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July 28, 2011

IBM Outlines Benefits of Engineering Clouds

Nicole Hemsoth

The complex engineering processes that underpin major industries, including manufacturing and EDA, require extensive compute resources, which are being stretched to the limit for firms of every size. Furthermore, there are a number of skilled professionals needed to create next generation engineered products in the digital manufacturing, EDA, electronics and other industries.

These are just two of several conditions that Dr. Srini Chari discussed in a recent IBM-sponsored whitepaper that explored the need for greater computing access for engineers.

While the purpose of the whitepaper is deliver ideas about IBM’s engineering cloud computing offerings, it nonetheless touches on a number of important points. Manufacturers and others providing engineering-based solutions are being stretched to their limits and are looking outside of the box (a reference to the traditional data center) to eek all computing power and savings out of their infrastructure as possible. Aside from being an introduction to its portfolio of HPC cloud offerings, this nonetheless serves as an important overview of the greatest challenges that engineering-based companies are facing.

Dr. Chari argues that there are a number of reasons why high performance computing is turning to cloud computing. On this list of motivating factors is, perhaps not surprisingly, the recession and associated financial impacts that are still being felt in many industries. He says that additionally, HPC itself is being mainstreamed, thus creating a more mature ecosystem. Since high performance clouds are part of that ecosystem it stands to reason that there could be even more growth in the coming years.

The text, called “Smart IBM Solutions for High Performance Engineering Clouds: Advanced Performance for Complex Engineering Problems Delivered in a Flexible and Secure Mode through Private and Private Hosted Clouds” makes the argument that as engineering complexity continues to grow, it becomes critical to look outside of traditional solutions.

The author argues that “that way to overcome these issues is to transform siloed environments into shared engineering clouds—starting from a private cloud and private-hosted environment and maturing to public over time.” He says that to reach these goals, “engineering functions require interactive and batch remote access; shared and centralized engineering IT; and an integrated business and technical environment.” With this, designs can be location-independent, can have more access to greater computing capacity and storage, and can better align their resources to the goals of their project, and can realize operational efficiencies and lowered costs.

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