By John Esler and Nicholas Holian
Agility has become the watchword of 21st century business. And in some sectors—like manufacturing, high tech, and aerospace—business agility is almost synonymous with engineering and product development agility. So enterprises look for ways to make engineering more productive. But to stay competitive, they also must find ways to drive down costs.
Engineering computing needs are specialized. In most cases, engineering has its own network with specialized servers and workstations. Costs are high, with hardware and software running as high as $40,000 per seat—up to 10 times the cost of outfitting most non-engineering professionals. Businesses have looked for ways to drive down the cost of engineering computing, but the sheer volume of data and the need to protect the intellectual property it represents demand a different approach.
Engineering is a big part of what we do at HP, so we’ve been working this problem pretty hard—both in our internal engineering organizations and for our clients. We’ve used cloud computing techniques and client virtualization to create engineering clouds that can deliver engineering desktops wherever needed while maintaining the performance and data availability that engineers require. In some cases we’ve been able to drive the cost of engineering computing down to as little as $400 per seat.
In a session at HP Discover 2012 in June, we detailed the approaches we’ve taken and the successes we’ve had. (See the slide decks from the event at the end of this blog). For example, we’ve been able to attach graphics processors and video cards to virtual machines. That lets us share applications and server horsepower to deliver apps to the mobile engineer while maintaining performance. It makes a virtualized engineering desktop practical and useable.
But it’s about more than just technology. Moving to an engineering cloud embodies many of the same challenges that IT faces in implementing cloud computing for the enterprise. Our session discussed how to get started, successful proof-of-concept approaches, how to move trials into production, issues with data transformation, benchmarking and tracking, and other topics. We discussed the pitfalls we’ve found, and what works and what doesn’t.
The pace of change in engineering computing is staggering. It takes a specialized focus to keep up and to figure out how to apply the latest advances to real-life engineering organizations. That’s what we’ve been doing, and we’re eager to share the results with you.
Learn more about HP Engineering Cloud Transformation Services.
Here’s the slide deck for the Discover 2012 session “Building a Cloud for Your Engineering and Product Development.”
And here’s the Discover presentation “Engineering Cloud Transformation Lessons Learned.”
John P. Esler is the global portfolio leader for Engineering Cloud Transformation Services in the CTO’s office of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Business group for Technical Services Consulting. In this role John delivers to HP clients a comprehensive integrated worldwide portfolio of HP services to transform engineering IT organizations from stagnant, siloed, technical organizations to agile, efficient, business-results-oriented teams. His career has spanned most aspects of the IT business from system administration in a global Fortune 100 IT organization to Director of Technical Services for a multi-billion dollar systems integrator.
Nicholas Holian is a master solution architect in HP Technical Services Consulting. He is responsible for the development of HP’s Engineering Data Center Transformation services worldwide. Previously, Nicholas was HP IT’s lead architect for Product Development and Engineering IT and responsible for HP’s engineering transformation. He designed and lead the transformation covering electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, ASIC engineering and software engineering as well as the centralized HPC and VDI environments. Nicholas has extensive international experience developing and working with teams in Europe and Asia and has led many multi-million dollar projects. Nicholas also holds several US and foreign patents in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and ASIC engineering. These patents have been used in HP product development and included in some of HP’s products.