Executive Insights

The Timeless Power and Value of Altair Units

By Ravi Kunju | Chief Product and Strategy Officer | November 15, 2022

When we introduced our signature Altair Units licensing system around the turn of the century, it transformed the way teams and businesses around the world operated. No licensing system was as unique and valuable as Units were – and we knew this – which was why we patented the system. Altair Units gave customers at the time an unparalleled combination of freedom, flexibility, and value – to this day, we pride ourselves on delivering these three virtues to our customers no matter where they are or what they’re doing. More than two decades later, Altair Units remain the gold standard for technology licensing systems, and I believe Altair Units are the most valuable currency in modern computational science. 


Altair Units: An Overview

But what are Altair Units? How does the system work? Thankfully, its basic components are simple. In essence, the Units system contains three steps:

  1. Users can access and draw from a pool of sharable Altair Units from anywhere. These units give them access to more than 150 Altair and partner products. With Units, users can run software, cloud workloads, and more from any location and within any deployment method. 
  2. While running interactive software, users and organizations can run multiple products at once, only applying Units to the most expensive piece of technology in use on that host, and only for as long as they’re using it. Additionally, users can run as many tabs of a software as they need at no extra cost; this means users can run 10 sessions of, say, Altair HyperMesh for the price of one.
  3. After users are done running their technology, the Units they were using go back into the shared pool, ready once again for any user to leverage.

We crafted the Altair Units system to maximize use and value, and shaped it to conform to the ways engineers, data scientists, IT professionals, designers, and other roles work. With our strong roots in product design and consulting, we realized early that, to solve a problem, you often need to use multiple tools at different times, so having access to all of them under one roof was important. And within the Altair Units licensing system, we also offer specialized technology bundles that align to companies’ core roles, further driving cost savings and providing those user profiles with the right tools.


Why Altair Units?

The system is simple, but does that make it good? I believe it makes it great. Altair Units offer so many benefits that I wouldn’t want to list them all so as not to keep readers here all day; but I will list the main benefits below. 


Unified System Savings via Pooled Usage

It can be easily taken for granted, but the fact that Altair Units operate as a unified, cohesive system for all of Altair’s technology offerings is extraordinary. This is the only software licensing model that offers the widest set of computational physics and advanced data analytics tools – and easy access to cloud high-performance computing (HPC) – under one system and unit currency. This means organizations can find every product that is essential for their task and how much it will cost them in Units. With Altair Units, there’s no Frankenstein’s monster of partnership agreements, franchising, or linked accounts to deal with. Everything you need – including products from our Altair Partner Alliance organizations – is available under one roof without headache or hassle. 


Savings via Concurrency, or "Leveling”

As I mentioned earlier, when using multiple products at once, users only apply as many Units as the most expensive piece of technology costs on a host machine. This is called “leveling.” For example, let’s say a user is using three products at once; Product A costs 10 Units, Product B costs 20 Units, and Product C costs 30 Units. Rather than paying 60 Units, as what would occur if the costs were “stacked,” the user only pays 30 Units since the unit draw (costs) is leveled. This is a massive source of savings and may be the Units system’s greatest feature. Not only does this save money compared to buying products separately, it also saves money compared to other systems that charge based on named-users or peak usage. We have seen that Altair Units can reduce costs by nearly 70% versus competing licensing models, as demonstrated in the graph below. 

How Altair Units can slash costs throughout a workflow


Additionally, as mentioned earlier, users are not charged extra Units for running concurrent tabs of the same software. In short, Altair Units provide power and flexibility unseen in other licensing models.


Access and Deployment Flexibility

Since we’ve spoken about the value of the Units licensing model, I should mention the freedom and flexibility it brings. Indeed, with Altair Units, users can access the technology they need from anywhere and can adapt their workflow to a range of deployment options as well. This means teams from around the world can collaborate in shared workflows and users can access files, scripts, models, and more from multiple locations and machines. We also offer appliances, such as the Altair Unlimited data analytics and CAE appliances, that are both physical and virtual. Organizations can take advantage of the plug-and-play approach with tailored appliances for heavy utilization. These appliances are pre-loaded with the application software, hardware infrastructure, and complete HPC stack for efficient resource utilization.


Cloud Benefits

The last benefit I’ll mention here is Altair Units’ cloud power and flexibility. All businesses know that cloud computing is becoming an indispensable tool. With the current strain on global supply chains, accessing powerful machines quickly is challenging and makes cloud access increasingly attractive. With Altair Units, users not only get access to Altair’s software titles, they also get access to cloud compute infrastructure where they can use the same Altair Units to run jobs, models, and workloads using the best machines available. Having a predetermined, fixed amount of Units also means that users don’t have to worry about writing a blank check for the potential runaway costs that can occur as a result of extended cloud usage. These cloud tools give users scalable, flexible cloud options without having to leave the Altair Units system. 


Moving Forward

I could sing the praises of Altair Units until my lungs give out. There are still so many more features that make this licensing top of its class. But the fact is that our customers love the Altair Units and we constantly evaluate, refine, expand, and improve the system so we continue to deliver the game-changing experience we first pioneered. In today’s world, that means expanding Units to cater more and more to customers and users in the data analytics sector. 

Like cloud computing, data is ubiquitous and becoming an integral part of almost every business. By investing in and expanding our data analytics portfolio and bringing these solutions under the Altair Units umbrella, we are offering data analytics users capabilities under a licensing system they’ve never seen before. Historically, the data analytics space has revolved around named-user pricing that drives up costs and limits access. With Altair Units, we democratize data analytics solutions while simultaneously making it more affordable than ever to access these tools. An opportunity of this magnitude reminds me of the splash we made when we first introduced Units. We have made some fantastic data analytics acquisitions in the last few years – and all these acquired products are also available under Altair Units, further increasing value for our customers.  

Altair Units is the industry’s premier software licensing system – and it’s only set to become more powerful and dynamic. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of Altair Units holds for both Altair and our invaluable customers around the world. Click here to learn more about Altair Units.