Numecent Drops the Bomb on Cloud Computing: Run Everything, Everywhere
3/5/2012 by: Theo Valich
One of biggest news coming out of the first day of GDC 2012 is a new venture by co-founders of 3Dlabs. Numecent is exiting the stealth mode in a big way - by launching a revolutionary cloud service. The company originates from 1999 by Osman Kent, the co-founder and CEO of 3Dlabs. Osman is mostly known as one of the fathers of the GPU and OpenGL. After he sold 3Dlabs to Creative Technology, Osman focused on Numecent.
The magnitude of this announcement is much greater than the two earthquakes that hit San Francisco this morning, since we’re finally seeing a birth of cloud service that wants to simplify the life for the consumers, rather than tying them in proprietary software licenses.
Yet Another Technology Spin out from DARPA
Numecent started its life in 1999 as UCI/DARPA project, receiving a $40 million investment from Tadpoole in order to develop the Stream Theory. Ten years later, in 2009 the company gathered additional $7.5 million and this year they want to gather a serious Round-A, targeting a $10 million investment. In order for such investment to take part, the service offered needs to be something special, and the IP needs to be well protected.
What is Cloudpaging?
We have reported about numerous cloud streaming services in the past, but so far, every cloud streaming service we have discussed was based on streaming the code or streaming pixels. Cloudpaging is the first service that targets both the consumers and enterprises and does not require to either rely on Amazon Web Services or build the data infrastructure on their own.
The way how Cloudpaging works can be summarized in the following sentence: the bigger the app is, the better it will work. As you might have guessed it, Cloudpaging works as a code analyzer, so the more users it has – each and every application is going to be optimized better and reduce the streaming package.
In the case of an very popular gaming application that requires a 10GB download, Cloudpaging reduced the download package needed to launch the gameplay to mere 150MB. Given that Cloudpaging service operates from your system memory, you can still continue to play the game in the case Internet service gets interrupted - up to the point where the app was streamed.
The code analyzer works better as the application size increases. For example, if you need to stream a 66GB Hyper-V Virtual Machine, the delivered size will only be a 900MB.
Meet the Jukebox for 21st century: Apps Instead of Music
While the concept mentioned above sounds great in theory, the problem was that it usually required a lot of server hardware. With the Jukebox Server, a single 1U fully-configured server can stream its content to up to 10,000 users. The “self-adapting compression” takes only about 2GB per hour, reducing the need for “direct connect into the Internet backbone” (to avoid lags which kill the experience on pixel streaming services).
According to Numecent, Cloudpaging uses an heuristic algorithm to create a “tree of temporal behavior of pages on the server,” meaning the more users use the same app, the better streaming prediction will work. This method is protected by 10 approved patents and additional ten patents which are currently in “patent pending“ phase.
The way how jukebox works is simply scan your computer for licenses and the apps you have purchased either via Steam and similar content delivery services, or the professional licenses such as Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk AutoCAD etc.
Not your Regular Cloud: Keep Your Own Data locally - Hello Hollywood
What really makes mouth water is the way how the user data is worked on. This cloud service does not require that you upload your data to a server, meaning that after over five years of watching every cloud company fall flat on their face when I start reciting demands for 4K and 5K video production, you can actually use this service as a tool to edit your videos wherever you are.
With Cloudpaging, it is now actually possible to edit all the shoots you did on the location itself, instead of taking the footage (stream, mail, drive) back to the video production studio and edit on off-line machines.
GPU Streaming: Why Your Next Computer Might only need a GPU
In theory, Cloud computing vendors always represented the bulk of the computing inside of the datacenter, justifying the investments in the infrastructure. With Numecent, the whole concept of “fat datacenter” is being thrown out the window.
The way how Numecent Jukebox technology works is reducing the need for the conventional CPU in that sense - the company feels that the conventional mode of creating datacenters that use millions of GPUs for gaming and professional use just doesn’t make any sense.
For professionals, the Numecent’s Jukebox just might be the ticket to ride. And knowing both Microsoft and Citrix licensed the patents related to this service, the company has some friends in the cut throat industry.
Imagine your computer running only baseline operating system, such as Android or Linux – and work on Windows Apps which you have licensed, and harnessing the full power of the GPUs you have in your computer. This is the cloud we want to see, not some promise of Quadros and FireStreams located in a land “far, far and away”.
Numecent plants to spin off several companies from this project, starting with Approxy – a cloud gaming delivery service.
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