Market Briefing: Open Source Cloud Simulation Software

The value of the global simulation software and analysis market was estimated at approximately US$5.5 billion in 2016 (TechSci Research, 2017; Market and Markets, 2017). Growth rates range from 7% to 16.5% for the forecast period 2017 to 2022 forecasting a market value range of US$8- US$13.5 billion (Technavio, 2016; TechSci Research, 2017; Market and Markets, 2017). This valuation comprises a wide range of application and industry segments; the former including a wide range of product lifecycle management software such as computer-aided engineering used in a variety of industries such as the automotive, aerospace, defence, electrical and electronics industries.

Page (2017) recently remarked that the ubiquity of simulation and modelling makes the assessment of investments in simulation and modelling extremely difficult, an assessment made more difficult by the proprietary nature of many simulations and models requiring significant time and effort independent of simulation software tools. Given the R&D and scientific spending in ICT and cloud computing specifically worldwide, it is not unreasonable to assume that a significant quantum of effort is being expended on cloud and network simulation and modelling, particularly by the larger hyperscale cloud service providers.

By 2020, Cisco (2016) forecast that these hyperscale data centers will represent:

  • 47% of all installed data center servers
  • 53% of total traffic
  • 68% of all data centre processing power
  • 57% of all data stored in data centers (Cisco, 2016).

It is therefore surprising that there is a a dearth of domain-specific commercial simulation software for cloud computing. While there are research reports featuring data center simulation software and software vendors such as Simul8, Simio and others, no market research reports or cloud-specific commercial simulation software could be identified. This may partially explain the emergence of an active open source community for cloud simulation software development and experimentation.

This market briefing provides an overview of the main open source cloud simulation software tools. The following section discusses drivers for using simulation and modelling for cloud computing and the types of cloud problems simulators are being used to solve. It introduces the main open source cloud simulators and a comparison of the features of these simulators. This is followed by an overview of a new open source warehouse-scale cloud simulator that accommodates hyperscale clouds and next generation cloud architecture designs, and a discussion about how simulation-based optimisation might be used to address cloud management challenges with the emergence of the Internet of Things. The briefing paper concludes with overviews of the Horizon 2020 CloudLightning and RECAP projects.


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