We sat down with customer Stewart Bible, co-founder of boutique engineering consulting firm Resolved Analytics, to talk about how his company uses Rescale, their motivation for computing on the cloud, and their plans for the future. Read the conversation below to hear how they’re using Rescale to remove computational bottlenecks and expand their client-serving abilities.

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself, your company, and your line of business?

A: My name is Stewart Bible and I’m one of the co-founders and a principal engineer at Resolved Analytics. We’re a boutique computational engineering and optimization consultant firm where we help customers improve product and process performance with CFD, finite element analysis, and other dynamical simulation tools.

Q: Can you describe your simulation needs and your computing environment before you started using Rescale?

A: Our simulation needs fluctuate depending on the number of customers that we have at any one time and the computational demands that the customers’ problems require. That’s why we find the cloud particularly interesting and useful: because one month we may need 64 processors to run two big problems or 128 processors to run a few big problems, and then the next month we have very low requirements. Owning a stand-alone software license capable of handling the highest workloads  doesn’t make a whole lot of sense during those months when you only need 8 or 16 processors because it ends up being a stranded asset. Our internal capability before Rescale was 16 processors.

Q: You kind of touched on this, but can you describe the pain points that led you to consider Rescale?

A: We ran the cost analysis on last year’s compute requirements and projected 2017 compute requirements. If you add up all the licensing costs for executing those jobs solely internally versus some internally and some in the cloud, it makes economic sense for us to run in the cloud. Plus, 16 processors just doesn’t get a complex multi-physics problems done very quickly. You need 64 or 128 processors.

Q: How do you use Rescale today?

A: So far we’ve used STAR-CCM+, and we found it very convenient. I was surprised at the ease of setup and how easy it was to get going. In the future, we plan to explore the new ANSYS partnership and probably a lot more open software like OpenFOAM.

We don’t have a typical workload. It varies a lot. We’re a small company. We’re only three people, so sometimes it’s very busy with four or five customer projects and we might have three or four simulations running at a time. We can run some of it internally, but then we run into the issue where all our licenses and processors are taken up and we need to run something in the cloud. The cloud knocks off the peaks of the demand for us. We’re using it for overflow and big jobs that we can’t run here.

Q: How has using Rescale changed the way that you approach simulation overall?

A: I think 2017 is going to bring some changes. What I see potentially happening in 2017 is that we reserve our 8 or 16 cores here to run the hard problems that require STAR-CCM+ and we run some of our more basic CFD analysis (for example, external aerodynamics) on OpenFOAM on Rescale resources. Another thing I see happening is that we used to be very conservative or picky about how many processors we would run a problem on because we might have three or four problems going and no one job was more important than the other three clients’ jobs so we would partition those equally. It’s always a pain in the butt to have to run on fewer processors than you’d want. Now that we have access to as many processors as we want, we’re just going to throw a lot of processors at jobs and get them done so much more quickly, and we’ll be able to run many more iterations on trials and optimization because we’re doing it that way. It’s taken the high capital requirements out of being able to run things on a lot of processors.

Q: It sounds like what’s really important to you is the ability to scale out and to have elastic resources available to you, but is there anything else that you really like about Rescale?

A: Versus the other simulation platforms, I found that Rescale was amongst the easiest to use.

Q: How do you expect your use of Rescale to impact your business?

A: It’s definitely going to allow us to have and to advertise greater capabilities, and it’s also going to allow us to have a better bottom line and cost savings. I see Rescale or any other cloud provider being a long-term part of our business.  Cloud computing allows us to cost-effectively execute the most complex simulations, and we’ll be able to help more clients because we have access to supercomputing resources.

This article was written by Rescale.

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Background and Challenge
Adaptive Corporation is a leading Digital to Physical Product Lifecycle Company that helps streamline business processes, reduce costs and improve efficiencies for customers that need to bring new products to market. Our CAE team runs explicit crash/impact simulations and large non-linear analysis for structures and components for our customers, who include leading manufacturers in Industrial Equipment, Aerospace, Auto, and Life Sciences. For these simulations, we use Abaqus, Nastran, Adams, Isight, fe-safe, and Tosca.

Our workload for our CAE consulting is project-based and varies quite a bit during the course of the year. Prior to using Rescale, we were custom building or purchasing our own HPC system. We were resource-constrained.  We either had underutilized computing capacity between projects or not enough capacity when multiple projects were underway at the same time. Too often, we experienced bottlenecks when we needed to solve multiple jobs simultaneously because we were limited with our smaller HPC system. Projects would run over schedule as a result.

Our mission is to craft tailored solutions that help our customers shorten development and production cycles throughout product planning, development, manufacturing, and aftermarket service processes. The simulation and analysis bottlenecks were undermining our ability to do that, so we needed to look for a solution. In addition, our on-premise hardware was out-of-date within 2 or 3 years, so we were spending a lot of time and effort every few years to upgrade our hardware and we needed an IT support team to maintain the servers and licenses.

The Rescale Solution
Two years ago, as bottlenecks became more frequent, we started to look to the cloud for bursting. We chose Rescale due to competitive pricing and their ability to work with us to customize the solution to our IT needs. We ditched our existing HPC system and now have a “reverse hybrid” cloud computing environment, in which we mostly rely on Rescale’s unlimited, on-demand capacity to meet the demands of our simulation engineers but occasionally run jobs on our desktops as well.

We have been running Abaqus on Rescale since 2014 and since we do so much computing on Rescale, we actually host our license on their server as well. On occasion, when we need to run simulations on our desktop computers, we’ll tap into our license server on Rescale. It’s a seamless process that saves us the headache of license management.

Results and Benefits
With instant access to more CPUs and faster hardware on Rescale, optimized to our simulation needs, our CAE consulting business has been able to solve jobs significantly faster than we could before–more than 10x faster! And with the availability of on-demand resources on the cloud, we now have access to hardware that can respond to our constantly changing compute needs. We’ve found it to be much more cost-effective to use the cloud, paying only for the hardware that we actually use, and to always have access to the current hardware offerings.

We’ve also been able to significantly reduce our IT overhead. We’ve eliminated the need for license server maintenance completely. We’ve reduced IT spending dramatically, never have underutilized compute capacity, and our employees can focus on engineering. We can now focus our resources on the value-added business activities, not on managing hardware. Rescale has helped us improve our operational efficiency.

About Adaptive Corporation
Adaptive Corporation is the leading Digital to Physical Product Lifecycle Company that helps streamlines business processes, reduce costs and improve efficiencies for customers who need to bring new products to market.  Adaptive’s growth is powered by working closely with its 500+ customers to overcome the challenges around product development. Our customer base includes leading manufacturers of industrial and consumer products and the suppliers that provide the underlying sub-systems. Adaptive’s unique “Digital to Physical” product portfolio includes CAD/CAM, CAE, PLM, business analytics, metrology, and 3D printing solutions from leading IT providers.  Using a combination of these offerings, the Adaptive team crafts tailored solutions that help our customers shorten development and production cycles throughout product planning, development, manufacturing, and after-market service processes.  For more information, visit www.adaptivecorp.com.

This article was written by Adaptive Corporation.