Things SaaS Providers Worry About, So You Don’t Have To
Just recently I visited the Ulm Minster in Ulm, Germany, the tallest church in the world. With its 161.5 metres (530 ft) steeple, it is the 4th tallest structure built before the 20th century. While admiring its height, few tourists would ever ask about its foundation – that is, until the church started tilting like the Tower of Pisa. These are simple things that the casual person would not care about, as long as they work.
Enter SimScale’s back-end team, where alarms can be heard, long before the users are affected. Here are five things we constantly work on, so you can focus on having fun while simulating your next product.
Truth be told, achieving a perfectly secure computer and keeping the bad guys out is quite easy: simply unplug the Internet connection and never insert any USB sticks or other devices. Perfectly secure, not so useful!
So you wanted a computer that is both secure and useful? That is a bit harder to achieve. Unfortunately, security resembles a cat-and-mouse chase: you buy a lock, attackers buy a pincer, you buy a thicker lock, and attackers buy a disc grinder. As long as you are one step ahead, your computer is secure. The question is, can you afford the time to stay one leap ahead of the attacker?
At SimScale, we have 2 full-time employees working round the clock to ensure the platform is secure. They are responsible for following security bulletins, applying security software updates, reviewing permissions, rotating access keys, etc. Another full-time employee regularly reviews the architecture of the platform to ensure that, even in the unlikely event of a breach, attackers would not get any useful data.
2. Data Storage
The most important asset of a company is its data, be it CAD models or simulation results. Ensuring this data is available for years to come is critical to the success of the company. Unfortunately, technology has yet to invent a reliable storage solution: 8% of the hard drives fail after 3 years and 3% will show latent data corruption . As a result, reliable storage implies a lot of effort: duplicate and backup data, change hard drives, regularly scrub them, etc. No wonder that so many people resort to storing their data in the cloud: The standard is to push your data to three geographically distinct locations, so it will outlive even the worst catastrophes.
At SimScale, we know that you not only care about your data not being lost, we also ensure that your data will not get in the wrong hands. Your data is being encrypted, both during transfer and at rest, with the encryption keys being strictly kept inside SimScale. Hence you can keep working on your next product without worrying about losing your work, nor that competitors might get a glimpse at it.
3. Hardware Provisioning
High-performance computers, such as those featuring many cores or GPUs, required for running simulation can be a real cash-flow nightmare. Not only do these machines make your electricity counter spin like crazy, they waste money even while turned off as they block capital that you could have spent in better ways. Wouldn’t you prefer renting a computer for one hours, just enough to run your simulation, and return it immediately afterwards?
Fortunately, SimScale does exactly this. We constantly invest in intelligent hardware provisioning algorithms to minimize simulation cost. After your simulation finished, the simulation servers are thoroughly cleaned of all data and are used to run another user’s simulation. If the server is idle for a while, we return it to our cloud provider, so that it does not incur extra costs. This is just one of the ways that we operate hardware at lower cost than any single platform user could do on their own.
Four seconds, that is how much you can wait without losing focus from the task at hand . If a software asks you to wait more, you are kicked out of “the zone” and your productivity declines.
Sometimes your simulation software might feel slow. Is it because the CAD model is too large? Is it because you installed some new software that is eating up the CPU of your computer? Is it time to invest in a faster computer? Do you really want to spend time answering the previous questions, instead of just delivering your next product?
At SimScale, we constantly monitor the platform to ensure it stays responsive. Should a performance bottleneck be encountered, we rewrite code or add more servers as necessary.
5. Software Updates and SaaS Providers
Assume you return from holidays and are looking forward to put in practice those fresh ideas that came to your mind while relaxing. You open your laptop and instead of a warm welcome you get an “updates pending” message … and your motivation dies with it. Nobody likes software updates. They are a necessary evil that we have to live with. Wouldn’t it be great for software to magically update, allowing you to take advantage of the latest security fixes and features, without paying extra and without wasting your productive time?
Fortunately, SaaS providers do this for you. SimScale constantly updates the software that runs our platform in a way that is minimally disruptive for you. After each update, we thoroughly test the new version of the platform before deploying it in production. You don’t have to worry about anything, except enjoying the platform update newsletter. Best of all, updates are already included in the subscription, so it comes at no extra cost for you!
These are just a few things we work on for ensuring you get a quality simulation platform. As SaaS providers, we not only sell a product, but we constantly maintain it for you. This is why SimScale pricing is based on a subscription and not a lump amount. Next time you log on to SimScale, you can truly enjoy its features, knowing that they are built on a solid foundation.
 Nah, Fiona Fui-Hoon, “A Study on Tolerable Waiting Time: How Long Are Web Users Willing to Wait?”, Behavior and Information Technology (2004), Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 153-163.