Enabling Remote and Secure High-Performance PTC Creo CAD with Infosys Cobalt on AWS
By Rajesh Gomatam, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Preet Virk, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Unmesh Jadhav, Principal Consultant, Engineering Services – Infosys
Over the last few decades, computer-aided design (CAD) modeling has grown from a single-user application running on a laptop to a complex design environment. In today’s engineering design world, engineers work with multiple teams simultaneously on complex CAD models that requires higher compute and GPU powered instances.
These CAD design applications also need to interface with product lifecycle management (PLM) applications, which is challenging for customers.
This level of system architectural complexity, coupled with the rise of more intricate product designs warranting high-end graphical processors, has resulted in firms large and small struggling to provide the adequate infrastructure to support necessary performance.
In the area of engineering and design, PTC Creo is a market-leading suite of desktop CAD tools for 3D product design and development. With remote work here to stay, companies are looking to make it easier for design engineers to access Creo from remote locations to work efficiently and securely.
In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys—as part of its Cobalt Program—performed detailed benchmark testing of running PTC Creo CAD on AWS, leveraging Amazon AppStream 2.0 to securely deliver content to design engineers and integrate it with PTC Windchill, a PLM system.
Infosys is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Cloud Service Provider (MSP) that enables clients to outperform competition and stay ahead of the innovation curve.
In this post, you will learn how AppStream 2.0 can be used to move PTC Creo workloads on AWS without compromising performance, all while giving design engineers the flexibility to collaborate with their team from anywhere in the world.
Current CAD/CAE Challenges
While desktop-based CAD software has been a trusted partner to designers for decades, it has its challenges related to business, people, and technologies. One struggle organizations face is scaling the infrastructure rapidly while keeping costs under control and preventing business disruptions.
Engineers need to dedicate significant time to set up their systems with the required tools due to a complex installation process. Procuring licenses is also an issue as they can remain unused in other workstations.
These challenges can be easily mitigated to provide a hassle-free user experience with AppStream 2.0.
With pay-as-you-go pricing, cloud streaming with AppStream 2.0 allows for a fast and fluid experience at a fraction of the cost of running individual graphics workstations. With no upfront investments or long-term commitments, this fully managed application streaming service is ideal for in-office and remote workers alike.
With AppStream 2.0, you can centrally manage your AWS-hosted CAD applications and securely deliver them to any computer. Easily scale to any number of users across the globe without acquiring, provisioning, and operating hardware or infrastructure.
With AWS, you also benefit from an infrastructure and network architecture designed for the most security-sensitive organizations. Each user has a fluid and responsive experience, including GPU-intensive 3D design and engineering workloads, because applications run on virtual machines (VMs) optimized for specific use cases, and each streaming session automatically adjusts to network conditions.
Benchmarking and Performance Testing of Creo on AppStream 2.0
In collaboration with AWS, Infosys conducted a detailed benchmarking on the use of Creo with AppStream 2.0. Infosys’ engineering team tested the Creo performance on select models by conducting standard CAD operations.
Users were asked to check in and check out the assembly in Windchill, check for performance, and compare the performance with the on-premises setup with similar hardware specifications to that of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances running behind AppStream 2.0.
For the purpose of benchmarking, the Infosys engineers used a medium-complex Creo model available publicly. The details of the model are shown in the following table:
Presented in the following table are the results from the number of design scenarios that were tested to measure performance, comparing on-premises setup of CAD workstations with similar specs to the Amazon EC2 instances used by AppStream 2.0.
These results proved better or at-par performance using AppStream 2.0:
|Sl. No.||Creo Operation||Performance|
|1||Time required to “open” part, subassemblies, assembly, and drawing.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|2||Create part, assembly, and drawing.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|3||Edit feature, part, assembly.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|4||Measure dimensions.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|5||Rotate, pan, hide/unhide.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|6||Create/edit section.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|7||Create/edit explode.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|8||Add part to assembly and apply constraints.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|9||Drawing view placement, display.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
|10||Time required to “save to local” part, subassemblies, assembly, and drawing.||Better/at par with on-premises setup.|
Integration of Creo and Windchill on AWS
In collaboration with AWS, Infosys embarked on integration and testing of PTC Windchill PLM system with Creo hosted on the AWS Cloud. The reference architecture shown in Figure 1 captures the design of the overall solution:
Figure 1 – Reference architecture of Creo CAD on Amazon AppStream 2.0 integration with Windchill PLM.
- Administrator(s) create a golden image with the appropriate Creo version utilizing the compatible Microsoft Windows-based Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with the necessary NVIDIA drivers. Customers can leverage the array of GPU-based instances that are certified for AppStream 2.0 to suit their design and GPU needs.
- Users access Creo AppStream 2.0 fleet instances using AppStream 2.0 user pool, or using their on-premises active directory credentials with AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO). Users can access the AppStream 2.0 session either using AppStream 2.0 client or through web browser. It’s worth noting the user authentication details are sent over HTTPS and are SSL-encrypted.
- Users get a private folder in an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket as a persistent CAD file storage before the final design can be committed to the Windchill file vault.
- Creo is connected securely to Windchill PLM hosted in its own Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) either through VPC peering or AWS Transit Gateway. Once the CAD design is finalized, users can securely commit it to the master Windchill PLM system that utilizes Amazon S3 as persistent file vault object storage.
CAD on the cloud delivers the same, if not better, performance than on-premises setup. For enterprises, it will be a paradigm shift to have their CAD/CAE workload on the cloud. At the same time, enterprises should realize that waiting any longer to enable their engineering teams to get started on their CAD/CAE journey on the cloud isn’t an option in today’s fast-paced industry.
Running CAD and CAE workloads using Amazon AppStream 2.0 not only enables design engineers to access the platform from anywhere, but more importantly, enhances the security and audit controls, improves collaboration across teams, and provides low latency integration with PLM systems.
Cloud-based CAD/PLM applications are rapidly becoming the new normal with many Fortune 500 companies migrating their critical engineering and design workloads to the cloud.
Infosys’ flagship Cobalt program is one of the largest service providers in engineering and design, with decades of experience helping customers leverage AWS to optimize cost and performance.
Infosys has a dedicated center of excellence to explore new trends in AWS. Moving engineering and design workloads to the AWS Cloud is one way they’re staying ahead of the curve.
Infosys – AWS Partner Spotlight
Infosys is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and MSP that enables clients to outperform competition and stay ahead of the innovation curve.
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