How To Use HPCBOX for CFD Engineering

How To Use HPCBOX for CFD Engineering

As a small consulting firm, or a solopreneur, there are huge benefits to using the HPCBOX: HPC Cloud Platform for OpenFOAM on Microsoft Azure.

  •     The software is already compiled, optimized, and ready for you to use

  •     You can work from anywhere using a remote desktop

  •     You only pay for the compute resources you need

  •     You receive personalized expert HPC support from Drizti Inc.  

Getting up to speed and running your first simulation on HPCBOX is much faster than going it alone, even if you have experience in the industry. With a monthly subscription to the service you also get all the tech support you need, so that you can spend your time solving engineering problems, and not battling with IT. 

CFD Software On Demand

Whether you work for a small consulting firm or you are an entrepreneur, using an on-demand service means you can avoid huge upfront investment costs in hardware, making easier than ever to operate as a start-up or a freelance engineer. 

CFD On Demand Pricing Options

The first question you’ll likely have is how the pricing works. Well, there are two options, depending on how familiar you are with Microsoft’s Azure platform. 

Purchase HPCBOX on Microsoft Azure

If you are familiar with the Microsoft Cloud, and are looking for an easier way to setup your CFD workflows, then you can make a pay-as-you-go to use HPCBOX. It’s an easy download, comes with short, quick start guides, and allows you to use a GUI to run CFD in either OpenFOAM or SU2 (both open-source CFD codes). 

Purchase a Subscription to HPCBOX through Drizti Inc.

By paying for a monthly subscription, you get access to HPCBOX on an unlimited number of clusters for an unlimited time, plus you’ll have technical support from Drizti Inc. to help you get up and running. In addition, you could qualify for better pricing of Microsoft Azure resources (i.e. a lower hourly /node rate). 

How To Run CFD Simulations on HPCBOX

The real power of CFD is in the ability to visualize a flow field and to run a number of design variants before deciding on the parts to physically test and manufacture. If access to test facilities is cost prohibitive, then CFD in the hands of a trained expert is the next best thing.   

If you are optimizing a wing geometry / position, simulating an entire vehicle over a ride height map, or strategically employing a design of experiments (DOE), running multiple simulations at once is a huge advantage. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up multiple simulations for your engineering problem. 

Step One: Create Workflow on HPCBOX

HPCBOX employs a master node, compute nodes, and a graphics node in each cluster. When you connect to the cluster, you have a rich desktop experience and hardware accelerated 3D graphics using NVIDIA GPUs, so it feels as if you are working directly on the master node. This can also be a life-saver if you don’t have the experience or patience to learn Linux commands. 

Remote desktop view of the master node.

Remote desktop view of the master node.

HPCBOX CFD workflow.

HPCBOX CFD workflow.

Setting up the workflow in HPCBOX is as easy as dragging the process into line, filling in the options and commands, and starting the process running. The example process below runs blockMesh, snappyHexMesh, simpleFoam, and then starts a GPU worker node to visualize the results in ParaView. 

You’ll see options on the left-hand side to add in cluster controls, such as turning nodes on and off or adding and removing nodes, so that you don’t pay for a second more than you need. You can also run your own custom scripts as you get into more complicated engineering processes. 

Step Two: Parallelize the Simulations for Each Design Point

To set up multiple cases to run in parallel (i.e. on different nodes at the same time), you simply click this “multiple instances” option. If you set up run_1, run_2, … , run_10, then you would fill in the “start”, “end”, and “increment” as below. In this case, the command (i.e. snappyHexMesh) will run in all 10 case directories at the same time. 

Parallelized snappyHexMesh command for 10 CFD trials using HPCBOX.

Parallelized snappyHexMesh command for 10 CFD trials using HPCBOX.

Step Three: Run Simulations on the Microsoft Cloud

Monitor the workflow in HPCBOX window.

Monitor the workflow in HPCBOX window.

Once the workflow is submitted, you can visually monitor the progress under that tabs in HPCBOX. In this example, the GPU workers are automatically started so that the model results can be interrogated manually. 

The benefit here is that you don’t have to purchase or learn an additional queuing software when you start to run CFD using HPCBOX. It’s an all-in-one solution, and the graphical interface means you can easily monitor run progress by clicking on that tab.  

Step Four: Postprocess and Analyze the CFD Results using ParaView in HPCBOX

The amazing thing about this setup with the GPU workers and optimized remote desktop is that there is no lag when you are using ParaView. You can check your mesh, more closely interrogate the aerodynamic results, and generate streamlines seamlessly. 

An example case using the motorbike tutorial was run and visualized on the Microsoft Azure cloud, using the HPCBOX workflow. The process feels as if you are working in the same building as the head node and compute workers, even though the cluster was located in Dublin, Ireland and accessed remotely from Canada. 

Post-processing the CFD results from OpenFOAM using ParaView on HPCBOX and graphical cluster nodes.

Post-processing the CFD results from OpenFOAM using ParaView on HPCBOX and graphical cluster nodes.

Step Five: Save the Entire Workflow and Share, Reuse, or Automate

To save setup time on your next project, you can save the entire workflow on HPCBOX. Running further design iterations is as simple as replicating the process above. 

This also makes it possible to hand off a workflow to a colleague, dramatically shortening the time required to on-board a new engineer or train them in your specific CFD process. Instead, CFD engineers can get to work on optimizing the mesh, more closely inspecting results, and providing value and recommendations for the design, rather than learning new code, commands, or queuing software.  

Save Time and Submit Your CFD Jobs to the Cloud Today

Traditionally speaking, if you were to source hardware (or even a cloud service), get yourself up to speed on the software and the operating system, and spend time debugging the process, you are looking at months’ worth of full-time work, not to mention the cost of both the hardware and software. 

Instead of devoting your time to all this setup, spend your time acquiring customers, solving their problems, and using CFD to provide engineering solutions. With HPCBOX, you can literally be up and running, with the help of their efficient team, in one day. 

No need to learn command line prompts, purchase a compute cluster, or get frustrated with all the debugging of a new system. Instead, install the HPCBOX client program on your laptop, sign up for a subscription, and start simulating today. 

Apart from OpenFOAM and SU2, HPCBOX can also be used to run various other simulation software, like ANSYS products, StarCCM+, and even custom in-house code.

Learn More About How You Can Use HPCBOX for CFD

For more information on HPCBOX pricing, availability, and customization options, contact Drizti at boxhelp@drizti.com or register at https://portal.hpcbox.com

You can also learn more about Drizti at www.drizti.com.

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