Recently Autodesk’s team working on some of the remote access technologies for their applications spoke to Architosh about how this technology works, what the steps are involved, and provided a brief demo. In the past we had a brief tour of Revit running remotely through a web browser using this technology. In this feature we go a bit deeper and learn more about Autodesk and OTOY’s technology.
On our call with us and explaining the process in detail was John Schmier, of Autodesk and Jules Urbach of OTOY.
Technology Basics: Learning about Amazon Instances and OTOY
The foundational technology that allows your web browser to quickly keep up with the re-rendering changes in a viewported experience via a browser window is WebGL. This technology is related to OpenGL and Architosh will do a WebGL primer in the near future.
Autodesk has been excited to talk to us about this technology. We actually have had a few discussions over the past few months about it and Architosh reached out to OTOY as well. OTOY and Autodesk are basically in a partnership and the fruits of that partnership at this stage are embodied in the OTOY Octane Cloud Workstation: Autodesk Edition.
You might ask: “what is a cloud workstation?”
We will answer that in a minute. At this point this technology is available for press and developers (primarily) in what Autodesk calls a “Technology Preview.” Those who Autodesk and OTOY invite in find this technology preview inside AWS (Amazon Web Services) where one can access Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (aka: EC2). If you have an Amazon account you too can find this Octane Cloud Workstation and try it out yourself.
Octane Cloud Workstation
The Octane Cloud Workstation (Autodesk Edition) is described as the “world’s first turn-key high-performance cloud desktop solution specifically designed for streaming high-end remote graphics.” This Amazon Machine Image (AMI) is a Windows-based virtual desktop, hosted on Amazon EC2, and able to be delivered to any suitable web browser anywhere in the world.
Cloud Workstation details include:
- Amazon EC2 Enterprise Rack Server Iron
- NVIDIA GRID — parallelized GPU compute
- Windows 2008 R2 64-bit Operating System
- Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor applications
- Octane Render Cloud Edition — enabling real-time GPU rendering on EC2
- OTOY’s next-generation ORBX Video Codec (aka: ORBX.js)
- OTOY WebCL™ remote graphics driver — the only OpenCL 1.2 GPU runtime for NVIDIA GRID
Everything listed above is what is running on the hardware at Amazon’s EC2 hosted facilities–considered some of the best in the top-tier enterprise data center options worldwide. The question “where does this solution gain its power from?” is answered in several ways.
Autodesk and OTOY are running their software on high-performance Xeon CPU server-class rack-mounted hardware. Secondly, the GPUs powering these solutions are NVIDIA GRID solution, offering parallelized multi-GPU-compute power. Users are benefitting from more than one GPU. Lastly, Octane Render, one of the world’s first and leading GPU-based photorealistic renderers, is tapping the power of the open industry standard OpenCL 1.2 via OTOY’s WebCL graphics driver.
Client Side Requirements
There are actually few client side requirements but this is what is vitally needed. Either you use OTOY’s native client application–available on Windows, Linux and Mac–or you use a modern browser with the ORBX.js video codec. That’s it.
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