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Amazon Web Services (AWS) Now Enables Streaming of Graphically Intensive Design and Engineering Applications

Amazon has launched new AppStream 2.0 streaming services for supporting GPU-powered virtual workstations for customers through web browsers on various modern devices and operating systems—eliminating the need for high-end PC workstations with intensive GPU and CPU hardware resources. This is an ideal solution for access to Windows-only engineering and design solutions from Mac environments.

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Amazon has reached out directly to Architosh this week to inform us that AWS now supports the streaming of high-end and graphically intensive design and engineering applications to desktop browsers on just about any modern operating systems—particularly Macs.

Getting Powerhouse Engineering Tools to Mac Computers

Amazon wrote: “I thought this recent update might be interesting for your readers given that it now enables powerhouse programs like CAD applications to be streamed to even a low-end computer. AWS has announced new GPU-powered streaming instances for Amazon AppStream 2.0, allowing customers to deliver graphically intensive design, engineering, HPC, and media applications to their users without the need for expensive high-end workstations. Two types of streaming instances are now available.”

01 – Shown in this image running in a web browser is Autodesk Inventor running on one of AWS’s AppStream 2.0 service options. This image is from the Cornell University case study. (image: Amazon).

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a cloud-driven service from Amazon. Their GPU-powered streaming instances come in two options:

  • Graphics Desktop — Based on the G2 instance type, Graphics Desktop instances are designed for desktop applications that use the CUDA, DirectX, or OpenGL for rendering. This instance is equipped with 15 GB of memory and 8 vCPUs (virtual CPUs).
  • Graphics Pro — Based on the brand-new G3 instance type, Graphics Pro instances are designed for high-end, high-performance applications that can use the NVIDIA APIs and/or need access to large amounts of memory. This instance is equipped with 122 – 488 GB of memory and 16 – 64 vCPUs.

Amazon says that customers are saying they want to use AppStream 2.0 to deliver specialized design, engineering, HPC, and media applications to their users. Some of these customers are ISVs (independent software developers) and others are simply companies with users. Due to the high cost of high-end workstation hardware with these resources and the fact that companies have many users who only need part-time or occasional use of such apps on such hardware, delivering streaming instances like this to web browsers is highly effective from a delivery and cost point of view.

A blog post by Amazon Web Services discusses three to four customer case studies of how they are using these new AppStream 2.0 streaming instances in their engineering and design workflows. One of the customer profile stories is from Cornell University where they are using this technology for streaming Autodesk AutoCAD and Inventor to students and faculty.

To learn more visit the blog post here. 

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