Executive Insights

Adjusting Fast to the New Normal

By Sam Mahalingam | Chief Technology Officer | November 24, 2020

When its history is written, the struggle against COVID-19 will surely be remembered as an epic collaborative effort. Around half the world’s population is currently in some form of lockdown. For most people, it means adjusting to a completely different way of life. And, for many of us, that includes working from home – or at least trying to.
The extent of the change is remarkable. Around 90 percent of Altair HyperWorks™ customers have already spoken to us about options for remote working. They certainly face some serious challenges. Trying to provide long-distance support to design teams handling complex projects can quickly overwhelm onsite VPN resources. Utilizing onsite servers for remote workers also risks compromising firewalls.

Fortunately, Altair is ideally placed to ensure that disruption can be kept to a minimum. Specifically, the Altair HyperWorks Unlimited™ Virtual Appliance offers fully managed, turnkey solutions that provide users with straightforward, secure remote access to the complete suite of Altair software. Fully supported by the necessary HPC infrastructure, remote workers need nothing more than a standard laptop or PC. What’s more, these appliances can be deployed in hours with existing customers free to move their licenses from onsite servers to our hosted solutions.
These easily deployed appliances come loaded with Altair’s industry leading HPC workload management and scheduling solutions, so HyperWorks Unlimited customers can take advantage of the same HPC optimization technology used by the world’s most advanced supercomputing systems without all the complexity. Altair PBS® Professional® ensures seamless job scheduling and workload management, while Altair Access provides a simple, powerful, and consistent interface for remote visualization and submitting and monitoring HPC jobs on remote clusters, clouds, and other resources.

Above all else, HyperWorks Unlimited was designed to make it is as quick and easy as possible to mobilize the HPC resources needed to make the best possible use of Altair simulation and optimization solutions, along with third party solvers. That means no upfront investment, no complex administration processes, no inflexible licensing models. The HyperWorks Unlimited solution may pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s been a key component of Altair’s long-term strategy to make HPC easily accessible to our customers from wherever they are, while proving to be a perfect fit amid today’s uniquely challenging global work environment.

HyperWorks Unlimited is available in both physical and virtual formats. The physical is typically suited to teams looking to avoid major capital expenditure or in-house IT administration, provides the benefits of a dedicated hosted Altair server. Any authorized user can access any HyperWorks software, as required, via a secure portal.
Our virtual appliances are public and cloud-based and combine HPC infrastructure, workload management tools, simulation/visualization software, and a unique business model with unlimited software licenses. They offer organizations all the scalability, flexibility, and computing resources needed to complement their own VPN infrastructures. Users access HyperWorks securely via a web portal and benefit from features including remote visualization and the ability to work collaboratively on a single model. It is worth noting that this remote visualization provides another layer of security to the design IP data as only pixels are transferred but not the actual data. This is critical to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of all design IP.

Pre- and post-processing can be performed in the cloud, eliminating the need for large data transfers. The licensing model is also extremely flexible, providing efficient management of workload peaks and the freedom to choose between a short term, stop-gap solution, or the economic advantages of a longer-term commitment.
Clearly, everyone’s immediate priority is to save lives. However, when we emerge from the COVID-19 nightmare, the world will be a different place. Certainly, many of us will have a new perspective on our work-life balance. But the questions will go far deeper than the relative merits of working from home or office. As individuals and societies, COVID-19 has exposed serious vulnerabilities. The same is true for organizations. Going forward, we can expect to see greater emphasis on embedding resilience, adaptability and responsiveness into systems and infrastructures. As a result, we can also hope to be better prepared to face the challenges that lie beyond the current one.