cloud computing

Chromebook as the Front-End Client Device for Virtual Machines

Normally, you would think long and hard before you attempt to run a Windows-based CAD program on a Google Chromebook. Though affordably priced (starting $199), the lightweight notebook has very limited local storage capacity and runs in Google Chrome OS. That presents challenges for those trying to install and run Windows-based design and engineering software titles that demand graphics acceleration, generous hard-disk space, and ample memory. But what if you use Chromebook only as the front-end client device to access a virtual workstation hosted elsewhere?

That’s the setup NVIDIA, VMWare, and Google are advocating at VMWorld (San Francisco, August 24-26), a virtualization conference. In a press announcement today, the three jointly announced, “a collaborative effort to deliver high-performance virtual desktops and workstation-class graphics to Google Chromebooks.” Billed as a technology preview, the virtualization solution lets you use the latest Chromebooks powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processors to remotely run Windows programs using VMWare’s virtualization software. Continue reading

NaviSite Launches Desktop-as-a-Service Offerings

A week after OTOY announced  the launch of its app-streaming platform X.IO, NaviSite, a cloud service and product vendor, is launching Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) products, powered by NVIDIA GRID. NaviSite believes the product beings “desktop virtualization for even the most intensive graphics workloads to a broader audience of end-users using engineering, design, and multimedia applications.”

Though underlying technologies, acronyms, and definitions may be different, app streaming and DaaS are driven by the recognition that consumers are open to the idea of using remotely accessible workstations, billable for usage or time. With NVIDIA Grid, NaviSite’s DaaS offers remote desktops with GPU acceleration, a characteristic that’ll be important to CAD and design software users who rely on photorealistic visuals to evaluate product aesthetics.  Since most of the computing is done on the hosted hardware, users may interact with the remote machine from a lightweight tablet or PC, usually priced far less than a professional workstation. Continue reading

Streaming Apps and Virtual Machines from SIGGRAPH 2014

 

OTOY, the Los Angeles-based company with technologies to stream games and render graphics in the cloud, has just launched an application-streaming platform, dubbed X.IO.

The announcement came from the show floor of SIGGRAPH 2014 (Aug 10-14, Vancouver, Canada), the annual conference for graphics industry veterans and pioneers. OTOY describes X.IO as “a new application virtualization service that instantaneously ports Windows desktop applications to the cloud without needing to modify any code, enabling users to access them on any Internet-connected device, regardless of form factor or platform … [It] was built from the ground up to handle the demanding nature of graphics-intensive applications, including image editing, CAD, and 3D modelling and rendering applications …”

For CAD vendors with design programs originally written for Windows-based desktops, X.IO offers a shortcut to the cloud. In a demo video, OTOY promises the vendors’ software titles could become cloud-hosted streaming applications “with no drop in performance, no major redevelopment.” The platform gives users the option to integrate their existing cloud-hosted storage (such as Dropbox or Google Drive). Continue reading

Adding Cognition, Machine Learning, and Prediction to Products: a Far-Fetched Dream or Worthy Endeavor?

Every year, at Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), industry leaders gather to discuss — and sometimes speculate on — characteristics and attributes of the tools and technologies next-generation engineers and designers might need. This year (COFES 2014, April 2014), in the track titled “Cognition?,” Engineering News Record‘s editor Tom Sawyer asked, “With the formation of the IBM Watson Group, we are at the early stages of deployment of what can thought of as applied cognition … What are the implications and opportunities for design and engineering?” Later, a roundtable discussion continued the talk: “[IBM] Watson’s combination of natural-language capabilities and an ability to generate hypotheses should be able to address big problems in fields such as customer relations, finance, healthcare, and R&D … What will machine cognition mean to engineering and design?”

In a room just a few doors down from Sawyer’s discussion group, Microsoft’s PLM Solutions director Simon Floyd hosted a track to discuss “Microsoft’s role in machine learning, predictive analytics, advanced decision-making, and the impact on design & engineering.” Another roundtable posed the possibility of “Swarms, Autonomous Devices, and Self-Programming Machines.” The summary read, “Design theory and concepts are emerging for these autonomous systems — particularly for swarms of multiple-specialty systems, and for systems that design systems. What types of tools will we need to do this? What’s our role once they have been set in motion? How do we build in safety? What don’t we know?” Continue reading

PTC: Not Your Father’s CAD Company

To be fair, PTC has been moving away from its mechanical engineering roots for quite some time, expanding into Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with the 2011 acquisition of MSK Integrity and branching out even further with the Servigistics deal, which launched it into the service lifecycle management space.

With last December’s $112 million of ThingWorx, PTC set its sights on the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, and if this week’s PTC Live 2014 event is any indication, it is it where PTC is directing its future. Beyond the launch of Creo 3.0 (details to follow later), the event was chock full of keynotes, customer presentations, and announcements in the SLM, embedded software, and IoT space, with very little talk of traditional CAD and PLM mechanical engineering software. Continue reading