Introducing High-Performance Computing on the Cloud for Simulation

If you are a SOLIDWORKS Simulation user pushing the computational limits with large and complex simulation models, you might be interested in 3DEXPERIENCE® Works Simulation solutions. Why? Well, not only does 3DEXPERIENCE Works Simulation deliver world-class SIMULIA technology (with proven Abaqus® and CTS solvers), it also enables access to cloud-based, high-performance computers for extra computational power when it is needed. Users can decide which computing approach—cloud or local—best suits their needs.

If any of the following questions apply to you, then cloud computing could be the answer:

  •         Are solve times limiting the number and frequency of the simulations you want to run?
  •         Would off-loading computational jobs to the cloud free up your computer for other tasks?
  •         Are running simulation jobs locally delaying product development?

Results of an impact simulation solved on the cloud with Abaqus in 3DEXPERIENCE Works Simulation.

Cloud Computing Can Save You Time

When running simulations on the cloud, your local computer is freed up, so you can work on other tasks, such as working on your next cool SOLIDWORKS® design—no need to wait for the simulation to complete.

Running multiple simulations concurrently is something that many users have been asking for. The value is obvious: You can set up multiple simulation scenarios on multiple design alternatives and send them for computation on the cloud. Now, you can do other tasks or even shut down your computer for the day. All your simulation results will be ready for your review in the morning.

For structural finite element analysis (FEA), running a non-linear analysis with Abaqus will reduce the solve time when compared to SOLIDWORKS Simulation, even on eight CPU cores, and especially on challenging non-linear contact problems. The Abaqus solvers in 3DEXPERIENCE Works structural simulation applications are highly scalable when leveraging additional CPU cores for solving large and complex problems.

Real-World Simulation Tests

Below are three examples: a rubber bushing stiffness test, a camera drop test, and the bolting of a cylinder head onto an engine block test. These examples illustrate the time saved when running a structural simulation on the cloud versus locally. You will notice the scalability of the computation time when leveraging more CPU cores. As a user, you will see two benefits in one: reduced computation time and time saved by running the simulation remotely since your local computer system will be available for other work.

Rubber bushing stiffness test solved with Abaqus implicit using general contact, hyper-elastic rubber material, and sequential multi-step loading (331,853 degrees of freedom*). In this example, the local hardware used has a limit of 4 cores, so 4 cores maximum will be used for the local run.

Camera drop test scenario solved with Abaqus explicit using general contact (340,827 degrees of freedom*). In this example, the local hardware used has a limit of 4 cores, so 4 cores maximum will be used for the local run.


Bolting a cylinder head onto an engine block test solved with Abaqus implicit using general contact and bolt pre-tension with multi-step loading (17,101,105 degrees of freedom*). In this example, the local hardware used has a limit of 8 cores, so 8 cores maximum will be used for the local run.

*Degrees of freedom (DOF) are the fundamental variables calculated during the analysis. For a stress/displacement simulation, the degrees of freedom are the translations as well as, for shell and beam elements, the rotations at each node (Source: Abaqus documentation).

Cloud Computing Offers Flexible and Scalable Compute Resources

SIMULIA recently introduced the unified license model for compute licensing, called SimUnits. It means that you can now have one pool of licenses to run any type of physics: structures, fluids, plastics, and electromagnetics.

Depending on your project needs, you can choose between SimUnits credits or SimUnits tokens.

  •         SimUnits credits have a lower entry point and are a good fit for short-term, high-demand workloads. Credits are consumable items (one-time use). SimUnits are also shareable for a group of engineers using simulation on their projects.
  •         SimUnit tokens have a higher entry point and are a good fit for medium- to high-frequency workloads. SimUnit tokens have unlimited reuse and are “locked” when used during a computation.

Cloud Computing is Easier Than You Think

Cloud computing does not require complex and expensive hardware setup or maintenance of a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, HPC clusters are already set up on the cloud, ready to go for all users who have been provided access.

Today, every 3DEXPERIENCE Works Simulation Role (set of applications) includes compute capacity locally or on the cloud. The workflow to run locally or on the cloud is very similar and accessed from an easy-to-use “Simulate panel” in the user interface. Below is a workflow illustration that starts in SOLIDWORKS.

Local or cloud computing workflow starting in SOLIDWORKS

Consider the Advantages

In summary, cloud computing for the SOLIDWORKS community confers an excellent and unique advantage for running large and multiple simulations. The gains are time and money with increased simulation capabilities. The advent of SimUnit compute licensing expands your compute capacity and flexibility with easy access for multiple users to more powerful HPCs on the cloud and access to any type of SIMULIA physics—not only structures but also fluids, plastics, and electromagnetics. Computing on the cloud eliminates the need to install, maintain, or update your own HPC infrastructure and frees up local machines for other work.

All the platform applications needed for product development and collaboration are directly available within your own CAD environment, enabling multiple teams to work on a singular product definition in a concurrent, safe, and real-time computing ecosystem. The platform not only accommodates your internal team’s project work but also allows key customers, suppliers, and managers secure access to the data they need when they need it. Plus, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform simplifies communication workflows, thereby improving productivity.

For more information, visit our website or contact your local SOLIDWORKS reseller.

Nicolas Tillet

Nicolas Tillet

Product Portfolio Manager at DS SOLIDWORKS Corp.
Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS Simulation
Nicolas Tillet