Test The Limits

The Cloud Democratizes Simulation- Driven Design

By Steve Remondi

February 13 2015

  Companies using cloud technology are accessing software that they previously did not have the bandwidth to support. Teams that are collaborating on common data in the cloud are gaining valuable insights and increasing their productivity. We at Exa have decided to offer our entire suite of products as a cloud offering. Now companies of varying sizes and industries can leverage the design power of simulation-driven design software, software that had previously been feasible for only the top tier auto and aerospace companies in the world. Simulation-driven design is the future of manufacturing vehicles, equipment, machinery and parts, and the cloud is poised play a major role in that transformation. SaaS can democratize virtual design tools. SaaS opportunities expected to grow According to a survey from MintJutras, SaaS makes up 22 percent of all manufacturing software installed today, reported Forbes. Within 10 years, that number is expected to increase to 45 percent. The survey named easy and controllable software upgrades and consistent support across global operations teams that use the applications as the most important characteristics of SaaS for manufacturers. While those are certainly worthy benefits, the cloud provides more than just those perks for simulation-driven design software. For large automakers, cloud-based software can provide on demand compute power for peak demands that exceed capabilities of current infrastructure. This means that current users that need more simulations runs or are implementing advanced optimization can have the horsepower they need at their fingertips without interrupting their design and going through a lengthy budgeting and procurement process. Just as important, smaller manufacturers will be able to access the same software suite as their larger competitors and partners, without having to invest in a complex infrastructure. Many companies, despite their size or engineering budget, have complex aerodynamics, thermal,and noise issues they need to solve to meet the demand of their customers. Companies that make products such as appliances, fans, sprayers, tires and other automotive components could gain tremendous competitive advantage by using simulation-driven design early in their product development process. It is worth noting that we have done more than just put our offering in the cloud. All of the steps in the process from model preparation, to job submission, to analyzing and sharing the results have been integrated into a common web-based interface dramatically simplifying the user experience. These results can be huge files that  previously took a long time to load and transport. With the cloud, any Internet-capable computer with the necessary  credentials can view files simultaneously and collaborate with their team members. Security and Reliability There have been concerns in the past about security of data in the cloud. This is why Exa has partnered with IBM to offer their ExaCLOUD service on a secure, IBM-hosted cloud platform. We have done this to ensure that our customers can rely on an offering that is highly scalable and secure. Various departments trying to collaborate on the design  in separate locations can access this platform securely across the globe wherever team members need access to the results. The Time has Come The cloud has dramatically expanded the use of applications like CRM and marketing automation software.Critical applications like document creation and sharing are available through cloud offerings applications such as Google Docs and Dropbox. Recently a number of CAD/CAM companies such as Autodesk and Onshape are beginning to offer their digital design solutions through the cloud as well. Simulation-driven design is in production today at just about every major automotive OEM in the world. They are solving complex system problems earlier in the design process resulting in far better designs with compromise. It will be extremely interesting to see how the democratization of simulation-driven design can change the way products are developed in many more companies over the next several years.