Benefits of Cloud-Native Software in Mechanical Engineering

Cloud-Native Is the Only Way Forward

To get the most out of cloud computing, businesses across industries are moving toward cloud-native development practices. According to reports, from 2021 to 2027, the need for cloud-native development services will continue to grow. North America is forecasted to hold the top position in the overall market share, while Europe is predicted to be in second place. Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms.

Even in conservatively inclined Germany, where businesses are slower to implement full use of public clouds, the adoption of cloud-native solutions is rising as German enterprises seek to develop and execute scalable applications.

Businesses are seeking more agile, scalable, and flexible development solutions to meet rising customer expectations. So, whether you’re producing gearboxes, fuel tanks, hydraulics, microfluidics, or e-engines, this article is for you!  

Cloud-Native vs Cloud-Enabled Simulation Software

A cloud-native application leverages the full potential of the cloud – because it’s built from the cloud. Cloud-enabled applications, however, only enable a small subset of cloud benefits and mostly just leverage cloud computing. Cloud-enabled applications are built with on-premise infrastructure in mind. An on-premise application deployed in the cloud is called a cloud-enabled application.  

In practice, cloud-enabled applications run by pushing large datasets from on-premise software to a data storage in the cloud, which can be a slow and costly patchwork process. As opposed to cloud-enabled simulation software, cloud-native simulation workloads run 100% in the cloud. That includes pre-processing, post-processing, and data management. That way, simulations are much faster and can be completely automated with one single script or set of routines. In cloud-enabled simulation workflows, some manual handling will always be necessary, such as downloading data, or manual post-processing in a virtual desktop. Complete automation, however, allows full simulation scalability.  

Cloud-Native Simulation is Easier to Use

Cloud-native simulation software is easier to use. The benefit of cloud-native simulation is that all simulation tools, like pre-processing, simulation, post-processing, and project management, live in the same environment - your browser. In cloud-enabled simulation software, on the other hand, users need multiple tools, like an on-premise pre-processing tool, a browser for job management, and a virtual desktop for post-processing, for instance.  

Cloud-native software is managed, updated, and maintained by the software provider while cloud providers take care of the IT infrastructure. They make sure that servers are maintained and secured to the highest standard. That way, the user doesn’t have to worry about maintenance, storage, or performance. The automotive company Nissan for example has “noticed a significant performance improvement of about 63 percent for the duration of overall processes” since moving from on-premise to a cloud strategy.  

How Cloud-Native Software Will Benefit Your Business

The five main benefits mechanical engineering businesses gain from a cloud-native strategy are:

  1. Rapid development cycles
  1. Agility for a competitive edge  
  1. Less financial risk
  1. No in-house maintenance  
  1. Scalable to business needs  

1. Rapid Development Cycles

The days of lengthy development processes with mass releases that can quickly become outdated are history. A general benefit of cloud-native software is speed. Users of cloud-native simulations can thereby simulate faster. Having fast access to your simulation data can speed up processes significantly. Working on a project and collaborating with colleagues becomes much easier when everything you need is in one place.  

On-premise solutions are a pain for users and software developers alike. Philippe Peron, the chief delivery officer of the award-winning software consultancy Evolve, explains: “When you are constrained by infrastructure, your ideas are blocked. When you want to test something, you are instantly hit by a brick wall which is hardware!”. Same as for software developers, engineers who use cloud-native software benefit from the lack of hardware constraints. For simulation engineers, typical hardware constraints include long waiting times to start simulation tools. Because they can't simulate everything at once, teams have had to prioritize and work within these infrastructural restrictions. That’s no longer a necessary burden.  

Cloud-native simulation allows engineers to iterate simulations much faster. With parallel simulations, you can start several projects at the same time, which will provide you with multiple data-driven responses, giving you the insights you need faster. That way teams can move through the development process at a higher speed.  

