.
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