Relevance of Intel Scalable System Framework for ANSYS and its Customers

By Wim Slagter, Director of HPC & Cloud Marketing at ANSYS Inc.

 

If you’ve ever seen a rocket launch, flown on an airplane, driven a car, used a computer, touched a mobile device, or crossed a bridge, chances are you’ve used a product where ANSYS software played a critical role in its creation. By providing engineering simulation software, we help the world’s most innovative companies deliver radically better products to their customers.

For example, customers use our computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications to optimize the efficiency of combustion of gases in an automobile engine, the passage of air through a jet turbine engine, and the transfer of heat among components on a circuit board.

As products and processes increase in complexity, and have to be more robust with even shorter design cycles, customers bump up against the limits of their computer workstations and servers. Many set their sights on high-performance computing (HPC) as a way to scale compute power to better accommodate their increasing demands for our simulation software.

When it comes to HPC, our engineering customers are sometimes reluctant to go beyond workstation-based computing due to unforeseen IT issues, for instance lacking HPC expertise and/or maintaining stable versions of all the necessary software given the myriad of interdependencies and compatibility requirements.

Let me elaborate a bit on what I just mentioned.

For smaller companies, sizing, building, integrating, provisioning and supporting a cluster infrastructure requires specialized IT expertise that is often lacking users of engineering simulation software. Costs are also associated with all stages of decision-making for HPC clusters including additional license cost to maximize a user’s hardware investment dramatically shortening time to results leveraging the exploding amount of cores delivered in HPC.

In addition, clusters are expected forward-compatible, and our software applications are fully compatible. And, although many of our applications are already Intel® Cluster Ready, we believe that the Intel® Scalable System Framework (SSF) takes it further and enables a wide range of robust, simulation workload-optimized solutions. It will provide our customers a validated cluster that reduces the deployment risk and assure end-user productivity on more intensive workloads.

Apart from these clear benefits for our customers, we as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and global leader in engineering simulation software can take advantage of Intel SSF too. For example, every time our customers change their HPC stack, we ultimately have to make sure that our application still runs effectively. We also have the challenge of getting requests from customers and end users who ask for compatibility with additional software packages, so it seems like we are constantly re-testing and validating an HPC stack.

Since Intel SSF simplifies the integration, testing, and validation of an HPC Stack, it reduces the time spent retesting our applications as new open source components are released in the stack, so that we can focus on our differentiation.  We think Intel SSF will help streamline our stack testing process.

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