February 7th, 2018
Recently, I visited the Ulm Minster in Ulm, Germany, which is the tallest church in the world. With its 161.5 meters (530 ft.) steeple, it is the 4th tallest structure built prior to 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 backend 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 designing 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, but 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 around the clock to ensure our SaaS platform is secure. They are responsible for following security bulletins, applying security software updates, reviewing permissions, and rotating access keys. 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 be able to obtain any useful data.
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 back up the data, change hard drives, and regularly scrub them. It’s no wonder that so many people resort to storing their data in the cloud: the standard is to push it to three geographically distinct locations, so it will outlive even the worst catastrophe.
At SimScale, we know that you not only care about your data not being lost, we also ensure that it will not be misappropriated. Your data is encrypted, both during transfer and at rest, with encryption keys that are strictly kept inside SimScale. Therefore you can keep working on your next product without worrying about losing your work, nor that competitors might get a glimpse at it.
High-performance computers, such as those featuring many cores or GPUs, that are required for running simulations can be a real cash flow nightmare. Not only do these machines utilize copious quantities of electricity, but they waste money even while turned off, as they reduce the amount of capital that could have been spent in more industrious ways. Wouldn’t you prefer to rent a computer for one hour, just long enough to run your CFD or FEA simulation, and return it immediately afterward?
Fortunately, SimScale does exactly this. We constantly invest in intelligent hardware provisioning algorithms to minimize simulation costs. After your simulation finished, the simulation servers are thoroughly cleaned of all data and are then 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 a lower cost than any single platform user could do on their own.
Four seconds. That is how long you can wait realistically without losing focus from the task at hand . If a software program asks you to wait longer, you are kicked out of “the zone” and your productivity declines.
Sometimes simulation software might feel slow. It could be because the CAD model is too large or because there is some new software installed that is effectively consuming the CPU of your computer. It may be time to invest in a faster computer. Do you really want to spend time answering these 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.
Assume you return from holiday and are looking forward to putting into practice those fresh ideas that came to you 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, however, 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 the 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. You don’t have to worry about anything, except enjoying the platform update newsletter. Best of all, updates are already included in the Professional subscription, so it comes at no extra cost.
These are just a few aspects that ensure 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 basis 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.
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