Curious about Cloud HPC? Here are 3 reasons simulation teams are using HPC and SaaS to smash deadlines and do more.

By Alex Graham

Before we even think about cloud HPC, let’s look back at how Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has been quietly transforming our lives over recent years. It’s completely routine for most of us to use web-based email, project management and office tools, and much more besides. It’s second nature – why wait to budget for, purchase and configure the right hardware and software, when you can just open your favorite web browser and get instant access to the application you need?

Why, indeed? Well, now it’s your turn, simulation engineers.

That’s right, SaaS now also means Simulation-as-a-Service. Simcenter Cloud HPC lets you run your simulations at scale on HPC hardware in a managed cloud environment, direct from your desktop. And you can rest easy, knowing that the service is delivered on optimized, robust and secure Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, configured and managed by Siemens. Read all about it in the recent press release. You can also find more details in the first installment of this blog series, here (and brush up on your survival skills at the same time).

Our customers have been enthusiastically trying out the service over the past few months, thanks to free trial credits available to our existing Simcenter STAR-CCM+ users (contact your account representative or reseller for more information on that). The motivations for tapping into cloud compute are many, the benefits numerous and the possibilities endless, but if we had to pick three, here they are:

1. There is no learning curve

Up until recently, leveraging high-performance computing (HPC) meant allocating a huge amount of upfront cash for a server room full of whirring machinery, followed by continual maintenance, software updates, periods of downtime and performance testing. The list goes on. So many hurdles to be cleared before you even got your first model running and the whole process could consume months or years.

Renting hardware in the cloud is of course faster, but still generally requires the same specialist knowledge about which hardware to select, how to configure it for optimal performance and everything else you need provide a usable solution for your simulation team.

What Simcenter Cloud HPC offers is a simpler world where all you need is a simulation to run – everything else Siemens takes care of. As Dr. Cosmin Ciortan, principal specialist at DNV Maritime advisory, told us:

DNV Maritime Advisory used Simcenter Cloud HPC to tackle a time-critical project

Simcenter Cloud HPC is quick and easy to use. The simulations start immediately so we know when we will get results and we don’t need to worry about how it works in the background.

Dr. Cosmin Ciortan, Principal Specialist as DNV Maritime Advisory

You can read more about DNV Maritime Advisory’s experience with Simcenter Cloud HPC here.

2. You only pay for what you use

To maximize ROI for engineering simulation, “traditional” software licenses and hardware need to be in constant use – as close to 100% of their capacity as you can get. Achieving this utilization in practice is difficult – generally you are either limited by the capacity you have, or you are under that limit and wasting resources. Getting this balance right in a large enterprise with a steady stream of simulation work is one thing, but this is much harder for smaller teams or those needing short term licensing for just a few months. As an example, our customer Heraeus Noblelight works with both in-house resources as well as outsourcing some simulation work to a 3rd party. Dr. Larisa von Riewel, simulation group leader, summed up the potential benefits of adopting a SaaS approach to HPC:

Heraeus Noblelight design bespoke IR and UV processes for their clients using simulation

When we are working with remote simulation teams, we often find we do not have HPC resources where we need them to be… Simcenter Cloud HPC would enable us to speed up collaborative projects. We also would not need to worry about license costs going to waste if a project finishes sooner than expected.

Dr. Larisa von Riewel, Simulation Group Leader, Heraeus Noblelight

You can read more about Heraeus Noblelight’s experience with Simcenter Cloud HPC here.

3. Capacity is unlimited

Well, it is so great that we can consider it unlimited. Unlimited capacity means two things. First, and most obviously, you can run a simulation of any size in parallel on as many cores as you like. So that super-high fidelity simulation you have always dreamt of running can now be a reality. Second, you will never run out of cores. That means that if you have a large design study with 100s of runs to complete, you can run them all at the same time, if you want to.

The combined benefits of scaling up and scaling out at the same time are incredibly powerful. As Cosmin concluded, if you want to move as fast as you possibly can, cloud is the only way:

I was recently speaking to a client who needed simulation work carried out particularly urgently. I told them that the only way to get it done as quickly as possible is to run on the cloud. There’s no other way because otherwise we have limited resources, limited licenses, limited everything. With Simcenter Cloud HPC that’s not the case.

Dr. Cosmin Ciortan, Principal Specialist, DNV Maritime Advisory

Welcome to the world of instant-on, zero queue, big compute. Right there in your favourite CFD simulation tool!

For more information about Simcenter Cloud HPC, please visit our website. If you are already a Simcenter STAR-CCM+ user, please reach out to your account representative to find out how to access free trial credits.

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at