Small-to-medium sized manufacturing and engineering enterprises considering product development or process optimization simulation find it prohibitively expensive to access products and services that require a considerable commitment of time alongside a high financial barrier to entry. The use of simulation requires expertise, infrastructure procurement, and ongoing maintenance costs. In addition, it requires software licensing and consultancy fees which often involve a considerable minimal outlay.
The manufacturing and engineering enterprise
Designing a product model, simulating a process or a system using simulation software enables the pre-testing of its behavior before any significant costs in implementing it blindly without first assessing its impact. The use of simulation allows enterprises to gauge the impact of process refinement. It allows them to visualize channel flow including inventory stockpiling, as well as machinery and personnel productivity. Tweaking a process model using simulation allows for managers to better understand how to make the most of available resources. They can use their resources without resorting to experimenting with organizational changes, only to have to painstakingly gather metrics, analyze those metrics and repeat the process. This can be a somewhat crude and painstaking process that introduces additional overheads to existing workloads.
The simulation providers
Simulation providers make their software available to enterprises to deploy and license on their own infrastructure. Often, they provide expert knowledge in configuring their software or setting up simulation models at a considerable cost. Some simulation providers often do not undertake model building contracts which are below a considerable amount of money for smaller enterprises.
The infrastructure providers
Cloud IaaS providers offer the perfect environment for the deployment of simulation software. They allow for software to run on-demand and use the optimal amount of compute resources only for the duration of the simulation run.
The solution – CloudSME
CloudSME brings simulation software and cloud infrastructure providers together with manufacturing/engineering enterprises, offering new business models to suppliers and new, on-demand as-a-service consumption of simulation software to consumers. This makes possible the development of novel value-added service offerings. Such offerings can be the selection of the best IaaS supplier for specific workloads, automatic brokerage and automatic infrastructure topology configuration based on the demands of the simulation software.
The CloudSME project involves the development and deployment of a Cloud Simulation Platform. The platform enables small and medium-sized manufacturing and engineering companies (SMEs) to use state of the art simulation technology as a Service (SaaS, one-stop-shop, pay-per-use) in the cloud. Thus, such enterprises do not have to make high investments in software licenses, required hardware or maintenance. They can solely use the benefits of simulation to enhance their productivity.
CloudSME project update
We are happy to announce a successful end to the first year for The CloudSME, an EU FP7 Large-scale Integrating Project (IP) funded by the European Commission.
The CloudSME consortium has been delighted with the positive feedback recevied in month twelve of the project from the EC review. The reviewers emphasized on the strong technical work in the implementation of the platform and the use-cases thus far.
The major achievement for year one was setting up the cloud simulation testbed and the first version of the prototype simulation platform, integrating the academic and commercial clouds provided by the CloudSME project partners via the CloudBroker access platform.
CloudSigma are pleased to have been part of the development of the CloudBroker and one-stop-shop platform, giving us an opportunity to develop and put into practical use the popular VM contextualization technology CloudInit. This has enabled simple and consistent out-of-the-box VM contextualization of CloudSME worker VMs from standard CloudSigma marketplace images. They can be contextualized not only through the CloudSigma cloud but across many popular private and public clouds.
Looking to the future, the CloudSME consortium will focus on further developing the technical implementation to deliver a one-stop-shop for SME simulation needs. It will also look into proposing and establishing profitable and competitive business models. We will gather input and active contributions from all consortium members in order to achieve CloudSME’s goals.
Preliminary discussions with consortium members during the first year meetup in Edinburgh were very promising. The participants established a solid foundation for collaboration on transitioning the CloudSME project into a working commercial entity.
At CloudSigma we are all looking forward to another productive year within the CloudSME consortium!
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