Setting up Simulation Servers for InfoWorks ICM

InfoWorks ICM Simulations – is it best to use one very powerful Server, or many high-specification Workstations?

When it comes to the setup of Simulation Servers for InfoWorks ICM, many people believe that one centralised, very powerful, server is the best approach and will provide an optimum setup.  However, in many cases, this simply isn’t true.  Yes, you need a powerful (i.e. fast) Server/Workstation to get the best simulation times on an individual run, but queuing everything up on a single machine, even if it’s set to run multiple concurrent simulations, is not necessarily going to get all the simulations done in the quickest timeframe.  InfoWorks ICM is designed so that simulations can be spread across a pool of Workstations and Servers, allowing you to make the most of all the IT resources available within your organisation.  The individual machines don’t have to be top-spec. With several machines available, they can all be running together, and between them, they will be able to churn though all the simulation runs much more quickly than having everything queued up behind a single machine, even If that machine was top-spec.

As an example, see the (silent) video clip below which shows an example of the InfoWorks ICM Coordinator scheduling 56 simulations across a pool of eight Workstations and Servers.

In the clip, each Workstation/Server is able to run 3 or 4 simulations concurrently, which means across the pool of machines some 30 individual simulations can be active at any one time.  At that rate it doesn’t take long for the queue of simulations to complete.  It’s for this reason that the pricing model for InfoWorks ICM has been set so that it’s cost effective to buy additional ‘sim only’ engine licences which can be utilised across a pool of many different machines.

Results File Size and Network Transfer Speed
Results file size is an important consideration when creating an InfoWorks ICM Workgroup where Simulations are distributed across a range of different PCs, Workstations and Servers.  Results can often be hundreds of Megabytes in size, which can increase to Gigabytes for 2D runs.  Therefore, the speed of the network link between the end-user, the ICM Coordinator, the chosen Simulation Server and the Results Store is critical.  InfoWorks ICM takes measures to avoid swamping the network with traffic.  For example, results are moved in one ‘push’ at the end of a simulation as opposed to ‘drip feeding’ data/results as the simulation progresses, which would create a lot of network traffic.  The results files are also compressed before being transmitted, and if there are lots of results to move, they are queued up by the ICM Coordinator, rather than pushing everything at once.  Again referring to the earlier video clip, you can see this in operation, it takes quite a while for all the results to be transmitted to the central store, but that’s by design, InfoWorks ICM’s active traffic management is preventing the Network from being overloaded.

ICM Simulation Servers

InfoWorks ICM configured as a Workgroup

As always, the Innovyze Support Team are on hand if you ever need help or advice. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have technical questions about our software or the hardware it’s running on.

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    About Andrew Walker

    Andrew Walker is a Senior Client Service Manager with Innovyze in the United Kingdom, specializing in the computerised analysis of drainage and flooding. He has over 30 years’ experience of modelling the key hydraulic processes involved in urban drainage design and analysis. He is one of the key members of staff tasked with supervising the roll-out and adoption of InfoWorks ICM throughout the UK and wider European marketplace.
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