Founded in 1985 in Troy, Michigan, Altair is all about integrating high-performance computing with engineering, product development and artificial intelligence. With its flagship Altair HyperWorks solution, Altair helped establish graphics-based simulation as the first, rather than last, process in innovative product design. Its customers span a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, energy, retail, process manufacturing, and consumer goods. Altair explored cloud-based infrastructure for a few reasons.
For optimal use of its applications, Altair realized its customers would benefit from access to highly scalable compute and storage capacity—something cloud computing could provide.
Second, as the company began to develop its design apps for use with high-speed graphics processors, Altair needed a cloud partner expert in handling that technology.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of remote software engineers using VMware-based development/test environments. The IT organization wanted to reduce its dependence on aging data centers by adopting an elastic VMware solution in the cloud.
Why Altair Chose Oracle
Altair had partnered with Oracle previously, using the company’s database as an integral element in its engineering toolset. That experience set expectations for how Oracle would work as a cloud partner.
Specifically, it turned to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for its best-in-class bare metal (not virtualized) high-performance cloud compute cycles, high-speed cloud networking, and I/O-optimized cloud storage. Altair also saw Oracle’s experience with GPU (graphics processing unit) engineering and application development as a distinct advantage.
In addition, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution provided a native VMware environment that enabled IT staff to continue using the same tools for management tasks, such as backup and recovery.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers inherent advantages. Its security features are “fantastic,” says Altair CTO Sam Mahalingam. “OCI’s security-first architectural approach helped Altair reduce our apprehension about security in the cloud. In the design, OCI separates the management from the end user layer, which means there is no intermixing of privileges in the same instance. We now have freed up our organization to focus on and expedite innovation.”
Altair also noted that the time saved in implementation was impressive. For instance, once a purchase decision is made, it often takes 8 to 12 weeks to get a new on-premises HPC environment built, installed, and available to users, but it takes less than an hour on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure with the Altair Unlimited virtual appliance. For VMware, Oracle’s solution allowed Altair to reduce training costs and get started in days instead of weeks.
Oracle Cloud’s bare metal compute and low-latency RDMA networking services also deliver up to 20% better price-performance for Altair’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Structural Mechanics solvers. Running on Oracle Cloud, HyperWorks can, for example, provide complex vehicle simulation results in less than 12 hours.
Altair made its most advanced engineering suite, HyperWorks CFD Unlimited, available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. By using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure with cutting-edge bare metal GPU services, Altair is able to not only cut costs, but also go to market with advanced products faster than previously, says CTO Mahalingam. And customers will gain the same advantage, he says.
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