Complete Cloud-based Simulation Suite: ExaCLOUD Case Study

Simulation process itself is a complex mathematical task, which requires significant computational hardware resources that are difficult and expensive to maintain. It creates a high barrier of entry for companies that do not possess resources to establish and maintain powerful data centers / computer clusters. It also makes it more difficult to establish the trial and short-term engagements, in order to convince future customers to move to the full implementations.

 

  • PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
    • Complete cloud-based application to set up, run and analyze results of a complex simulation process that resides on a high-performance cluster.
    • The application has been developed with deep involvement of the AMC Bridge team through several iterations, from a high-level concept to a production release, currently in wide use.
  • WHY AMC BRIDGE?
    • Expertise in engineering and simulation software combined with deep experience of creating cloud applications.
    • Proven track record in business analysis, identifying customer needs and devising the project details to turn a general idea into an innovative application.
  • CUSTOMER BENEFITS
    • New product, highly rated by the end users, with the number of sessions growing steadily month to month.
    • Intuitive and user-friendly interface that provides secure web-based access to the complete Exa simulation suite.

 


Client:
Exa® Corporation (now a part of SIMULIA, a Dassault Systèmes Brand) provides simulation and visualization software that predicts the real-world performance of products early in the design process.

The Exa product suite is designed to provide a complete simulation solution for executing the simulation-based design process. It includes the PowerFLOW® automatic fluid grid generation engine, as well as mesh preparation, advanced simulation analysis and rapid design geometry modification products.

Leading manufacturers trust Exa’s suite of proven aerodynamic, thermal management and acoustics simulation solutions to reduce the reliance on expensive physical prototypes and late-stage design failures while optimizing the quality and performance of their products. Some of the most successful companies in the world use Exa, including BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kenworth, MAN, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Nissan, Peterbilt, Renault, Scania, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Trucks.


Challenges:
Simulation process itself is a complex mathematical task, which requires significant computational hardware resources that are difficult and expensive to maintain. It creates a high barrier of entry for companies that do not possess resources to establish and maintain powerful data centers / computer clusters. It also makes it more difficult to establish the trial and short-term engagements, in order to convince future customers to move to the full implementations.

Besides, efficient work with every step of a model pre-processing, processing and post-processing demands constant attention of an experienced engineer to really put the technical solution through its paces. Moreover, interface complexity with a variety of settings makes acquaintance with the simulation suite quite overwhelming and time-consuming for the new users.

In order to improve customer satisfaction and lower the barrier of entry, as well as streamline the work with less complex models and operating standard workflows, Exa decided to move to a cloud computing environment.


Solution:
To leverage all benefits of the cloud solution, AMC Bridge developed an intuitive and user-friendly interface that provides secure web-based access to the complete Exa simulation suite.

ExaCLOUD® is a multi-user system that enables engineers to intuitively manage simulation projects, to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, and to use any of Exa’s powerful simulation preparation or results analysis tools with just a web browser. ExaCLOUD provides access to virtual, secure, high-performance computing capacity, hosted by IBM.


exa-cloud-case-study-1

ExaCLOUD offers the following capabilities:

  • Access to the complete, most up-to-date Exa simulation suite anywhere, at any time, with no installation required (including full versions of Exa client software), with just a web browser.
  • Project, run and data management capabilities to automate the standard simulation workflows, including auto-stop, central project repository and a simulation data storage.

  • Team collaboration tools to share interactive product sessions and review models before running simulations.

  • Powerful tools for pre-processing, processing and post-processing operations.


exa-cloud-case-study-2

ExaCLOUD incorporates a set of the most commonly used simulation workflows that makes it perfectly optimized for a quick start. Instead of configuring a suite of five or six tools performing various simulation processes, user is now able to upload a model, choose preferences and run the process. The easy-to-use solution decreases education investments significantly and makes the software adoption smooth and simple for the new users.


exa-cloud-case-study-3

At the same time, for the advanced users, the access to each of the native applications is still available for performing modifications that are out of the scope of standard workflow.


Process:
The goal of the project was to create a complete cloud-based system grounded in the regular workflows used to manage simulation projects, with the main tools for simulation preparation, simulation and results analysis offered by Exa.

The client came with an idea of a concept to be implemented. Strong expertise in the engineering and simulation software, along with the extensive experience in developing cloud applications, allowed AMC Bridge to convert customer’s requirements into real solution.

First, in collaboration with Exa stakeholders, the AMC Bridge team created a set of use cases that describe user interactions, to determine the minimal functionality needed. Once this was completed, an iterative process with fast development cycles was used for designing and developing the web application.

The project essentials required an agile approach and seamless cooperation between all teams involved – namely Exa Product Management, Exa software development and AMC Bridge development. With discussions held as Skype meetings and email conversations, the teams worked through mutually defined tasks list and project milestones to convert customer’s vision into cutting-edge cloud application.

AMC Bridge has built the ExaCLOUD web application with the most effective set of up-to-date front-end technologies and frameworks. To maximize efficiency and accuracy, major software testing processes have been fully automated. AMC Bridge team wrote Selenium automated UI tests and further ran them on continuous integration servers, performing browser compatibility testing as well, which worked out much more cost-effective, accurate, and faster in this fast-paced software development environment.

Once ExaCLOUD was successfully released, AMC Bridge has been continuously delivering support and updates to the applications based on the feedback from the users and requirements formulated by Exa’s Product Team.


Results:
Resulting application offers Exa customers a cloud solution that provides secure, web-based access to the entire simulation suite. Users highly rated the new product, with the number of sessions growing steadily month to month.

ExaCLOUD users have experienced the following benefits:

  • Access to Exa's Suite via the web

    Exa's complete, most up-to-date suite of simulation tools becomes available right away, on the day of the release, anywhere, at any time through a web browser.

  • Reduced IT Costs & Time

    Time No local installation required — just log on and access the HPC, secure servers on a CPU hour basis, with no need to have an upfront investment, paying only for simulations that are used.

  • Gained Automation and Control

    Managing the simulation process is available from beginning to end through a state-of-the-art GUI. Manage queues and prioritize runs with ease.

  • Enhanced Team Collaboration

    Gain team access for enhanced collaboration on simulations and results analysis.

  • Improved Productivity

    Increased user efficiency with a GUI designed to easily manage the complete simulation process.

 

Exa, PowerFLOW and ExaCLOUD are registered trademarks of Exa Corporation, a Dassault Systèmes Company.

 

Jun 12, 2018
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