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CrunchYard: Pay-per-use Simulation on a Large Cluster Computer

Crunchyard.com is a web based service that provides simulation resources for engineering software, such as FEKO. (February 2010)

EM Software & Systems - S.A. (Pty) Ltd is proud to announce that FEKO is now available to users via CrunchYard, an online simulation service.  CrunchYard is operated by CrunchSpace S.A..  The concept for CrunchYard came about a couple of years ago when it was realised that despite the advances in desktop computers, engineers and scientists still could not simulate what they needed to.  They lacked the raw computer power and expensive software licences that are required by most scientific software solutions, as these resources are prohibitively expensive and complex to manage on a large scale.

CrunchYard offers an engineering software simulation service on a pay per use basis. The service allows scientists and engineers to interactively make use of simulation software via the internet.  The benefits of this approach include:

  • Reduced cost.
  • No infrastructure maintenance is required.
  • No hidden costs such as IT support, licensing and computing power.
  • Improved performance is shown because simulations are run on a large computing platform.

During the pilot phase of CrunchYard's development, computational services are only offered to existing users of FEKO.  Users are able to create their simulation models with their own FEKO licences, package the simulation with QUEUEFEKO and then upload the package via the CrunchYard website for simulation.

Although CrunchYard is already a powerful simulation platform (50 dual-core CPUs, with roughly 100 GByte RAM), the vision for the system is to grow to a point where the simulation computer will be listed in the TOP500 Super Computers list. In the short term it is planned to double the cluster's capacity in the next 6 months, i.e. add 100 cores and 100 GByte of RAM.

The cost of usage is US$ 3 per hour per core used, which includes FEKO licence fees. As an incentive to use the service, a 50% discount is offered during the first month after having registered for the service. Each new EMSS customer that signs up to use CrunchYard will also receive US$ 50 credit. (At the discounted incentive rate this amounts to free run-time of 33.3 core-hours.)  Customers who require more credit can buy this directly from CrunchYard.

FEKO users who are interested in testing or using the service should contact their local FEKO representatives.