7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 4, 2013 11:41 AM by Jared Conway

    Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?

    Ian Dixon

      I'm toying with the idea of running Simulation Premium on a server to get faster solutions.  For example a server might have 4 cpu's x 4 cores, 64GB memory and multiple hard drives on a raid array with faster read/write speeds.  I currently use a laptop that is reasonably fast running SolidWorks but complex non-linear simulations can take a long time and tie up my computer.  I would like transfer the FEA files to the server and run it via Remote Desktop Connection.  I realize that RDC can lag a little but I don't think it would be too bad for setting up studies and viewing results.

       

      Has anyone tried to install Simulation on a Server?  What OS?

       

      - Ian

        • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
          Anna Wood

          Ian,

           

          Check out this thread for some insight into FEA performance.

           

          https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/63854?start=0&tstart=0

           

          Cheers,

           

          Anna

            • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
              Ian Dixon

              Anna,

               

              Thank you for the link.  There is at least one server listed in that post so we know it will work.  The server was a virtual machine and the performance wasn't so good.  It is tough to make conclusions based on machines with so many hardware differences.  Cpu speed is probably most important.  Simulation can make some very large files, so I have to think that memory size/speed and hard drive write speed can limit the system.

               

              We know that some tasks in SolidWorks and Simulation only use one-core so it is not as simple as adding more cores.  On my current system I've noticed that the cpu rarely runs at 100% when solving a Simulation study.  I would estimate that it is usually running at 25% or 1 core of 4 cores is maxed out.  Does it make more sense to spend money on fewer faster cores than more slower cores?

               

              I also run Maxwell Render which pegs all 4 cores at 100%.

               

              - Ian

                • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
                  Anna Wood

                  Ian,

                   

                  A server with lots of cores will not do much for you since the FEA software does not currently use them to good advantage.  Get a fast, overclocked quad core cpu system with plenty of ram and speedy SSD drives. You will get better performance for less money than a server rig.

                   

                  Cheers,

                   

                  Anna

                    • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
                      Jared Conway

                      Ian, there are diminishing returns at throwing hardware at simulation. Have you had someone review your problem setups to make sure you're leveraging everything you can to minimize the problem size to get reasonable solutions quickly?

                       

                      But in general, faster cores vs number of cores is your best bet. Along with using SSD and enough fast ram to make sure your solution stays in ram. But there is no replacement for a good problem setup. We usually teach this to our customers in our one-on-one mentoring service because it is usually unique to their problems.

                        • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
                          Jared Conway

                          and also, going back to your original question, there is really no need to use a server. just have a computer with a desktop os, take your files over there and run the problem. we do this all the time. just make sure you have a network license of solidworks and simulation. we use remote desktop or logmein depending on where we need to connect. but we also don't try to manipulate the software through these methods due to the limitations you describe. we just use them to monitor.

                        • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
                          Ian Dixon

                          You are probably right but I would still like to know if anyone has tried Cosmos on a server dedicating 100% of it's resources to FEA (i.e. not a virtual server).  I think the one server in the benchmark test was a virtual server.  Shouldn't the server manage memory and storage better.

                           

                          Cost for a 1-2 year old used server is surprisingly low.  A 4x 2.9GHz 4-core server with 64GB ram and multiple SAS drives can be had for less than $2000.  A workstation with a fast CPU, fast memory and SSD drives would cost much more.

                           

                          Isn't cloud computing the inevitable future of FEA?  I seem to remember a survey from SolidWorks a couple years ago that suggested this idea.  I would gladly pay a service fee to do my analysis online and not bother with the hardware and software updates associated with Cosmos.  Of course I would expect a very fast and stable analysis.

                           

                          - Ian

                            • Re: Has anyone installed Simulation on a Server?
                              Jared Conway

                              ian, you might want to go through the solidworks KB and look at the articles about CPU/RAM/HDD and solidworks simulation. no doubt that computer would be pretty quick for solving, but there are going to be decreasing benefits. but hardware to hardware, server vs workstation isn't going to be any different.

                               

                              amazon web services is another option that we've investigated here at hawk ridge. you pay for the power you by the hour. but you'll be on an unsupported operating system (server based) and also bending the rules regarding licensing. as we talked about here though, most often, workstation power is sufficient. but you pay by the hour basically for your compute time. at present, there are no other cloud solutions but there are lots of other enhancement requests in the system for that and more use of hardware.