Powerful cloud capabilities now included with InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro subscriptions

Casey Chaisson Casey Chaisson April 5, 2023

8 min read

It’s global launch time at Autodesk! This means the 2024 versions of our core water solutions are now available to our customers. This year, we have a monumental release for water distribution, wastewater, stormwater, and flood modelers alike.

We’re thrilled to announce that our subscription offerings of InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro now come with powerful cloud integrations, including:

Cloud capabilities for InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro include better storage, data management, and simulations.

These exciting functionalities will give more water professionals access to the critical information they need to better serve their customers and communities. And the best part? Cloud integrations are included in the subscription price and are completely optional. So, teams can choose to offload computing capacity and manage model databases in the cloud while still having the option to access existing on-premises data and run local simulations.

We put desktop and cloud side-by-side and sped up the video 30X to show you how they compare running the exact same simulations.

Since model building and management will continue to occur within the InfoWorks on-premises interface, users can access cloud capabilities with a single installer without any changes to pre- and post-processing workflows. Ultimately, this hybrid approach offers the flexibility to utilize cloud functionality without any disruption.

Fast computational power to enable more scenario simulations

With cloud-enabled simulations, users can get results in a fraction of the time for faster and more efficient decision-making in business-critical and potentially life-threatening situations.

To demonstrate the computing power of the cloud, Autodesk’s product development team conducted a pipe resiliency study that took 83 minutes on a desktop computer and just 16 minutes in the cloud – an 80% improvement in computing time to determine the number of affected customers, pipe flow reversals, and water age summaries per pipe closure.

Our beta testers also saw significant gains. “We utilized InfoWorks ICM cloud capabilities on a stormwater project running a 2D simulation for a big river basin,” says Frank Qiao, Associate at Hazen and Sawyer, one of our InfoWorks ICM 2024 beta testers. “Running a model on our own machine usually takes 1 day or 3-4 hours on our higher-end machine with GPU. We achieved a very substantial improvement in terms of efficiency when using the new cloud capabilities with the simulation taking just 35 minutes”. 

Achieving these results is possible by removing the burden of server rental costs, hardware and licensing restrictions to establish accessible and efficient cloud-based simulation options. This means, no more purchasing additional licenses of your software and buying expensive servers to run the compute-heavy simulations you may need.

Cloud-based storage and model management for secure, reliable access

In addition to achieving simulation results faster and being able to assess more system alternatives, InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro users will now be able to store and manage project data in the cloud. Using an integrated cloud database manager, administrators can back up and recover model data from an accessible web-based environment. In this view, admins can review databases that their team are working on as well as the date a backup was created for each version. They can manually create new backups, restore from an existing backup, or delete a database that is no longer needed. This functionality provides IT and project administrators the tools they need for effective project data management while giving modelers trust that their work is secure and recoverable should a computer or data issue occur.

Better prepare for emergencies, improve community resilience, and optimize capital expenditures

Severe weather events come with a high level of uncertainty with water professionals often needing to consider many potential scenarios when planning out how to respond. The cloud capabilities in InfoWorks ICM 2024.0 provide parallel simulations of many different weather predictions providing fast and reliable information on potential hazards at the time they need it most.

This technology aids in emergency response planning as all options to mitigate risk can be tested compared to previous limitations where only a handful of scenarios could be run due to time and hardware availability. Cloud technologies establish access to resources and organizations of any size, improving a region’s preparedness for severe weather. Previously, larger, well-resourced cities had an advantage with access to modelers and IT infrastructure. However, with the availability of cloud-based capabilities, rural areas can access rich model data to improve preparedness for severe weather events.

Planners can be more informed when developing master plans by simulating more storm events, mitigation options, and planning horizons than they could in the past without increasing timeframes. More informed teams make better decisions on where capital investments are made, bringing better value to the community.

To demonstrate the computing power of cloud-enabled simulations, Autodesk’s product development team took an integrated 1D-2D urban catchment model and simulated 100 rainfall events in just 6 minutes. This previously took 68 minutes when utilizing a high-end computer and graphics card and over 4 hours on a standard modeling laptop.

With all the catchment data and simulated results being stored in the cloud, information can be shared throughout the teams quickly and accessed by everyone from anywhere without the need for typical VPN connections to corporate networks. Teams that were challenged with limited resources and IT infrastructure can now exist in a collaborative technical space with the capacity to run high volumes of simulations from one desktop. This can be a transformative capability for small organizations without large budgets to outsource work or purchase additional hardware.

Collaborative water distribution modeling for better system planning and maintenance

With access to high-quality simulations on the cloud, InfoWorks WS Pro 2024 offers valuable insights for maintenance planning. Users can now understand how their network will respond to customer disruption issues, regardless of the scale of the task. This is particularly valuable for utilities and municipalities that are responsible for asset risk analysis and maintenance planning, as well as engineers who offer these services to their clients. Additionally, this capability can be utilized during incident response scenarios to better understand the full network impact, providing even more value to users.

The scale of cloud computation also offers valuable insights for community planning, specifically for long-term community growth planning. Capital planners can now determine where to expand and add capacity to networks with greater ease and accuracy. This capability also enables the review of the impact of multiple zoning or development choices more quickly, providing decision-makers with better information about trade-offs in development decisions. This is particularly valuable for owners who can now perform powerful simulations that they once did not have the resources or IT infrastructure to support. It also enables engineers to offer an expanded service while reducing costs for the service they already offer.

Get the results you need when you need them

For water distribution modeling, InfoWorks WS Pro users typically undertake massive computing of parallel jobs for multi-run simulations, such as critical link analysis. One of the challenges with these types of runs in previous versions of InfoWorks WS Pro was that users would end up with large volumes of data to manage and sift through unless they manually chose to discard time-varying results. However, these results can sometimes be helpful for diagnostics and analysis and shouldn’t have to be discarded. Now that you can store results in the cloud, you don’t need to discard the data that once slowed down result interpretation. Now, you can keep and use that data and realize better results.

With cloud-enabled simulations, results are automatically stored to the cloud server and only brought down to your local machine, on-demand, when you need them. InfoWorks WS Pro users now have the flexibility to review summary reports for a better understanding of problems and solutions for their water distribution systems or download detailed simulation results from the cloud, for model diagnostic purposes.

How to get started

All InfoWorks ICM Ultimate, InfoWorks ICM Standard, and InfoWorks WS Pro users with an Autodesk subscription license can utilize cloud capabilities with the latest 2024 software release – today! This marks a change in the core behavior of InfoWorks ICM Standard, which can now function as a multi-user workgroup environment in the cloud, making one of the most valuable capabilities of InfoWorks ICM accessible to more customers at a more affordable price.

Once the software is updated, you will have automatic access through a new Info360 Cloud Model Services entitlement. There is one installer for each product on your Autodesk manage site (log-in required), which installs the full set of capabilities to work both on-premise and in the cloud. Once installed, you will have the option when running a simulation on a particular project to select whether to run your simulations in the cloud or via a Workgroup server. When the cloud option is selected, you can quickly view and share your simulation results.

Follow along with the roadmap 

You can read all the granular details about this new release in our product release notes for InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro, and you can dig into our high-level roadmap to see our strategic vision, which we update regularly. If you are not a current InfoWorks ICM or InfoWorks WS Pro user and are interested, contact our team. We’d love to show you how you can take the most advantage of this powerful new cloud computing option.

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