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ANSYS expands licensing options for running at scale [UPDATED]

Last week ANSYS announced ANSYS HPC, a new product that bundles together its existing multiphysics software with HPC people in mind.

ANSYS, Inc….announced plans to deliver ANSYS HPC, a solution set that will enable customers to obtain enhanced insight and productivity through expanded use of high-performance computing (HPC) with engineering simulation. In contrast to single-point solutions that require separate licenses for each solver, the new ANSYS HPC products will provide a cross-physics parallel computing capability that supports structural, fluids, thermal and electromagnetics simulation in a single solution. Customers who need to combine multiphysics with HPC to address complex product development challenges stand to benefit from the outstanding value that the consolidated ANSYS HPC package will provide.

This announcement is so much about new technology, but about a new way of positioning their products. As noted above ANSYS will now offer a single SKU that bundles the ability to perform simulations in CFD (Fluent OR CFX), Mechanical, Electromagnetic (ANSOFT HFSS, etc.), even explicit dynamics (ANSYS AutoDYN) – all with one license product. This is good for science and engineering users.

Something that’s good for data center operators and funding programs is the fact that with this product ANSYS is breaking the 1:1 correspondence between licenses and cores. I spoke with Barbara Hutchings, director of Strategic Partnerships at ANSYS, about these changes

We will continue to offer per-core (per-process) parallel licensing, as in the past. We are also introducing a new highly scaled parallel option that departs from the per-core model. In the new approach, customers will be able to apply large-scale parallel to accomplish high-fidelity (big!) simulations without a 1:1 correspondence of licenses to hardware core count. Essentially, as multiples of these new licenses are consumed by a simulation job, the amount of parallel processing enabled increases (very) quickly, out to very large scale.

I’ve just emailed a follow up to Barbara to see if I can get pricing; if I can, I’ll post it here.

[UPDATE: I wasn't able to get pricing -- this is actually very common, but I still think its dumb -- but I did get a little more info on the licenses. A reader posted a comment asking whether this license has the restriction that ANSYS has had in the past that the nodes used to run the program all have to be within 25 miles of each other. In another email exchange with the company, I got the following response

The 25 mile limitation is a typical s/w LAN license term. With our new solution, we are offering an "Enterprise" option, under which no such restriction applies.

Good to know.]

Comments

  1. While I do not speak from a scientific background, in my support of various high performance computing projects, it is abundantly clear that Ansys software does indeed rank among the most versatile.

    But, not so fast…. If you plan to leverage new HPC multiphysics licenses across a network that spans more than 25 miles….think again. Ansys will push you to purchase licenses to support each user site…even when engineers support the same project.

    It is perfectly reasonable for software companies to pursue sales, profits, and revenues, but when licensing policies hinder effective scientific collaboration (across a WAN), I would say they’re not acting in the best interests of their customers.

    Not very flexible and not cool…

  2. It’s disappointing that software vendors have redefined HPC computing (to their advantage). Fifteen years ago, you could get a (very expensive) dual processor desktop and fully utilize all of the processing power it provided. Now (at least, with Ansys), you are only allowed to use 1 (CFX / Fluent) or 2 (Mechanical, etc.) cores of the 8 cores available in a $1000 “Wal-Mart” “home” PC. They tell you it is a “high-performance” computer and make you buy 6 (or 7) HPC licenses

    There’s a significant difference between a $1000 “Wal-Mart” multi-core (e.g. Intel Core i7) desktop PC and a compute cluster with multiple 2-socket / 4-socket motherboards connected via Infini-Band, etc. But Ansys tells you they are both high-performance computers, requiring HPC licenses.

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  1. [...] (big!) simulations without a 1:1 correspondence of licenses to hardware core count.” (”ANSYS expands licensing options for running at scale,” November 5, [...]

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