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ANSYS and Oracle: ANSYS Fluent on Bare Metal IaaS

Taylor Newill
HPC Director

If you’ve ever seen a rocket launch, flown on an airplane, driven a car, used a computer, touched a mobile device, crossed a bridge, or put on wearable technology, you’ve likely used a product in whose creation ANSYS software played a critical role. ANSYS is a global leader in engineering simulation. Oracle is pleased to announce its partnership with ANSYS. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure bare metal compute instances enable you to run ANSYS in the cloud with the same performance as you would see in your on-premises data center.

Why Bare Metal Is Better for HPC

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure continues to invest in HPC. Nothing beats the performance of bare metal. The virtualized, multi-tenant platforms common to most public clouds are subject to performance overhead. Traditional cloud offerings require a hypervisor to enable management capabilities that are required to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. This additional overhead has been demonstrated by hardware manufacturers to significantly affect performance [i].

Bare metal servers, without a hypervisor, deliver uncompromising and consistent performance for high performance computing (HPC). Instances with the latest generation NVMe SSDs, providing millions of IOPS and very low latency, combined with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's managed POSIX file system, ensure that Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports the most demanding HPC workloads.

Our bare metal compute instances are powered by the latest Intel Xeon Processors and secured by the most advanced network and data center architecture, yet they are available in minutes when you need them—in the same data centers, on the same networks, and accessible through the same portals and APIs as other IaaS resources.

With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s GPU instances, you also have a high performance graphical interface to pre- and post-process ANSYS simulations.

ANSYS Performance on Bare Metal OCI Instances

The performance of ANSYS Fluent software on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure bare metal instances meets and in some cases exceeds the raw performance of other on-premises HPC clusters, demonstrating that HPC can run well in the cloud. Additionally, consistent results demonstrate the predictable performance and reliability of bare metal instances. The following chart shows the raw performance data of the ANSYS Fluent f1_racecar_140m benchmark on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's Skylake and Haswell compute instances. The model is 140 million cell CFD model. Visit the ANSYS benchmark database to see how Oracle Cloud Infrastructure compares favorably to on-premises clusters.

Figure 1: ANSYS Fluent Rating on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Instances

Installation and configuration of ANSYS Fluent on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is simple, and the experience is identical to the on-premises installation process. Bare metal enables easy migration of HPC applications; no additional work is required for compiling, installing specialized virtual machine drivers, or logging utilities.

Although the performance is equal to an on-premises HPC cluster, the pricing is not. You can easily spend $120,000 or more on a 128-core HPC cluster [ii], and that's just for the hardware; that number doesn’t include power, cooling, and administration. That same cluster costs just $8 per hour on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. That’s an operating expense you’re paying for only when you use it, not a large capital expense you have to try to “right-size” and keep constantly in use to experience the best ROI. Running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure means that you can budget ANSYS Fluent jobs precisely, in advance, and the elastic capacity of the cloud means that you never have to wait in a queue.

Scaling Is Consistent with On-Premises Environments

When virtualized in your data center, CPU-intensive tasks that require little system interaction, normally, experience very little impact or CPU overhead.[iii] However, virtualized environments in the cloud include monitoring, which adds significant overhead on per node.

Virtualization overhead is not synchronized across an entire cluster, which creates problems for MPI jobs, such as ANSYS Fluent, which effectively have to wait for the slowest node in a cluster to return data before advancing to the next simulation iteration. You’re only as fast as your slowest node, noisiest neighbor, or overburdened network.

With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s bare metal environment, no hypervisor or monitoring software runs on your compute instance. With limited overhead, ANSYS Fluent scales across multiple nodes just as well as it would in your data center.

Our flat, non-oversubscribed network virtualizes network IO on the core network, instead of depending on a hypervisor and consuming resources on your compute instance. The two 25Gb network interfaces on each node guarantee low latency and high throughput between nodes. As shown in the following chart, many ANSYS Fluent models scale well across the network.



Figure 2: ANSYS Fluent Scaling on an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Instance

The following chart illustrates greater than 100% efficiency with respect to a single core from 400,000 cells per core to below 50,000 cells per core.

Figure 3: Efficiency Remains at 100% Even as Cells Per Core Drop

Serious HPC Simulations in the Cloud

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has partnered with ANSYS to provide leading HPC engineering software on high performance bare metal instances so that you can take advantage of cloud economics and scale for your HPC workloads. Our performance and scaling with ANSYS matches on-premises clusters. It’s easy to create your own HPC cluster, and the cost is predictable and consistent. No more waiting for the queue to clear up for your high-priority ANSYS Fluent job or over-provisioning hardware.

Sign up for 24 free hours of a 208-core cluster or learn more about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure's HPC offerings. And for more examples of how Oracle Cloud outperforms the competition, follow the #LetsProveIt hashtag on Twitter.

[i] http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/high-performance-computing/b/general_hpc/archive/2014/11/04/containers-docker-virtual-machines-and-hpc

[ii] Example price card: https://www.hawaii.edu/its/ci/price-card/

[iii] https://personal.denison.edu/~bressoud/barceloleggbressoudmcurcsm2.pdf

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