The Complete Guide to Buying Abaqus FEA Software

Your guide to Abaqus packages, licensing, pricing, and the buying process.

How to Buy Abaqus

You've decided that high-end Abaqus simulation is right for your needs but don't know the best way to get it? Follow these steps to make a successful, informed purchase:


Step 1: Do Your Research

Abaqus is powerful software that comes in many forms of packaging and implementation. Whitepapers, blog posts, product matrices, product pages, and videos can help you learn about what it can do and how it can work at your company.

What analyses do you need Abaqus to do? How accurate will it be for those purposes? How will you learn the methodology? How long will it take to solve? Is cloud compute right for you? How closely can Abaqus work with your CAD tools and PLM system?

These are some of the questions you can look for answers to, either in web content or in consultation with an Abaqus partner like GoEngineer.

Step 2: Get an Abaqus Demo & Proof of Capability

Request a Demonstration directly to see how Abaqus works in a meeting with our engineers. This ensures that the features and functionality match your expectations and needs.

Many potential customers need to go even further than a demo. They may have a specific analysis they need to validate. Our consulting engineers can develop the Abaqus simulations to prove it is possible and meets engineering needs.

Hardware benchmarking and purchasing advice can be critical for users who intend to solve Abaqus simulations on their own systems. GoEngineer can provide general and/or quantified guidance on the appropriate level of compute power and compute power licensing for your use case.

Step 3: Proposal or Quote

Once you have confirmed for yourself that the tools will work in your environment, the next step will be either a proposal or Abaqus price quote that includes details of products to be purchased, all costs associated with the software, as well as any services recommended.

Step 4: Purchasing Process

From there, the next step will follow the procurement process inside your organization, often meaning your company will issue a purchase order. Once there is confirmation of your intent to buy Abaqus and you have arranged a payment method, we order the software on your behalf. It usually takes about three business days to process your order.

Step 5: Get Started with Your New Software

After your order is completed, we provide you with your serial numbers (if that's your form of licensing) as well as additional information about getting started and installation support. We will also begin scheduling any services or training that were purchased.

Step 6: Keep Going with GoEngineer Support

Call us when you need help!  Our consulting engineers can assist with technical issues, bugs, difficult simulation modeling and execution, and more. GoEngineer customers also receive four free application mentoring sessions yearly, and we provide mentoring services and full methodology development.


