Virtualization of jobs for the architectural bureau through the eyes of humanities

Published on October 23, 2018

Virtualization of jobs for the architectural bureau through the eyes of humanities

    This article will be interesting to those who are currently engaged in virtualization.

    The story of how in our company was made a small study on the virtualization of workplaces of architects and engineers. In particular, AWS AppStream 2.0 was reviewed. and alternatives.

    It is possible that the article will not be too useful for super-professionals in this matter.

    purpose


    The main goal of virtualization, from the point of view of management, can be formulated as follows: to get rid of the need to buy expensive hardware (approximately 140-170 thousand rubles per car), and also to keep system administrators in the staff and overpay for electricity.

    I understand that there are obvious things that cannot be solved by virtualization: you still need to buy iron, you still have an administrator, and the electricity, although it will burn less, will not be cheaper (there are no specific calculations about cost reduction).

    Who is "virtualized"?


    We denote the specifics of the audience that needed to be "virtualized".

    We have an architectural office in which at the time of this writing, architects and engineers are working. Basically, the guys have a standard set of tasks for their specialization - design, visualization of interior and exterior solutions, calculations, etc.
    Used software (indicated the main, but the whole list is much more, each time - for the task).

    Engineer

    1. Revit - all working day
    2. Autodesk CFD - sometimes all day long in parallel with revit, sometimes I can not run a week.
    3. Navisworks - sometimes all day long in parallel with revit, sometimes I can not run a week.
    4. General package of MS Office, PDF, browser and so on. Always open

    Architect 1

    1. Revit - 10 hours a day
    2. 3d max + Corona - 24/7. Permanent work, plus at night and weekends
    3. Rhotoshop. 8-10 hours. Whole working day
    4. AutoCad - 3-4 hours a day.

    Simultaneous launch of programs 2-3 (photoshop, revs, 3dmax)

    Architect 2

    1. Revit + Dynamo - Access all day, besides access to the audit from my account may be needed by other users in my absence or I have been removed by a timviewer
    2. 3d max + Corona. Depending on the task, from 24 hours all week when working on pictures up to 0 hours a day, if the work is done on a model in revit. 24 hour access required to control and run renders at night and remotely
    3. Photoshop 10 hours a day
    4. AutoCad - 0 hours a day, but necessary for viewing and editing files and export for the Moscow office from contractors when they send a file
    5. Rhino + Grasshopper. Occasionally it may be necessary for complex modeling and for opening scripts.

    Through tests, the following configurations of stations sufficient for work in the cloud were revealed:

    Simultaneous launch of programs of 2-5 programs (it is necessary to open two revisions in parallel to work with related files).

    For architects (Revit, visualization, photoshop, etc.)
    32Gb RAM 16CPU 4Gb GPU 100Gb HDD

    For engineers (Revit, design programs, etc.)
    16Gb RAM 6CPU 4Gb GPU 100Gb HDD

    Our Internet

    Unfortunately, I do not know which provider we have. From our system administrator I learned that the speed promised by the provider is 30 Mbit / s.

    Test results


    1) Amazon Web Services - AppStream 2.0. (used server in Frankfurt)


    Description: Cloud service with browser access.

    Tested configurations:

    • stream.graphics-design.xlarge 4CPU 16GbRAM 2GbGPU 0.5 USD / hour
    • stream.graphics-design.4xlarge 16CPU 61GbRAM 8GbGPU 2.0 USD / hour

    Pros: Not detected

    Minuses: 1) Delay in use. 2) There is no possibility to order the required configuration of the machine, you can choose only from the proposed models, which is fraught with overpayment for unused capacities.

    Bottom line: Power is suitable for work in Revit, but rendering is much worse than on a local machine. The delay is annoying.

    2) Paperspace (Europe)


    Description: Cloud service with access through a browser or your own launcher (launcher, if you are so comfortable).

    The following configurations were tested:
    G-Class PRO 8CPU 32GbRAM 4GbGPU 0.32 USD / hour + $ 7 / month for a 100Gb hard drive.
    P5000 8CPU 32GbRAM 16GbGPU 0.72 USD / hour + $ 7 / month for a 100GB hard drive.

    Pros: Attractive cost.

