Cloud Solutions in the World of CAD and CAE
The cloud war is hot with Amazon Web Services (AWS) heading the rankings, closely followed by Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, SAP etc. The entire cloud computing market generated about $175 Billion and $206 Billion in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
In Q4 of 2016, AWS was able to maintain a revenue growth rate of 55% (same as in Q3 of 2016). This translates to $5 Billion in revenue just for a quarter and only for AWS. One can imagine the magnitude of growth in the cloud sector. Gartner says that by 2020, a no-cloud policy will be as rare as a no-Internet policy today. It is believed that even the companies that have a no-cloud policy, today, use some form of internal cloud services. In the coming decade, the associated costs will be untenable and more hybrid approaches will become common. Industry experts further predict that most software services will start going cloud-only and SAAS / PaaS / IaaS services will increase exponentially.
The advantage of cloud solutions has been evident in the simple things that we use daily – including Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive and Office 365. Yet, in spite of the advantages, there is still skepticism associated with it.
As early as late-2013, at the Gartner Symposium, Chris Howard (VP of Gartner) predicted that many medium and large-scale corporations will move to the cloud and that by the end of 2017, more than half of large technology corporations will use some form of a Hybrid cloud.
Computer-Aided Engineering in the Cloud
This is not only advantageous to single users and freelance designers but also to small and medium-sized companies, which nowadays are driving the entire design process. Large and multinational companies usually work with several hundred small and medium companies that offer design solutions. While most of these smaller companies do not have the ability to maintain large computing clusters, others spend a significant part of their revenue on this. Thus, it becomes imperative to facilitate an overall cost reduction of the design and development processes.
In addition to licensing and training costs associated with CAD and CAE software, on-premises computing servers require maintenance, software and hardware upgrades, IT personnel, power requirements, and rental costs for additional space. Cloud solutions offer an alternative where licensing costs are substituted with a subscription fee with the expenditure substantially reduced due to the usage of joint resources in the cloud.
Furthermore, most of the SaaS solutions offer pay-as-you-go services where one pays only for the used computational resources. Most SaaS solutions use customizable server loads and thus reduce the overall cost for both the provider and the client.
Data Security with Cloud Solutions
The biggest concern raised by any provider is data security. Rest assured, most well-built cloud services use 256-bit or higher encryption algorithms that can take centuries to break with the currently available technology. Quantum computers are still an academic technology and decades away from being commercialized.
Cloud service providers take security as an extremely important issue. Companies like SimScale and other SaaS providers have dedicated staff to monitor the security of their customer’s data. Most often industry standard SSL encryption is used when data is being transferred between the cloud and the customer’s computer. In addition, the data is all stored in encrypted formats using AES technology. These are the very same algorithms used in banking and other sensitive industries. Another perk: most SaaS providers use backup servers to redundantly backup encrypted data into multiple servers, thus preventing any data loss.
Secondly, there is the question of access to the stored content. Cloud services can be thought of as digital storage boxes. Thus, the provider does not have access to the data being stored. Most cloud companies need to follow the HIPAA regulations; when in doubt, however, you can always ask the individual company about their privacy and encryption policies.
An article on the SimScale blog highlights 10 advantages of using a cloud-based CAE service as compared to using traditional licensing models. A recent Harvard business review also looks at how businesses are being transformed, thanks to the cloud revolution!
All in all, it is safe to assume that the cloud is the future. There has been talk of safety and privacy but these issues are being well addressed with advanced technology solutions.