SOLIDWORKS Simulation streamlines the most popular types of analyses so that designers can, with great ease, get some simple feedback on design ideas. It does a fixed set of things very well, but may struggle beyond that.
Abaqus is meant to accurately simulate whatever mechanical scenario you can throw at it, and in being so open-ended, may require more user training and knowledge. It makes up for this in sheer efficiency and capability. Abaqus simulations scale very well and provide trustworthy results even under extreme loading conditions. It is used from the earliest design phases up through physical prototyping, and even into correlating and rectifying product failures in the field.
You can learn more about the differences between these two popular solutions in our blog post comparing them.
Abaqus: The standalone, desktop program for mechanical FEA.
SIMULIA: An umbrella brand name that includes Abaqus and other desktop simulation programs (not including SOLIDWORKS Simulation) from Dassault Systèmes. Another popular solution under the SIMULIA label is CST Studio Suite, for electromagnetic simulation.
3DEXPERIENCE: A product development cloud platform and software portfolio that has its own cloud-connected versions of many Dassault Systèmes products, including SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, and Abaqus. The 3DEXPERIENCE versions of Abaqus are not labeled as "Abaqus", but when you run an analysis, you will see it is very much the same solvers.
Retired terminology: You may find old literature out there referring to “SIMULIAworks”, “3DEXPERIENCE Works”, or “3DEXPERIENCE SIMULIA”. Just ask us about it and we will help you figure out what the author may have meant.
It is not hard to get started creating analyses in Abaqus, but there are variety of options that lets users go in-depth when needed. You may have to learn some new menus and clicks, but advanced model setup is a relatively straightforward process, and the solver gives clear diagnostics and reporting.
However, GoEngineer provides excellent training and the official Abaqus documentation is very extensive about both theory and practice. The program has a very high skill ceiling for those who wish to become hyper-efficient through the use of templates, scripts, and subroutines, which they can go on to share with colleagues.
Read our Ultimate Guide to Abaqus Computing for a complete answer to what hardware to buy for Abaqus.
For pre-/post-processing (i.e., building simulation models or viewing results), Abaqus system requirements are fairly low. A low-end professional CAD system will suffice for this workflow.
For computing the actual Abaqus simulations, many users do fine with those low-end professional systems when their analyses are modest in scope.  However, Abaqus responds extremely well to increased computing power. The most important components are a powerful CPU and sufficient memory. Special high-precision compute GPUs can also greatly accelerate certain types of Abaqus analyses.
Compute benchmark of a computationally intensive Abaqus simulation
For those who don't wish to spend on powerful computers but still wish to run large analyses fast, Dassault Systèmes provides official Abaqus cloud compute services.
It is important for customers to consult with their Abaqus provider to determine the appropriate system specs for them through advice and benchmarking.  This could save tens of thousands of dollars in computer purchasing and hours of compute time per analysis.
You can also check Dassault Systèmes's certified workstation list, but we do not recommend purchasing without consultation.
Whether it’s Abaqus in traditional desktop or 3DEXPERIENCE form, model creation is always done on the local machine.
However, both forms of Abaqus can send simulation models to the official Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE compute cloud, where they can be solved on up to 192 cores at once.
Traditional desktop Abaqus is a standalone program you download and install. You may need to install a license server manager on a machine within your network as well. If you want, you may choose to solve on the same machine where you prepare your models. We recommend separate machines as best practice.
Abaqus in its 3DEXPERIENCE form is very similar. It is also locally installed, but licensing is handled differently, and the way you open the pre-/post-processor, launch an analysis, and navigate file storage is also different.
Whichever version of Abaqus you go with, GoEngineer is committed to getting you up and running as smoothly as possible.
Traditional desktop Abaqus has “Associative Interfaces” to SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, and Creo. These add-ons directly feed CAD changes into the Abaqus preprocessor for a more connected and less labor-intensive workflow.
Abaqus on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform has a more advanced version of the same “CAD connector” for SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, Inventor, NX, and other CAD solutions.

GoEngineer has a simulation consulting team that focuses primarily on advanced simulation project work for outside clients. We can figure out how to do the simulation you need and either produce the results for you or train your team in the methodology we have developed.

Yes. We have standard classes on a variety of Abaqus topics, but we also customize classes or develop classes from scratch to meet customer’s needs.

How to Choose an Abaqus Solution

  Traditional or 3DEXPERIENCE?


Setting up a model in Abaqus/CAE


Traditional Abaqus for Windows and Linux remains Dassault Systèmes's flagship structural FEA solution.

It is fully open-ended desktop and server software, allowing for extreme customization, including user subroutines, scripting, and connected workflows with other analysis software.

Customers who want a typical Windows/Linux software experience will thrive with traditional Abaqus.

Parts of the Abaqus Package

Abaqus/CAE: The graphical front-end pre-/post-processor software for Abaqus is technically optional (there are third-party options) but highly recommended as the official solution.

Abaqus Solver: The solver has only one tier, and it contains all of Abaqus's capabilities.  It is high-end FEA for simulating even the most extreme mechanical loading scenarios accurately and efficiently.

CAD Associative Interface: SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, and Creo users can add a CAD connector to improve the design-to-simulation workflow.

Abaqus Extended Portfolio: The traditional Abaqus license also grants users access to fe-safe, Isight, and Tosca at no extra charge.  These three standalone desktop applications provide fatigue analysis, parametric optimization, and topology optimization, respectively.

There are many promotional deals for combinations of these Abaqus components.  GoEngineer can help you figure out what's right for your business.



Post-processing a drop test in 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL


3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL is Abaqus on the 3DEXPERIENCE integrated CAD-CAE-CAM-PLM platform.

It has a new pre-/post-processor with setup wizard, new FE modeling capabilities, a browser-based results viewer, a new job launching interface, and design study tools. The platform aspect of 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL also puts simulation processes and data into the company-wide PLM system.

