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Yesterday AMD announced that it was building a specialty supercomputer to deliver gaming through a computing cloud. Aside from the coolness of being able to play your video games on an iPhone, pause them, and pick them up at home, the news bolsters the cloud business […]

Yesterday AMD announced that it was building a specialty supercomputer to deliver gaming through a computing cloud. Aside from the coolness of being able to play your video games on an iPhone, pause them, and pick them up at home, the news bolsters the cloud business model — taking it beyond storage and run-of-the mill computing into the realm of specialty clouds.

Now that businesses and vendors are growing more comfortable with the pools of virtualized computing resources, it makes sense to start talking about what — other than the next great startup — can work on clouds. Combine this willingness to explore the cloud with the rise of general purpose computing on the graphics processor and you get the type of specialty cloud that AMD and its partner Otoy (makes software to access the graphics cloud) are building.

Jules Urbach, CEO of Otoy, tells me a GPU-based cloud could be used for gaming, creating virtual Blu-ray players and even transcoding. There seems to be demand for such clouds (I’ve heard folks in the movie industry talk about a desire for transcoding clouds) and Sun Microsystems executives have championed the idea of different hardware underlying different clouds. Yet, the idea is still a bit controversial, possibly because it’s hard to imagine achieving commodity pricing for specialty clouds.

There’s also an issue of bandwidth constraints when dealing with something as data intensive and latency-sensitive as gaming. Urbach says they’ve seen latency of 100 miliseconds between the East and West Coasts, which would be a problem in a first person shooter game, but not in a virtual world. Urbach argues that the solution to latency is to have a “server in every time zone,” but that increases the costs of running such a cloud. On the recipient’s end, there’s the issue of dealing with cloud-based data coming in over a capped or tiered broadband connectionsomething Time Warner Cable or AT&T subscribers may have to face. But as users begin to access more cloud-based data on less powerful mobile devices, these issues will be faced by specialty clouds and general purpose clouds alike.

  1. You are right Stacey. Atleast for consumers, network connections is going to be a limiting factor. With cellular network alone, not all locations have the 3g network as parts of cities in my countries still run on 2g towers. Getting a uniform experience in such a situation is going to be difficult. This also means such a service, or more importantly a game would be unavailable in areas of no network coverage. We’re talking about less frequent events like flights but also daily travel such as on the London Tube system.

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  2. [...] movies CNET News AMD Offers Supercomputing Via GPUs InternetNews.com Wired News – SYS-CON Media – GigaOm – Inquirer all 148 news articles » View this Post in: Share and [...]

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  3. [...] Higginbotham | Monday, January 12, 2009 | 6:48 AM PT | 0 comments On Friday I wrote about the rise of specialty computing clouds and AMD’s efforts to build a supercomputer that will essentially be a graphics rendering [...]

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  4. [...] post info By deliveredinnovation Categories: Cloud Computing Tags: Cloud Computing Stacey Higginbotham: Here Come the Specialty Clouds [...]

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  5. [...] logical solution to these issues is that someone will build a class of enterprise-level clouds, possibly designed to host types of information or applications that require certain service-level [...]

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  6. [...] looking for someone to help it push its Xbox Live content to Windows Mobile phones, and last year AMD showed off a cloud service designed to let folks take their games on the run. Comcast could also broaden its Xfinity service to allow [...]

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  7. [...] is one of the many speciality clouds we expect are going to be coming to market. Stacey had previously reported about a gaming-oriented cloud developed by AMD and Otoy. AMD owns ATI Technologies, a graphics chips company that competes with [...]

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