Hydraulic simulations ‘any way you want it’: Your cloud and local hydraulic modeling simulation options

Trevor English Trevor English July 4, 2024

4 min read

Do you remember Pizza Hut’s famous “Any way you want it” deal, where you could get a large pizza with whatever toppings you want – all for $10? It was one of the pizza chain’s most successful. But… what does that have to do with Autodesk hydraulic modeling software?

Well, about this time last year we rolled out cloud simulation capabilities for InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks WS Pro. Since then, InfoDrainage and InfoWater Pro have gained cloud simulation capabilities, meaning that all of Autodesk’s desktop hydraulic modeling tools now have access to the cloud. While this is great news for modelers looking for speed and capacity improvements, you might wonder, can you still run local hydraulic and hydrologic simulations? Of course!

In fact, you have the option of choosing between cloud or local simulations in your software, giving you the modeling flexibility in-platform based on your circumstances and needs. This has led us to start saying internally that with Autodesk hydraulic modeling tools, you can run simulations any way you want it.

Workflows to fit your situation

Like any technology company, we’re excited about the possibilities the cloud brings to our software and the outcomes these functionalities can help you achieve. In fact, the benefits of cloud are one reason why Autodesk is building its Design and Make platform to unlock the value of data for powerful design and make workflows.

While we firmly believe in the power that cloud simulations can bring to hydraulic modeling workflows, we’re also aware that there are scenarios where you can’t use the cloud, or might not want to. Certain customers may not be able to leverage cloud simulations due to very specific security protocols, their database infrastructure, or perhaps simply because they often do their modeling offline – and that’s okay.

While the cloud can bring a number of enhancements to hydraulic modelers’ capabilities, we’ve built in native flexibility to our desktop hydraulic modeling solutions so that you don’t have to commit one way or another. In other words, you can have your simulations any way you want it.

But does everyone have this choice between cloud or local simulations? Let’s take a look.

Who has access to cloud simulation capabilities?

Cloud capabilities and services are only offered with Autodesk-licensed subscriptions of InfoWorks ICM Ultimate and Standard, InfoWorks WS Pro, InfoDrainage, and InfoWater Pro. Cloud capability is included with versions 2024.0 and up, with support for database and engine versions going back to 2023.0. If you have one of these versions, or more recent versions, then you have access to powerful cloud computing tools in your desktop hydraulic modeling solutions!

This is good news if you’re looking to leverage the cloud, but you might next be wondering – how do I know my data is safe?

I want to use the cloud… Is my data is safe?

All cloud data and simulations are managed within the highly secure foundation of Info360 cloud environment, which is built from the ground up around security within AWS. If you want to use the cloud and want to ensure it is allowed in your situation, you can refer your IT team to this overview of our Info360 security guidelines so they will be confident in our security measures.

Can the cloud help water utilities with security? We asked a cybersecurity expert.

For cloud security and regional compliance purposes, your organization can select one of three supported regions where your data will be hosted:

So, the cloud is safe, and if you have Autodesk’s desktop hydraulic modeling solutions, you have access to it. But, is it really that much faster and more efficient? In short, 1,000% yes.

How fast is it?

Just like some pizza places promise to deliver your pizza in 30 minutes or less or it’s free, cloud simulations also bring big speed and efficiency improvements to your digital doorstep. When we released cloud simulations, 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.

However, you don’t have to take our word for it. Our customers are also seeing impressive speed and efficiency gains. When we rolled out fire flow simulations in the cloud for InfoWater Pro in version 2024.4, Denver Water said their fire flow “simulation times went from over 1.5 hours to 5 minutes!”

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,” said 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.”

One of the benefits of using the cloud for water professionals is that it can help remove the burden of server rental costs. It also can simplify hardware and licensing restrictions and 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 curious?

It’s faster, it’s optional, and it comes at no additional cost with your subscription to InfoWorks ICM, InfoDrainage, InfoWorks WS Pro, and InfoWater Pro. Piqued your curiosity?

We’ve assembled a comprehensive FAQ about cloud simulations, which walks through everything from security to databases. Our product teams continue to iterate and add in more cloud functionalities with each release, and we hope that you’ll subscribe to the One Water Blog Newsletter the next time we make it rain with a new, expanded cloud capability.

Fill up on more of the One Water blog

Sign up for the One Water Blog newsletter, and we'll keep you updated about our top stories, along with the best content we find online. We only send out a newsletter when we have something interesting to share.