Shearwater Technology: Q&A with Owner Andy Witzig

PSSC Labs takes pride in their ability to help small and medium sized businesses accomplish their computational goals, which is exactly what they did for Shearwater Technology, a leading Illinois-based engineering firm. Shearwater both grew their business and became more customer responsive thanks to the implementation of an HPC Cluster solution from PSSC Labs. With 400% more core processing hours, $71,000+ in cost savings, and 0 days lost during installation, it’s no secret why Shearwater selected PSSC Labs as their High Performance Computing (HPC) vendor.

Below is a short Q&A with Andy Witzig, President of Shearwater Technology, that outlines what exactly Shearwater Technology was looking to achieve and how PSSC Labs was able to be a part of their growth.

Q:  Andy, what is Shearwater Technology and what is your role there?

A: Shearwater is a small engineering services company located in Central Illinois.  For the past decade, we have specialized in providing high-quality modeling and simulation support services to our customers in both government and commercial sectors.  We provide modeling solutions in the areas of high fidelity multi-physics, internal ballistic, external ballistics, impact, penetration, and blast. We also have deep experience modeling system performance using large-scale system effectiveness tools.

My role as President/CEO of Shearwater is multifaceted.  In addition to leading the company from an administrative and technical perspective, I am also a principle consultant and analyst. I work directly with our customers to solve their problems and ensure that the quality of our services is impeccable.  It’s also my job to ensure that Shearwater’s capabilities and resources are cutting edge and always growing. So, that means I’m regularly evaluating our computational and analytical resources to determine the key technologies in which we need to invest in order to continue providing the best service possible.

Q: What lead you to shop around for a high performance computing partner?

A: In the past few years, Shearwater had seen growing customer demand to process larger computational problems and we simply did not have the capacity to meet that demand.  We also realized that purchasing a HPC cluster would be a long-term, strategic investment that would change our business model and open up the possibility to service a broader range customers.

Q: What lead you to ultimately select the PSSC Labs HPC Cluster over other potential vendors?

A: First, as a small business owner I liked the idea of working with a smaller HPC supplier, like PSSC Labs, that would be more focused on product quality and customer service. Second, we had experience purchasing smaller HPC workstations and leasing time on commercial HPC clusters as a service, and we saw quickly that neither approach was going to be effective in the long term.  The HPC workstations could not scale to meet our needs, and leasing was much too expensive for the amount of processing we needed to perform.  In the end, it became clear that purchasing an HPC cluster from a trusted supplier was the best path forward.

Q: What impact did the HPC cluster you purchased from PSSC Labs have on your business once implemented?

A: Within ten months of purchasing the cluster, we logged more than 650,000 core-hours of processing.  We estimated that it would have cost Shearwater $71,000 to process the same number of core-hours with a HPC leasing service.  We also estimated that we processed over four times the number of core-hours we would have logged with our previous HPC resources.  This means we were able to generate four times the data for our customers than in prior years. Another result of purchasing the cluster was that we were able to service more customers simultaneously which dramatically increased our revenue streams and overall income.

Q: What was the implementation process of the new cluster like? 

A: The implementation was really seamless because PSSC Labs manufactures products that are turnkey, custom solutions. This was important for the Shearwater team because, we really needed a HPC solution that we could install and put to work almost immediately. PSSC Labs sent their experts out to install the cluster for us and we were running workloads on it that same day. It was a really quick turnaround.

Q: Is there anything else you wanted to note about your experience working with PSSC Labs?

A: Yes, within less than a year of owning our PSSC cluster we started upgrading it by purchasing four new compute nodes. The nodes were safely shipped to Shearwater and we were able to install them quickly on our own. This is important because it represents the ability for Shearwater to continue expanding our HPC resource through periodic investments with immediate returns as our business grows.

I’m also thrilled with the customer support we’ve received from PSSC Labs. Their team is always very responsive and we’ve had really great, helpful interactions with them  It’s been such a positive experience, we’re already working on building our second PSSC cluster.

PSSC Labs is an American manufacturer of high performance computing (HPC) and AI solutions, here to help you take control with affordable, turnkey high-performance computing solutions. Find out how an on-premise HPC cluster can take your business to the next level. For more information, please contact us at or (949) 380-7288.

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