Customers who are new to Abaqus, in distributed workforces, or have limited computing power may prefer this form of Abaqus.


In contrast with traditional Abaqus, 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL comes in three core packages that include both pre-/post-processor and solver capabilities:

Structural Performance Engineer: This base package includes the pre-/post-processor and the Abaqus Implicit solver with 8 cores of compute that you can use on-premise or on-cloud.

Structural Mechanics Engineer: The next level up adds Abaqus explicit dynamics, improved parametric design study, advanced nonlinear analysis capabilities, and a handful of situationally useful features.

Structural Analysis Engineer: The top-end version of 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL introduces Nastran & Abaqus import/export, basic CATIA modeling tools, and fatigue analysis.  This level does not include any compute licensing.

Add-ons: There are also add-ons that can enhance the core package's functionality (like composite analysis) or compute capability.

See this feature matrix for more details on the 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL tiers and their capabilities.

"The Virtues of Virtual Prototyping: Accelerated Product Excellence" Simulation Whitepaper Cover

The Virtues of Virtual Prototyping: Accelerated Product Excellence

Leading companies leverage virtual prototyping to test multiple products in a digital environment, thus saving the materials and time required to build physical prototypes. As a result:

  • 94% meet revenue goals
  • 93% meet quality targets at design release
  • 92% meet launch dates

See how top manufacturers leverage virtual prototyping tools to decrease costs and shorten development cycles.

Price of Abaqus

How Much Does Abaqus Cost?

Abaqus can be very affordable if pricing is structured to your specific needs.  This is a critical part of the quoting process for GoEngineer. As guidance on what to expect, here are some numbers:

Traditional Abaqus for Frequent Users

  • A one-year lease of Abaqus starts at around $18,000.
  • A three-month lease of Abaqus lease starts at around $6,750.
  • A permanent license of Abaqus starts at around $31,000, with a roughly $7,500 yearly subscription for support and upgrades.


Traditional Abaqus for Occasional Users

  • A one-year lease of Abaqus with metered on-premise solver time starts at around $7,400.
  • A three-month lease of Abaqus with metered on-premise solver time starts at around $2,800.


  • A one-year lease of 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL (Structural Performance Engineer) starts at around $21,000.
  • A three-month lease of 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL (Structural Performance Engineer) starts at around $6,300.



3DEXPERIENCE Structural Cost Cost of Abaqus 3DEXPERIENCE Cost Abaqus Abaqus Cost for 3DEXPERIENCE Structural Tools

All About Abaqus Licensing 

Abaqus licensing presents several choices that have to be compared and constrasted in order to make the right decision. We discuss them here, starting with whether you're going with traditional Abaqus or Abaqus on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

Traditional vs. 3DEXPERIENCE

Traditional Abaqus

With traditional Abaqus, you have two types of components being licensed:

  • Front-end software & functional add-ons
    • Bought or rented
  • Solver compute access
    • Bought or rented
    • Unlimited or metered
    • On-premise or on-cloud

A 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL purchase has a couple potentially important differences:

  • Core package & functional add-ons
    • Should be rented
  • Solver compute access
    • May be included with core package
    • Should be rented
    • Unlimited or metered
    • On-premise or on-cloud


Abaqus material assignment in 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL

Buying vs. Renting

Buying (Perpetual Licensing)

Buying is by far the more popular option for traditional Abaqus customers. A perpetual license, as the name implies, never expires and will run indefinitely. Perpetual licensing with subscription also offers the lowest total cost of ownership over the long term.

Dassault Systèmes has no plans to retire or stop selling perpetual licenses. They understand that perpetual and term serve different needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for licensing.

Renting (Term Licensing)

Rental offers a short-term commitment with the flexibility to match your workload and expenses. Abaqus is available to rent in increments of 3 months or 1 year.

This "term licensing" offers a considerably lower upfront initial investment that is attractive to smaller organizations and in changing business environments. We also highly recommend term licensing for all 3DEXPERIENCE products.

