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Autodesk talks to Architosh about Octane Cloud Workstation: Autodesk Edition at Amazon

Architosh explores the OTOY Octane Cloud Workstation via Amazon EC2 Instances — a Technology Preview is showing developers and press how the future of the cloud may play out for CAD and 3D

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.

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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

As we wrote about before, Autodesk partnered with OTOY, the folks behind Octane Render, a GPU-accelerated unbiased physical renderer software application. We have written about Octane before. Part of the charm of this partnership is that OTOY developed the Javascript technology that speeds up FPS delivery of 3D software applications which are compute intensive.

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.

01 - OTOY Cloud Workstation - Autodesk Edition.

01 – OTOY Cloud Workstation – Autodesk Edition.

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.

02 - A screen shot view of Autodesk Inventor running on a Mac via Chrome running an Amazon instance of OTOY Cloud Server.

02 – A screen shot view of Autodesk Inventor 2014  running on Chrome on a Mac running an Amazon instance of OTOY Cloud Server: Autodesk Edition.

Importantly, all of the above is what makes the solutions powerful at Amazon’s datacenter facility. The next most important piece is the technology that pipes that stream across the Internet to you at your remote location. This is where OTOY’s next-generation ORBX Video Codec comes in. This Javascript technology delivers 60 hertz ‘zero client’ HD (high-definition) cloud desktop images to any HTML 5 web browser using just pure Javascript. Therefore no plugins are required at your desktop.

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.

next page > Taking a Closer Look

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