2. Agility for a Competitive Edge

In today’s fast-paced environment, businesses need to stay agile to rapidly adjust to market demands. That way, they can ensure sustainable success. In fact, agile projects have a 60% higher success rate than non-agile projects. Coupled with speed, agility helps engineers iterate faster within the development process, and thereby ensure the products are competitive when released on the market.  

Read our article about how mechanical engineers use agile methodologies to stay competitive  

Tosh Tambe, the VP of Business Transformation and SaaS Strategy at Siemens Digital Industries Software explains that “businesses must adapt quickly and have flexible solutions to meet the ever-growing needs of their customers".

The software that mechanical engineers use must keep up with their industry's pace. Cloud-native software is flexible and quick to implement. It’s accessible from any device with an internet connection. Especially when doing business internationally you want your software to be available at all times of the day, every day. Business doesn’t sleep, and neither does the cloud.  

3. Less Financial Risk

On-premise IT infrastructures demand a lot of work. An in-house IT team is needed to maintain and secure servers. This alone creates resource expenses. Additionally, businesses must continuously maintain and invest in new hardware and software every couple of years.  

Building a decent infrastructure requires risky long-term upfront investments. Quality servers cost money, first to set up, and then additionally for maintenance. Often, teams need multiple servers. Depending on a company's size and its activities it can get very expensive, very fast. Scroll down to the section called ‘The Cost Question’ in our article here to get a better understanding of how to make a cost analysis.  

On top of that, an on-premise solution assumes the use of licensed software. License-based computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools require capital investment. The pricing varies depending on the software your business is using and on how many team members need to work with it. Cloud-native software includes everything from server capacity to software access in one subscription model. Mechanical engineers can work at a higher speed, and also generate savings while doing so.

4. No In-House Maintenance

Software that includes service and is built within the cloud doesn’t have to be maintained by in-house employees. Cloud-native Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is most often available as a subscription, which includes maintenance of servers, security patches, bug fixes, software upgrades, and much more. We’ll write more about cloud-native SaaS and how it all ties together in a future article.

Because service is part of the business model, cloud-native SaaS providers react much quicker to software user feedback. They make continuous improvements, always providing businesses with the latest version of their product. As a result, it frees up a lot of the time-consuming pains software users and IT departments experience. It gives departments back more time and money that can be spent elsewhere.  

Cloud Service Models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) Diagram

Thanks to the microservice architecture of cloud-native solutions, updates require significantly less downtime. The architecture consists of small independent services that can be updated individually without shutting down and rebuilding an entire application. This allows the user to proceed to simulate even during updates or product releases.

5. Scalable to Your Business Needs

To stay flexible with an on-premise solution, businesses are forced to purchase and carry maintenance costs for peak use times. Cloud-native software, on the other hand, doesn’t have hardware limitations. Users can easily scale in and out as business priorities shift.  

Cloud-native software enables businesses to scale services according to their needs. That’s why companies today have the flexibility to source their software according to business needs. The software investment shifts to flexible consumption-based subscription costs.  

Cloud-Native Is the Only Way Forward

On-premise solutions can’t keep up with today's fast-paced environment. Top tech companies worldwide choose to go cloud-native. Business practices are shifting from on-premise hardware expenses to cloud computing and subscription software. Cloud-native applications run 100% in the cloud and benefits businesses in a way on-premise just can’t.  

Development teams can be more efficient by maintaining the agility they need in an always-changing environment. Businesses face less financial risk because they no longer need to make long-term upfront software and hardware investments. IT teams don’t have to deal with most of the maintenance tasks that come with on-premise and cloud-enabled software. Because of its scalability, cloud-native simulation software helps engineers to align better with their business priorities. In the cloud, mechanical engineers experience faster and easier development processes.  

Adopting cloud-native strategies isn’t only about having a competitive edge. It’s about surviving the changes in the market and being able to grow your business sustainably, with a robust IT backbone. As our CEO Pierre Sabrowski says, “There is no way around it - if you don’t go into the cloud, goodbye.”

Read Microsoft’s article on how engineers can drive competitiveness and agility with cloud-native simulation  

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