Successful End to the First Year of CloudSME

Introduction

Small-to-medium sized manufacturing and engineering enterprises considering product development or process optimisation simulation find it prohibitively expensive to access such products and services, often requiring a considerable commitment of time alongside a high financial barrier to entry. The use of simulation requires expertise, infrastructure procurement and ongoing maintenance costs, not to mention software licensing and consultancy fees which often involve a considerable minimal outlay.

The manufacturing and engineering enterprise

Designing a product model, simulating a process or a system using simulation software enables the pre-testing of its behaviour before significant costs are incurred in implementing it blindly without first assessing its impact. The use of simulation allows enterprises to gauge the impact of a process refinement, allowing them to visualise channel flow including inventory stockpiling, as well as machinery and personnel productivity. Tweaking a process model using simulation allows for managers to better understand how to make the most of available resources without resorting to experimenting with organisational changes, only to have to painstakingly gather metrics, analyse those metrics and repeat the process – a somewhat crude and painstaking process which introduces additional overheads to existing workloads.

The simulation providers

Simulation providers make their software available to enterprises to deploy and license on their own infrastructure, often providing expert knowledge in configuring their software or setting up simulation models at a considerable cost. Some simulation providers often do not undertake model building contracts which are below a considerable amount of money for smaller enterprises.

The infrastructure providers

Cloud IaaS providers offer the perfect environment for the deployment of simulation software, allowing for software to be run on-demand and using the optimal amount of compute resources only for the duration of the simulation run.

The solution – CloudSME

CloudSME brings simulation software and cloud infrastructure providers together with manufacturing / engineering enterprises, offering new business models to suppliers and new, on-demand as-a-service consumption of simulation software to consumers. This makes possible the development of novel value-added service offerings, such as the selection of the best IaaS supplier for specific workloads, automatic brokerage and automatic infrastructure topology configuration based on the demands of the simulation software and finally lower urgency lower cost workload processing during IaaS downtime.

The CloudSME project involves the development and deployment of a Cloud Simulation Platform, which particularly enables small and medium-sized manufacturing and engineering companies (SMEs) to use state of the art simulation technology as a Service (SaaS, one-stop-shop, pay-per-use) in the cloud. Thus, manufacturing and engineering enterprises do not have to make high investments in software licenses, required hardware or maintenance and can solely use the benefits of simulation to enhance their productivity.

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Project update

We are happy to announce a successful end to the first year for The CloudSME, an EU FP7 Large-scale Integrating Project (IP) funded by the European Commission.

The CloudSME consortium has been delighted with the positive feedback recevied in month twelve of the project from the EC review. The reviewers placed emphasis on the strong technical work that was put into the implementation of the platform and the use-cases thus far.

The major achievement for year one was setting up the cloud simulation test bed and the first version of the prototype simulation platform, integrating the academic and commercial clouds provided by the project partners via the CloudBroker access platform.

CloudSigma are pleased to have been part of the development of the CloudBroker and one-stop-shop platform, giving us an opportunity to develop and put into practical use the popular VM contextualisation technology CloudInit. This has enabled simple and consistent out-of-the-box VM contextualisation of CloudSME worker VMs from standard CloudSigma marketplace images, not only the CloudSigma cloud, but across many popular private and public clouds following the same approach.

Looking to the future, the CloudSME consortium will not only focus on further developing the technical implementation to deliver a one-stop-shop for SME simulation needs, but also in proposing and establishing profitable and competitive business models. Input and active contribution from all consortium members will be gathered in order to achieve CloudSME’s goals.

Preliminary discussions with consortium members during the first year meetup and review in Edinburgh regarding the basis of the CloudSME business model were very promising, with a solid foundation established for collaboration on this most important aspect to transition the project into a working commercial entity with a sustainable future.

At CloudSigma we are all looking forward to another productive year within the CloudSME consortium!

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About Alexander Georgiev

Alex is a Project Manager and Technical Writer at CloudSigma. He is a BSc Computer Science graduate from Brunel University, West London, graduating with 1st class Honours. His university dissertation was a modular middleware solution, database and device independent bidirectional SMS alerting system primarily for use in, but not limited to the NHS (GP practices), very much akin to the SMS games or SMS car parking services that have since become mainstream. Alex has prolonged exposure to a broad range of disciplines in computing including networking, database design and deployment, web and Java development, cloud computing architecture, to name but a few. Since joining CloudSigma where he works as a Director of Research and Project Manager of EU Funding, where he has attained thorough expertise in the operation and development of data centre and cloud stack infrastructure.

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