Deploy Altair EDEM on an Azure virtual machine

Virtual Machines
Virtual Network

This article briefly describes the steps for running Altair EDEM on a virtual machine (VM) that's deployed on Azure. It also presents the performance results of running EDEM on Azure.

EDEM is a high-performance application that's used for bulk material simulation. EDEM uses discrete element method (DEM) to simulate and analyze the behavior of coal, mined ores, soils, fibers, grains, tablets, and powders. EDEM:

  • Provides crucial insight into bulk material interaction with equipment during a range of operation and process conditions.
  • Creates simulations of real-world materials like large rocks, fine powders, grains, fibers, and tablets, representing material behaviors like dry, sticky, and compressible.

EDEM includes three core components: EDEM Creator, Simulator, and Analyst.

EDEM is primarily used in industries like construction (facilities), off-highway, mining (energy), agriculture, space exploration (aerospace), and process/manufacturing.

Why deploy EDEM on Azure?

  • Modern and diverse compute options to align to your workload's needs 
  • The flexibility of virtualization without the need to buy and maintain physical hardware 
  • Rapid provisioning 
  • Ability to solve simulations in a few hours (with A100 GPUs)

Architecture

Diagram that shows an architecture for deploying Altair EDEM.

Download a Visio file of this architecture.

Components

Compute sizing and drivers

Performance tests of EDEM on Azure used ND A100 v4 and NCv3 series VMs running the Windows operating system. The following table provides the configuration details.

VM size vCPU Memory, in GiB Temporary storage (SSD), in GiB GPUs GPU memory, in GiB Maximum data disks
Standard_ND96asr_v4 96 900 6,000 8 A100 40 32
Standard_NC6s_v3 6 112 736 1 V100 16 12

Required drivers

To use EDEM on Standard_ND96asr_v4 VMs, you need to install NVIDIA and AMD drivers.

To use EDEM on Standard_NC6s_v3 VMs, you need to install NVIDIA drivers.

EDEM installation

Before you install EDEM, you need to deploy and connect a VM, install an eligible Windows 10 or Windows 11 image, and install the NVIDIA drivers. On Standard_ND96asr_v4 VMs, you need to install the AMD drivers.

For information about eligible Windows images, see How to deploy Windows 10 on Azure and Use Windows client in Azure for dev/test scenarios.

Important

NVIDIA Fabric Manager installation is required for VMs that use NVLink or NVSwitch.

For information about deploying the VM and installing the drivers, see Run a Windows VM on Azure.

To install EDEM, you need to download EDEM from Altair One Marketplace, install License Manager, and then install EDEM. For detailed installation instructions, see Altair One Marketplace.

EDEM performance results

Seven real-world scenarios were used to test the performance of EDEM on Azure VMs. Particle simulations were tested. The following table provides the details.

Model Angle of repose Bed of material Hopper discharge Powder mixer Screw augur Mill Transfer chute
Description Cylinder angle of repose Bed of material with tillage tool Hopper emptying into container Powder mixer operation Screw augur operation Mill operation Transfer chute with dynamic factory
Image that shows the angle of repose model. Image that shows the bed of material model. Image that shows the hopper discharge model. Image that shows the powder mixer model. Image that shows the screw augur model. Image that shows the mill model. Image that shows the transfer chute model.
Particle radius (m) 0.0005 - 0.001 0.002 - 0.004 0.003 0.0005 0.001 0.005 0.0045 - 0.009
Number of spheres 3 3 3 1 1 1 3
Size distribution Random Random Fixed Fixed Fixed Fixed Random
Number of particles 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Physics Hertz-Mindlin Hertz-Mindlin with JKR Hertz-Mindlin Hertz-Mindlin Hertz-Mindlin Hertz-Mindlin Hertz-Mindlin with JKR
Time steps 5.73E-06 5.00E-05 4.00E-05 9.20E-06 1.40E-05 0.00016 5.97E-05
Total time 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 1
Save interval 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Grid cell size (x Rmin) 3 3 3 3 3 3 5
Factory No No No No No No Yes
Periodic boundaries No No No No No No No

The following table shows the elapsed wall-clock time required to complete each of the simulations, in seconds.

Model 96 CPUs 8 A100 GPUs (ND96asr_v4) V100 GPU (NC6s_v3)
Angle of repose 12819.80 1543.66 2319.39
Bed of material 2650.56 320.24 475.04
Hopper discharge 9318.89 566.59 1030.38
Powder mixer 14028.50 1013.98 1312.27
Screw auger 8871.59 1295.16 1158.98
Mill 1339.11 83.18 116.49
Transfer chute 3859.01 310.22 437.92

This graph shows the elapsed seconds for A100 GPUs, compared to the results for 96 CPUs.

Graph that compares A100 GPUs to 96 CPUs.

The following table shows the relative speed increases for A100 GPUs and the V100 GPU, as compared to 96 CPUs.

Model 96 CPUs 8 A100 GPUs (ND96asr_v4) V100 GPU (NC6s_v3)
Angle of repose 1 8.30 5.53
Bed of material 1 8.28 5.58
Hopper discharge 1 16.45 9.04
Powder mixer 1 13.84 10.69
Screw auger 1 6.85 7.65
Mill 1 16.10 11.50
Transfer chute 1 12.44 8.81

This graph shows the relative speeds:

Graph that shows the relative speeds.

Azure cost

Only rendering time is considered for these cost calculations. Application installation time isn't considered.

You can use the wall-clock time presented in the following table and the Azure hourly rate to calculate costs. For the current hourly costs, see Windows Virtual Machines Pricing.

You can use the Azure pricing calculator to estimate the costs for your configuration.

VM size Model Wall-clock time, in seconds
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Angle of repose 1543.66
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Bed of material 320.244
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Hopper discharge 566.587
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Powder mixer 1013.98
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Screw auger 1295.16
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Mill 83.1794
Standard_ND96asr_v4 Transfer chute 310.224
Standard_NC6s_v3 Angle of repose 2319.39
Standard_NC6s_v3 Bed of material 475.04
Standard_NC6s_v3 Hopper discharge 1030.38
Standard_NC6s_v3 Powder mixer 1312.27
Standard_NC6s_v3 Screw auger 1158.98
Standard_NC6s_v3 Mill 116.49
Standard_NC6s_v3 Transfer chute 437.92

Summary

  • Altair EDEM was successfully tested on ND A100 v4 and NCv3 series VMs on Azure.
  • The highest speeds are achieved on ND96asr_v4 VMs.
  • Simulations for complex workloads are solved in a few hours on ND96asr_v4 VMs.

Contributors

This article is maintained by Microsoft. It was originally written by the following contributors.

Principal authors:

Other contributors:

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