Getting Started with CFDDFC on AWS
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides pay-as-you-go cloud computing with a broad set of products including compute, data storage, databases, etc. CFD primarily uses secure computing capacity provided by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with data storage from Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS). AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) helps manage access to services and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) can provide longer-term data storage at a lower cost.
Computing with EC2
Amazon EC2 provides computing resources in the form of virtual servers — known as instances — which can be used to run CFD. A selection of instance types are available with various combinations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking capacity. The Compute-Optimised (C-series) instance types are best suited to CFD due to their high performance processors. C-series instances include the following CPUs: C4 with Intel Haswell; C5 and “new” C5 with Intel Skylake-SP and Cascade Lake; C5n, like C5 but with higher network performance; C5a, with AMD EPYC 7002 series; and C6g, with Arm-based Graviton 2.
For further Information, see:
CFD Direct From the Cloud™
CFD Direct From the Cloud™ (CFDDFC®) provides a fully configured Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to boot instances on EC2 running Ubuntu GNU/Linux. The CFDDFC AMIs include the latest version of OpenFOAM, with Scotch and OpenMPI for parallel processing. Users can choose between CFDDFC for instances with x86 processors (Intel and AMD) and CFDDFC (Arm) for Arm-based instances:
Steps to run OpenFOAM on AWS
Step 1: Register an AWS Account
and subscribe to CFDDFC — it’s free and only takes a few minutes
Step 2: Launch an Instance of CFDDFC
using the AWS console and connect to the instance
Step 3: Use the Command Line Interface (CLI)
to manage instances, transfer case data and run CFD
Further Information on CFDDFC on AWS
CFD Direct Limited has become one of the first approved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partners to achieve High Performance Computing (HPC) Competency status. This designation recognises that CFD Direct has demonstrated deep experience helping customers optimise their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) workloads on AWS. Using CFD Direct From the Cloud™ (CFDDFC®), engineers and scientists can launch instances, pre-configured with OpenFOAM, in minutes — with up to 48 processors and clusters of 100s of processors.
CFD Direct has launched CFDDFC® (Arm), a marketplace product on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with OpenFOAM. CFDDFC (Arm) is a variant of CFD Direct From the Cloud™ for Amazon EC2 instances running Arm-based Graviton2 processors, in particular the C6g instances for compute-intensive workloads. CFDDFC (Arm) operates in server-mode without graphical applications and includes OpenFOAM 7 and OpenMPI 4.0.3 running on Ubuntu Server for Arm 20.04 LTS. For batch CFD jobs with guaranteed access on-demand, users can save 35% on their EC2 costs with C6g instances.
In November 2018, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announed Elastic Fabric Adapter, a network interface for HPC applications running on EC2. We previewed the EFA technology, running benchmark CFD simulations with OpenFOAM, presented previously: (1) strong scaling – 97 m total cells, external aerodynamics around a car; (2) weak scaling – 100 k cells per core, flow over a weir. At 1008 cores, EFA delivered linear scaling in the strong scaling test and ~70% scaling in the weak scaling test. With linear strong scaling, EFA enables faster solutions for the same cost simply by running on more cores. The combination of open source software, C5n instances and EFA provides impressive HPC, at a price accessible to all.
CFD Direct From the Cloud™ (CFDDFC) is a Marketplace Product for AWS EC2, that provides a complete platform with OpenFOAM and supporting software running on Ubuntu Linux. It enables simple, fast creation of a cluster of instances to run CFD with OpenFOAM. We tested Amazon EC2 C5n instances, launched in November 2018, on 2 cases of steady-state, external aerodynamics around a car and transient simulation of water flowing over a weir. With meshes of 50-100 million cells, results showed 70%-90% scaling at 504 cores. The cost of the simulations was in the order of $100, compared to $100,000+ to purchase on-premises hardware and licences of proprietary software.
CFD Direct From the Cloud (CFDDFC) is our established platform for running OpenFOAM, ParaView and supporting software using cloud computing. CFDDFC is now available on AWS C5 and M5 instances of Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2). The CFDDFC product page on AWS MarketPlace now lists CFDDFC versions 5.2 and 4.2, corresponding to versions 5 and 4 of OpenFOAM, respectively. Users who launch CFDDFC with the command line interface should update their installation of CFDDFC immediately.
Cloud computing replaces large upfront expenses with low, variable payments that only apply to what you use. CFD simulations cover a range of sizes and complexity. Activity is generally interrupted by quiet periods when simulations are halted, e.g. when a simulation ends non-working hours, during analysis of results or preparation of a new simulation, etc. The fluctuating demand makes CFD well suited to a pay-per-use model. Users need to understand the costs involved to get the best value from cloud and be confident that they fall within budget. This article explains the costs, with an example of an external aerodynamics calculation with OpenFOAM using CFD Direct From the Cloud™ (CFDDFC) on Amazon Web Services (AWS).