Thought Leader Thursday: Democratizing “Engineering in the Cloud”

The cloud is becoming a popular topic across many industries as engineers are exploring the endless opportunities to create innovative products and solutions. Maturing capital markets are driving a strong demand for product innovation to meet the growing needs of consumers. To meet these demands, engineers and designers have turned to simulation driven design to launch new products to market faster and cost effectively. The benefits derived from simulation are vast, including great time savings and the ability to run several simulations in a cluster at once with multiple results. Simulation allows engineers to model everything in the computer without the need to create physical prototypes.

Although simulation driven design is highly effective, it inevitably brings various challenges to growing organizations. The cloud is helping to minimize some of those challenges and make it possible to explore more innovative product designs. Traditional simulation software is expensive and takes time to physically implement. The capabilities of the cloud are making simulation driven design accessible to aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses, not just large organizations. By combining the power of the cloud and simulation, engineering in the cloud is becoming democratized in the CAE industry.


Top 4 Challenges for Adopting Simulation Driven Design

  1. Expert CAE Knowledge

Simulation driven design has typically required a high level of CAE expertise. Many of the available CAE tools are rich with features, but are too difficult to use and customize. The traditional approach for software developers was to build a generic framework and expect domain experts to adapt to their needs instead of developers creating software to meet engineers’ needs.

  1. Fixed Infrastructure

Simulation driven design requires complex computing infrastructure. Exploring different ideas at the same time requires reliable, secure, and high-speed computing infrastructures, which is typically expensive. Physical software installation also requires time and energy.

  1. Limited Collaboration Ability

Simulation tools have traditionally been desktop file centric, creating limited cross-domain communication and collaboration. Software limited to experts’ computers hinders collaboration and inevitably delays product innovation.

  1. Expensive and Inflexible Licensing

Many CAE solvers tend to be expensive and end user licensing agreements can be restrictive in terms of mobility. Typical licenses are issued on an annual basis, which cost more and financially restricts large scale exploration. It also makes it difficult for entrepreneurs and small businesses to utilize simulation, as they may not have the financial resources for an annual license or the need for all the available features.

So How Can the Cloud Overcome these Challenges?


By using Software as a Service (SaaS) model, the cloud can increase the pace of product development by providing easy access to the simulation applications. The new approach by CAE software developers is to understand and address users’ needs. One way they do this is by building a unique application (also known as an “app”). The cloud can also leverage the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model to reduce the complexity of High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructures, expanding idea exploration. In addition, CAE and HPC have become much more manageable operational expenses.

Also, the cloud’s affordable pay-as-you-go business model allows easy utilization of simulation tools to rapidly create an innovative product or solution. This helps a small company innovate, as they are able to pay for only the small subset of capabilities they need and for the time they need it. Since everything is in the cloud and doesn’t require a browser, engineers can also share information easily and collaborate better with one another. There is no waiting for installation of software. The cloud can connect missions effectively and efficiently.

How are Altair’s Solutions Helping to Democratize Engineered Cloud Solutions?


Our cloud strategy at Altair is to offer all our products through a single web browser that is available on-premises, off-premises, and also in a hybrid mode. By using a cloud stack, we provide engineered cloud solutions where users can easily perform and explore simulation driven design in a simple browser. HyperWorks Unlimited is an “Engineered” Cloud Solution available in two variations:

  1. Physical Appliance (Infrastructure is On-Site)
  2. Virtual appliance (Infrastructure is Off-Site through Amazon Web Services)

The value chain includes Pre-Processing or modeling tools, highly parallelized solvers, post processing tools, access to high performance computing resources, data management, and more. HyperWorks Unlimited (HWUL) hides the complexity of this entire value chain by packaging all the necessary tools and infrastructure for simulation driven design into a single appliance. This easy to use application is available through a single web portal. By providing this Single Pane of Glass view for simulation in the form of the HyperWorks Unlimited Appliance, Altair makes it extremely easy for users and IT organizations to deal with a single vendor for the entire simulation value chain.

HyperWorks Unlimited, both in the Physical and Virtual appliance forms, provide meaningful solutions to small enterprises and large organizations with all types of workload demands. Smaller organizations are able to derive tremendous value from the use of HWUL Virtual Appliance without extensive IT budgets and HPC data centers. Larger organizations have zeroed in on the HWUL Physical Appliance because of the seamless connectivity Altair provides from the Physical to the Virtual Appliance by leveraging HWUL-VA to address peak loads.

With its innovative business model of unlimited software, HyperWorks Unlimited is extremely valuable and attractive to engineers. HWUL Physical and Virtual appliances allow users to explore infinitely without the restriction of traditional software licenses. By combining simulation driven design with the cloud, Altair is democratizing engineering in the cloud by making it available to a wide variety of users so they can deliver new innovative products and strive to meet growing demands around the world.

For additional details on HyperWorks Unlimited, please explore: and

Sam Mahalingam
Sam Mahalingam

About Sam Mahalingam

Sam joined Altair in 1994 and worked on various products and projects both in the custom services and product teams. He is currently the Chief Technical Officer for Altair’s cloud computing and high-performance computing strategy, with the primary responsibility of applying the newer cloud and mobile technologies to the digital simulation, high performance computing world and identifying and mentoring talented individuals within the organization. He holds a bachelor of engineering degree in Computer Science and Engineering and executive masters of business administration from the Indian School of Business.