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Engineering simulation rises to the cloud

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Although the cloud has become an accepted part of commercial and consumer computing, science and engineering have been less welcoming to the concept, but this could be on the point of changing with the announcement this month that the ESI Group will be delivering advanced engineering simulation in the cloud, across multiple physics and engineering disciplines.

At the end of 2015, ESI also announced that it had opened a major new data centre at the Teratec Campus in France. However, despite this increase in its own capacity, it has chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a hosting solution for its ESI Cloud scalable, multi-tenant, and secure SaaS Platform. Its own data centre will be used as ESI's PoD (Point of Delivery), serving all ESI offices across Europe as a platform for ESI's new software development and engineering services.

ESI Cloud will offer instant access to selected computer-aided engineering (CAE) solutions from the company, anywhere and at any time in order to provide elastic resources to fit varying simulation needs, from occasional use to peak loads. It claims to be the only CAE cloud platform on the market that includes parallel workflows, templates and sample projects, so that novice users can quickly become productive.

The first product to be available by this route will be an end-to-end CFD Solution, enabling effective use the open source software OpenFOAM, and on-demand use of ESI's Virtual Performance Solution. Underpinning the development is technology developed by Ciespace, a US company based in Silicon Valley, that was acquired by ESI Group in April 2015.

Christopher St John, COO for field and support operations at the ESI Group, said: ‘Cloud computing is a game-changing technology, designed to deliver increased mobility, elasticity, and scalability’. ESI Cloud is an open application framework, enabling real-time collaboration and providing browser-based visualisation, with a high level of security.

However, the company also sees an important role for its own data centre in the cloud computing area. Its completion at the end of the year, according to Vincent Chaillou, COO for Edition Operations means that: ‘ESI is now equipped with a cloud computing PoD to run state of the art calculations, as required to leverage our developments and engineering studies in the field of virtual prototyping. By granting our customers access to HPC and cloud computing, and by democratising the use of such technologies, we propose a new model to our industrial customers.’