Saba Metallurgical and Plant Engineering Services

In September 2017, Saba Metallurgical and Plant Engineering Services (SMPES) contacted ZWorkstations.com interested in purchasing a HP Z840 workstation. While the company was already familiar with the HP Z series and had an existing HP Z820, they were looking to upgrade not only to the latest generation hardware, but also make the switch from Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED).

SMPES relies on niche software from Siemens and Dassault Systemes, including StarCCM+ and the Abaqus Unified FEA product suite. This software offers powerful and complete solutions for both routine and sophisticated engineering problems covering a vast spectrum of industrial applications.

Hardware

Initially, SMPES was looking to completely max out a Z840 workstation given the extreme load the system would endure. They needed the fastest processors, the most amount of memory, the highest grade NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards, and a maximum amount of storage. Using our extensive configuration tool, their original configuration met most of these requirements, but they wanted a second opinion.

After analyzing his use case further, the ZWorkstations.com team recommended SMPES go with dual 12-core 3.0GHz Intel Xeon E5-2687W v4 processors as opposed to dual 22-core 2.2GHz processors because of how the software utilizes the cores and the importance of clock speed as well as core count. Engineering simulation software is memory intensive, therefore SMPES requested the maximum 1TB of RAM, which would prevent any bottlenecks and allow multiple applications to be run simultaneously and smoothly. In addition, we recommended a Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro with four 2TB NVMe drives. One to be utilized for the operating system and applications, and remaining three configured in RAID 0 achieving up to 6000MB/s. Each NVMe drive performs at 4x the speed of a SATA3 solid-state drive. Lastly, the ZWorkstations.com team also recommended the recently released NVIDIA Quadro GP100, since it provides the computational power of an NVIDIA Tesla inside a workstation form-factor.

Software

SMPES needed a turn-key system. They wanted to be able to plug in the system and be ready to work within minutes and not have to waste time familiarizing with the intricacies of complicated application installations after their switch to Linux.

Working closely with SMPES, the ZWorkstations Team delivered on their requests. SLED was installed and configured with the correct Linux drivers. The system was heavily stress tested for stability, which was crucial given the extreme computational processing the hardware would be subject to (namely engineering simulations that run for days at a time and push the hardware to the absolute limit). Lastly, Siemens and Dassault software were installed, the DVDs of which were shipped to our office by SMPES.

While setting up software is typically not a challenge in Windows, Linux plays by a different set of rules. There are a variety of Linux distributions which often times have differences in kernel versions, competing desktop environments like GNOME and KDE, and require use of the command line for many operations. The ZWorkstations team is highly skilled in the major Linux distributions (Ubuntu, RedHat, SUSE, CentOS) and using our experience, the workstation was further configured to allow new users to Linux to easily be productive without getting bogged down in cryptic commands. Convenient application shortcuts were created in addition to a custom, brief guide to allow SMPES to become quickly familiar with their new system.

Industry

Architecture, Engineering and Construction

Objective

Reliably and productively run the most demanding and powerful software applications serving the Metallurgical Engineering industry to meet flexibility and deadline needs of clients.

Approach

Provide a turn-key HP Z840 Workstation, pre-configured with SUSE Enterprise Linux, Siemens StarCCM+ and Dassault Systèmes Abaqus.

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