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Anyone used cloud computing for HB / LC estimations?

We are thinking if we can get any gain in speed of estimations  by using dedicated computing services like those of Google,  Amazon or Windows Azure.
I asked Sawtooth technical support about this but they recommended asking on forum to check if anyone had any experience installing and using Sawtooth Software packages on speedy virtual machines.

Anyone has any related experience?

Thanks in advance
asked Feb 4, 2016 by furoley Bronze (885 points)
I would love to hear your feedback if/when you have the chance to test this.  I have briefly looked into cloud computing for other software rather than for CBC/HB runs so I know where you are coming from, and I have also had hundreds of hours of CBC runs to deal with on occasion that would be nice to speed up.  I know that AWS (and probably all of them) offer computing speeds that should be over 10x faster than basic desktop/laptop computer processors we are using.

I would love it if you would report back any findings.

1 Answer

0 votes
We did an investigation in this area 7-8 years ago in this area, and found that most cloud services were based on servers utilizing average speed processors.  Most of the cloud systems benefit from high amounts of memory and storage, rather than high end processors.

Because of that, performance on a cloud server was not found to be faster than a similarly equipped desktop.

That said, you may be able to find a service which has hardware configurations that provide better performance, but again I would not expect them to provide huge performance improvements.
answered Feb 4, 2016 by Walter Williams Gold Sawtooth Software, Inc. (22,155 points)
Thank you for your answer. Google claim their have superior CPUs to offer. We can run comparative tests to see if it helpful.  But overall do you see any technical problems installing Suite package (everything) on VM images with Windows Server 2008 R2 or 2012 R2? Would license work on VM? If we have a subscription for Premium Suite do we need to install all packages on the same virtual machine or we can separate and install ones on VM and others on local machine?
There are no technical problems with installing on a VM or cloud server; the only problem would be if the intent is to allow multiple users to use the system under the guise of a single user license.  The number of users utilizing the setup should be according to the limitations of your suite subscription.
We are doing this because I am currently running two HB 85-hour estimations running in parallel. Last week I refused to continue to run 200-hour simulation on our machine just because team cannot wait 200 hours. Several days ago, ASM SMRT halted the machine in a search of big optimal mix, etc.  We have lot of cases when computing powers had severe limitations on our work. This is not us, but our clients who pushes us beyond former limits. That is why we are currently exploring if these limits has changed.

As to multiple users issue, the usage of VM as a computational vehicle doesn't create a bigger room for such violations than it currently has with regular non-virtual machines. If someone has such illegal intent they don't need VM to do that - they would be perfectly fine and probably safer with just installing the software on a laptop and sharing it, right?

I don't think VM brings a new threat. But anyway you decide. Your software - your policies
There is no specific license parameters for VM's versus physical machines.  What I'm saying is there are no problems doing what you're proposing as long as you honor the number of licensed users, which we assume you're doing on your local machines as well.

The license is per-user, meaning that one user can install the software on multiple machines (including VM's and cloud servers).  However, 5 people should not be utilizing a single-user license with the logic that the software is only on one machine.  That's all I was trying to say.
Thanks for explanations! That means we don't have to buy extralicesnse to try it on cloud computing