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iStock 1294781573
iStock 1294781573

Engineering teams must embrace the cloud

By Dr. Prith Banerjee, CTO at Ansys

The worldwide, cross-industry trend toward digital transformation of projects and processes is rapidly gaining steam as more companies realise the benefits of a having a “digital thread” connecting their workflows. Digital assets not only make it easier for teams located in different locations to work on the same project concurrently, it also means that processes are more streamline, resulting in faster time to market and lower development costs. But, for digital assets to be affective and available across locations, companies must have the right infrastructures in place. According to McKinsey, by 2024 enterprises expect the majority of IT-hosting spend to be dedicated to the cloud, meaning that legacy infrastructures will soon become obsolete and no longer able to meet the demands of the organisation and its customers.

For the industrial sector, the challenge of digital transformation is even more demanding. Increasingly, engineers and designers are faced with larger, more complex projects that must be completed in ever-shorter timeframes. While solutions like engineering simulation can help companies speed up their digital transformation and help get products to market quicker, this does mean companies need to run more and more engineering simulations faster to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with demand. And in order for simulation to be successful, more computer power in required, yet existing on-premises computer capacity is expensive and often insufficient for the task. Alongside this, it also doesn’t make sense to maintain costly on-premises clusters and workstations as these will only become obsolete in a few years. Furthermore, with the international chip shortage causing further challenges and demands for engineers, with higher costs and longer lead times in order to obtain the CPUs/GPUs needed to develop products, the need for digital solutions to speed up processes becomes even more of a priority.

Embracing the cloud

To overcome these challenges, better streamline engineering processes and minimise computing costs, engineers must transition to the cloud. It enables every engineer on every product development team to access the most recent software releases, along with virtually unlimited computational power. The result? Both cost and performance advantages.

When it comes to using the cloud for simulation solutions, not only does the cloud support a significant acceleration in simulation solve times, but it also creates annual cost savings for engineering teams in small, midsized and large businesses. In one of our customer case studies, using the cloud delivered a 7X faster solve time, nearly $300,000 in annual cost savings and approximately 2,900 hours in annual time savings.

Engineers using the cloud can quickly run even the most complex simulations and repeat them iteratively, applying multiple physics and considering hundreds or thousands of operating parameters. Because it eliminates capacity limitations and other technology barriers, cloud computing supports a more thorough analysis of every aspect of product performance. There is no need to cut corners with rough meshes, low-fidelity models or limited physics, and simulation users don’t have to buy new hardware or expand their high-performance computing (HPC) license capacity, wait for outages to be resolved, or fight for their share of limited computing resources.

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In addition, a cloud approach means that engineering teams can always access the most recent versions of hardware and software to support faster design innovation. As soon as new features or functionality are released, they are available automatically, which means that product developers have ongoing access to the latest and greatest tools to support their work.

The Future of the Cloud

Cloud adoption remains on the rise, with 65% of industrial companies reportedly using cloud solutions, and 20% scaling or rolling out cloud technology. Yet, there remains gaps among engineers and manufacturers’ confidence in understanding the complexity of cloud solutions and being able to use them in a way that’s beneficial for their business.  

According to the Harvard Business Review, before the pandemic, only 20-30% of work was being conducted via cloud computing, with this figure expected to increase to 80% in the next decade. This suggests that many businesses, and especially engineering teams, could have been losing out on the benefits and potentially slowing down production during the pre-pandemic period. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, which dramatically sped up cloud adoption due to lockdowns and worldwide 

remote working, experts expect the shift to 80% to now happen in the next three years. This means that organisations and engineers could experience

It is estimated that cloud adoption will grow at a triple rate in 2022 for engineering teams. This is because of the many advantages that the cloud brings, including reduction of simulation time, lower cost of ownership, the ability to “simulate from anywhere”, and the capability to share models among engineering teams scattered across the world. 

Don’t be left out — join the cloud revolution.

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