Flexible simulation solutions in the cloud for medium-sized enterprises
Modern product development requires extensive simulations. Nowadays, the design of individual components or entire machines is hardly possible without massive calculations. The financial and human costs associated with the provision of the necessary software and the implementation, organization and maintenance of the hardware is, however, a big economic challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, the Cloud4E project provides demand-actuated access to professional simulation solutions in form of services available via the cloud. Thus, engineers of medium-sized enterprises obtain access to engineering simulation solutions, which were economically usable only by large enterprises, so far.
Flexible and cost effective simulation and optimization methods for engineers
For this purpose, Cloud4E offers access to all the resources that are required for performing professional simulations in the engineering field via the cloud. Besides the software, this includes the compute capacity that is needed for the calculation of heterogeneous, highly complex models in competitive time. The advantages for the developing companies are obvious: investments in hardware, software, and personnel can be reduced and regular costs for the installation and maintenance of simulation software are omitted. Additionally, the reliability of the systems significantly increases by the usage of cloud technology without high costs: the resources in the cloud are redundant and highly available – for cost reasons, this is often not the case for in-house solutions. Furthermore, resource bottlenecks during complex analysis or prior to delivery and product releases when many engineers need to run simulations simultaneously are avoided. The cloud makes the use of simulation solutions more flexible and cost efficient.
Individually configurable use of software and compute capacity available via the cloud
In practice, the start of a simulation in the cloud is not more complicated than running the simulation on local resources. The simulation software runs flexibly bookable as software-as-a-service on virtual machines in the cloud, instead running on a local computer. The VMs make use of compute and storage resources of the cloud and can be adapted to the actual requirements. With help of standardized interfaces ( OCCI [Open Cloud Computing Interface] and AMQP [Advanced Message Queuing Protocol]), the software, platform and infrastructure layer can be configured and controlled. The use of open standards allows the engineer to change the cloud provider, if required, without losing previously achieved results. In a first step, Cloud4E provided the cloud access to Modelica and FEM simulations as first model application. With its help it is possible to examine prototypes for weaknesses early in the development or construction phase. However, the providers of simulation software will be able to offer arbitrary solutions via the cloud with help of the project results of Cloud4E.
Uniform security infrastructure along the entire workflow
Security is of special meaning in the project. The simulation results generated during the development of new modules or machines is of great interest for competitors. On the hosts in the cloud, they have to be optimally protected against unauthorized access. Therefore, Cloud4E developed a trusted security infrastructure that can protect every step in the life cycle of a simulation task. Transmission and processing of data is always encrypted. For this purpose, Cloud4E provides configurable and easy to use tools based on proven open source technologies that can be integrated in cloud simulation services according the actual requirements.