April 19, 2019

ANSYS Cloud: Direct cloud HPC access through ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Fluent

Bruce Jenkins | Ora Research
“Engineering simulation has long been constrained by fixed computing resources available on a desktop or cluster,” observes industry leader ANSYS. “Today, however, cloud computing can deliver the on-demand, high-performance computing (HPC) capacity required for faster high-fidelity results offering greater performance insight. To leverage the combined benefits of cloud computing and best-in-class engineering simulation, ANSYS is partnering with Microsoft Azure to create a secure cloud solution: ANSYS Cloud.”
Within ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent, the company says its users can “easily access HPC in the cloud directly—without the need for any additional setup. Access the hardware and software you need, when you need it—pay only for what you use.”
Built-in cloud HPC access—ANSYS Cloud delivers easy access to on-demand HPC resources from within your ANSYS environment. Using your ANSYS tools, prepare your simulation models on your desktop. Simply select a pre-configured hardware, then submit your jobs directly to the cloud. You won’t have to wait in HPC cluster queues or reduce your model size to fit desktop constraints. Job progress may be monitored from your desktop or through a web-based cloud portal.
The ANSYS Cloud is optimized for ANSYS solvers. Choose from a set of pre-defined hardware configurations depending on the needs of your model.
Ready-to-use cloud service—Mechanical and Fluent users can “easily access ANSYS Cloud without involving their information technology (IT) teams. Without the need for complex software installations or cloud-side setups, users are free to focus on solving their engineering problems. And, without having to build in-house solutions or rely on third-party vendors, businesses can avoid costly upfront investment and delays.” ANSYS Cloud is a “ready-to-use solution that is ANSYS-tested and certified, and fully-supported by ANSYS HPC and solver experts.”
“Completely secure workflows”—ANSYS Cloud provides a “highly robust and completely secure environment for running simulations in the cloud. At the Azure data centers, where simulations are run and data are stored, access is strictly controlled. The solution combines Microsoft Azure’s best practices with custom encryption for added security.” Both data at rest and in motion are encrypted.
Leveraging Azure Virtual Networks, ANSYS Cloud offers a “separate, secure network architecture for each customer: only you can access your data.”
The complete system architecture has undergone comprehensive testing, including detailed penetration testing, ANSYS says. Because new security threats continuously emerge, the solution’s security is regularly audited by a third party.
“Economical on-demand pricing”—Pay-per-use access to both cloud hardware and ANSYS software is available on Microsoft Azure and enabled through ANSYS Elastic Licensing. Rather than locking into a longer-term lease, users purchase a pool of ANSYS Elastic Units (AEU) based on their short-term cloud-computing needs.
How this works: “Using your existing licenses, prepare your model using your on-premise hardware. When you submit your simulation job for analysis in the cloud, use your pool of AEUs.”
AEUs are consumed at a specified hourly rate that varies with the choice of hardware configuration and solver type (i.e., Mechanical or Fluent). For example, a Mechanical simulation on a small hardware configuration (1 node, 12 cores) will consume 13 AEUs/hour, whereas the same simulation on a medium configuration (3 nodes, 36 cores) will consume 18 AEUs/hour.
Your pool of AEUs (shared with other users in your organization) is charged based on your cloud runtime (in fractions of an hour). Consumption of AEUs may be tracked using the cloud portal, which is accessed via a desktop or mobile web browser.
“With this combination of traditional licensing (leased and paid-up for steady workflows) and pay-per-use licensing (for in-cloud, flexible capacity),” ANSYS says, “you can optimize your company’s investment in simulation.”
Remote job monitoring
Easily monitor the progress of your simulation from within the desktop installation of Mechanical and Fluent or from a web-based cloud portal. Job monitoring tools provide full access to the solver transcript, a graphical view of convergence parameters and real-time access to debug information when help is needed.
You can also view a summary of your simulation jobs via a web-based cloud portal, which can be accessed from your desktop or mobile device. Using the cloud portal, you can track total consumption of AEUs and even share your simulation jobs with your peers and ANSYS support.

Cloud-based 3D results visualization
With ANSYS Cloud, users can review and validate the results of their simulations while their data are in the cloud. “Innovative post-processing technology leaves the heavy data in the cloud, transferring only requested information to you for 3D rendering in your web browser,” ANSYS says. This approach “avoids heavy network usage and eliminates the latency typical of virtual desktop approaches. The performance is unmatched for all-size models.”
Users can plot scalar and vector fields and visualize results on existing parts, planes, isosurfaces and isovolumes. When needed, “download the data to your desktop for detailed post-processing using your familiar desktop applications.”
Microsoft Azure
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