    Cons: 1) Delay in use. 2) There is no possibility to order the required configuration of the machine, you can choose only from the proposed models, which is fraught with overpayment for unused capacities.

    Bottom line: Because of the "lags" work hard, even in Revita. Rendering completely indecent.

    3) Cloudalize (Europe)


    Description: A serious office distributing power through a Citrix client.

    Configurations tested:
    M602 model with a P2000 video card € 19.99 + € 0.89 per hour.

    Pros: 1) Excellent results for both Revita and for rendering. 2) You can assemble the machine with the desired configuration.

    Cons: Cost.

    Bottom line: Suitable for work in Revit and for rendering, no delay. If you do not pay attention to the cost - a good option.

    4) Loudplay (Russia)


    Description: Cloud gaming service with access through a browser or its own launcher.

    Tested configurations:
    Moscow-4 4CPU 16GbRAM 4GbGPU 28 rubles / hour

    Pros: Not detected

    Minuses: 1) Delay in use. 2) There is no possibility to order the required configuration of the machine, you can choose only from the proposed models, which is fraught with overpayment for unused capacities. 3) You have to stand in line (up to an hour) to be able to enter.

    Bottom line: Power is suitable for work in Revit, but rendering is much worse than on a local machine. The delay is annoying.

    5) Liqudsky (Europe)


    Description: Cloud gaming service through its own launcher.

    Tested configurations:
    PRO 6CPU 12GbRAM 4GbGPU 28 rubles / hour

    Pros: Attractive price.

    Cons: 1) Delay in use, terrible loss of image quality. 2) It is not possible to order the desired machine configuration, you can only choose from the proposed models. 3) You have to stand in line (up to an hour) to be able to enter.

    Bottom line: Impossible to work.

    6) Сloud4y (Russia)


    Description: Cloud service with access via the VmWare client.

    Tested configurations:
    Build for engineers 34 rubles / hour
    Build for architects 51 rubles / hour

    Pros: 1) Excellent results for both Revit and rendering. 2) You can assemble the machine with the desired configuration.

    Cons: It is more expensive than we would like.

    Outcome: Suitable for work in Revit for rendering, no delay. If you do not pay attention to the cost - a good option.

    7) IMSCAD (Europe)


    Description: Cloud service with access through a Citrix client.

    Tested configurations:
    Build for engineers KP is formed
    Build for architects KP is formed

    Pros: 1) Excellent results for both Revit and rendering. 2) You can assemble the machine with the desired configuration.

    Cons: Not yet detected.

    Outcome: Suitable for work in Revit for rendering, no delay.

    Conclusion


    Initially determined that the work of architects and engineers require different configurations of machines.

    For visualization on local machines, specialized processors are used that are different from those used in cloud services (they are not intended for visualization). Therefore, it is necessary to unnecessarily increase the number of leased processors in order to achieve the same rendering speed as on the local machine, which increases the cost. For this reason, it is not profitable to use the power of virtual machines at the moment: that rendering is not always needed, and you have to constantly pay for the installed additional processors.

    The next factor that imposes restrictions is the inability to choose the necessary machine configuration for the required needs: it is often provided to choose from already formed configurations that do not suit us. Also, all that is used through the browser or its own launcher, unbearably slows down and the quality of the picture is lost (for frequent pixels).

    Hence the conclusion: all services that offer access in this way do not suit us. The reasons for the brakes are determined by the fact that we are in very remote locations and the available speed of the Internet does not fully compensate for the distance covered. The exact way to resolve this issue is not currently known to us.

    The most priority is the use of services giving access through Citrix and VmWare clients. In addition to the ease of administration, these clients extinguish a bad connection and allow you to fully work, even if the connection goes abroad.

    Summarizing the above:

    At the moment, cloud services for our needs are much more unprofitable than our local stations. Of course, the local machine as well as the service allows you to use it 24/7 all year, but using the cloud service in this mode will be significantly more expensive. However, if there is a desire and opportunity to overpay - at the moment cloud services are suitable for use for tasks of architects and engineers.

    Sources of Inspiration and Information


    1. Why do we need virtualization?

    PS: Thank you for your attention!

    If you have not taken into account the nuances that you consider important - I will try to answer questions in the comments.