AbaquS Solver: Unlimited vs. Metered

Unlimited (Tokens)

Unlimited Abaqus solver licensing is the traditional way it's done. A customer buys X amount of Abaqus solver tokens, which let them solve on Y CPU cores/GPU devices for as long as they want.

Customers who can consistently use their full token pool get the most out of this kind of licensing.

• Token Type 1: Traditional Abaqus Tokens

Traditional Abaqus solver tokens only work on regular, on-premise Abaqus .  This is how they convert from tokens to cores:

# of Cores
If you need calculations beyond 128 cores please enter your number of cores above. The calculator will update accordingly.
Tokens Required

Results: For a 1 -core Abaqus solve, you need 5 Abaqus tokens.


• Token Type 2: Universal Sim Tokens

A relatively new offering, universal sim tokens work on all desktop SIMULIA and 3DEXPERIENCE simulation products.

These tokens can be purchased for either on-premise and on-cloud solves at the following conversion rates:

ON-PREMISE Token Conversion Rates
# of cores Tokens needed
4 25
8 35
16 45
32 55
64 65
CLOUD Token Conversion Rates
# of cores Tokens needed
4 29
8 43
18 64
36 91
96 162
144 213
192 263
Metered (Credits)

Metered Abaqus solver licensing is a new method of licensing that gives you a credit pool that gets consumed while the solver runs.  You can solve on however many CPUs/GPUs you want, but more CPUs/GPUs will deplete the pool at a higher rate (but also finish sooner).

Credits are ideal for infrequent (but no less important!) usage of Abaqus.

They're also great for customers with fluctuating need for extreme computational power.

Solver credits are available for both traditional Abaqus and 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL.

Users can have a small amount of tokens for their most common level of Abaqus hardware utilization, and then augment that with credits for the occasionals when they need to run something big.

Credits are purchased in small and affordable packs of 1000, and these are the rates at which Abaqus consumes those credits:

ON-PREMISE Credit Consumption Rates
# of cores Credits/hour
4 19
8 26
16 33
32 41
64 48
128 56
256 63
CLOUD Credit Consumption Rates
# of cores Credits/hour
4 19
8 27
18 37
36 47
96 66
144 77
192 87


• Important Note

Some versions of 3DEXPERIENCE STRUCTURAL come with free "embedded compute", which is 8 cores worth of Abaqus-only tokens that can be used on-premise or on-cloud.

Abaqus Solver: On-Premise vs. On-Cloud


Abaqus solver tokens and credits can both be used for on-premise computation, which is the traditional way the Abaqus solver is run.

If you're running on-premise, however many CPU cores your computer has, that's how fast Abaqus can run. However many computers you have, that's how many jobs you can run at once.

On-premise keeps everything under your control and within your network and systems, but that comes with the associated capital and IT costs.


Abaqus tokens and credits can now be used for the Abaqus solver in the cloud, though credits are the more popular form here.

If you're running on-cloud with credits, Dassault Systèmes's data centers can give you up to 192 cores for a single simulation. You can also run as many simulations at a time as you want.

On-cloud with credits provides maximum flexibility for frequency of Abaqus use and heaviness of the analysis.

Additional License SErver Questions

Are Abaqus Licenses Locked to a Single Machine?

No. Traditional Abaqus checks with a license server when it opens. You can make that license server any computer on your network that you wish, including the computer that you're running Abaqus on. Whatever computer you're launching Abaqus on, if it can see that license server in the network, it will open.

Licensing for Abaqus on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is attached to your 3DEXPERIENCE web login. As long as you can log into the 3DEXPERIENCE website, you can install and launch Abaqus and access your data. Some companies elect to run their own private 3DEXPERIENCE cloud as the login point, which may or may not be accessible from outside of their on-premise network.


Do I Need a Dedicated Machine for the Abaqus License Server? Can I Use a Virtual Machine?

A dedicated machine is not required for the license server. It really can be any PC on the network that is accessible by the client machines. With that said it is suggested to have it on a server that is always on and accessible. Virtual Machines are currently not supported for use as the license server.

3DEXPERIENCE License Manager


Still Have Questions About Abaqus?

Reach out to GoEngineer and an Abaqus expert will follow up with you.


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