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NVIDIA Targeting Real-Time Cloud Rendering 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the hey-if-onlive-and-gaikai-can-do-it dept.
MojoKid writes "To date, the majority of cloud computing applications have emphasized storage, group collaboration, or the ability to share information and applications with large groups of people. So far, there's been no push to make GPU power available in a cloud computing environment — but that's something NVIDIA hopes to change. The company announced version 3.0 of its RealityServer today. The new revision sports hardware-level 3D acceleration, a new rendering engine (iray), and the ability to create 'images of photorealistic scenes at rates approaching an interactive gaming experience.' NVIDIA claims that the combination of RealityServer and its Tesla hardware can deliver those photorealistic scenes on your workstation or your cell phone, with no difference in speed or quality. Instead of relying on a client PC to handle the task of 3D rendering, NVIDIA wants to move the capability into the cloud, where the task of rendering an image or scene is handed off to a specialized Tesla server. Then that server performs the necessary calculations and fires back the finished product to the client."
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NVIDIA Targeting Real-Time Cloud Rendering

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  • No more!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:33AM (#29823275)
    Please stop talking about "cloud" computing -- it is one of the dumbest buzzwords I have ever heard in my entire life -- not to mention the fact that it is a totally meaningless term.
    • Re:No more!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:39AM (#29823335)

      It's got a very well-defined meaning: performing computing and storing data on an internet-connected server from an internet-connected client. It's a new term for, arguably, a very old thing, coined because the average end-user these days isn't familiar with the idea of doing their computing from a dumb terminal.

      • Re:No more!! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#29823393)
        Umm... that was pretty much my whole point. It makes me want to claw out my own eyes when I hear these jack off tech companies talking about this new "cloud" computing phenomenon -- it is only a new (and exceptionally stupid) buzzword for something that we have been doing for a long, long time. It is not "cloud" computing -- it's just fucking regular old computing -- with CPU's and memory and HDD's and the like -- it just happens to be taking place somewhere else.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sockatume (732728)

          No, your whole point was that it's meaningless. Which we've established it isn't.

          Your new argument is that the distinction between cloud computing and local computing is unimportant. Well, ask anyone who's had a computer-time grant on one of the monstrous IBM research clusters how they feel about the distinction between "fucking regular old computing" that "just happens to be taking place somewhere else" and going out and just buying their own hardware.

          • If you have Comcast, Time-Warner, or Cox internet you don't have the old style 80s-era time-sharing, but you still have an allotment. About 250 gigs per month. Have fun watching youtube videos, or CBS.com tv shows, or netflix.com rentals, AND doing cloud computing at the same time. You'll have overage fees galore.

        • >>>"cloud" computing phenomenon -- it is only a new (and exceptionally stupid) buzzword for something that we have been doing for a long, long time
          >>>

          Well it's similar to when my local TV station started talking about "phantom power". i.e. When you leave your VCR or TV plugged-in, it uses about 5 watts of power. They act as if this is something new, but we engineers have known it as "parasitic" or standby power for a long long time.

          And bell-bottom jeans. Today they call them "flares" o

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            I don't think anyone pushing to cut down standby power actually thought they'd discovered some shocking new phenomenon hitherto unreported to science. I've never heard it called "phantom power" at any rate: it must be unique to your region.

        • by dintech (998802)

          Even better is Cloud 2.0 Computing which is done in actual clouds using standing stone circles and such.

          +++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++

        • Re:No more!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:42AM (#29824097)

          with CPU's and memory and HDD's and the like -- it just happens to be taking place somewhere else.

          That's an important distinction.

          • by cenc (1310167)

            So, let me see, if I get this right. For some reason my web hosting (collocated dedicated server, visualization, load balancing servers) has just become "cloud computing" because they take place somewhere other than my desktop?

            So what the f*** have I been doing for the last 10-15 years? For that matter, anything else that has happened on a network or the Internet over say the last 30 years or more?

            It is a silly piece of marketing to rebrand the client / server paradigm.

            • So, let me see, if I get this right. For some reason my web hosting (collocated dedicated server, visualization, load balancing servers) has just become "cloud computing" because they take place somewhere other than my desktop?

              No. They became cloud computing when the servers were doing the job your desktop normally did and you were using your computer as basically just a forwarder for keyboard inputs. Your blog? Not 'cloud'. Using Google Docs? Cloud.

              It is a silly piece of marketing to rebrand the client / server paradigm.

              I don't really disagree. Can't say my panties are bunched about it, either. Now that we have the masses using these services 'cloud' is easier to pass on to Joe Sixpack than 'client/server-your-work-is-over-there-and-not-over-here'.

              In any event, which side of your NIC your prog

        • ...when I hear these jack off tech companies

          You mean like the company that developed the fleshlight? I'm surprised slashdot doesn't post more articles about this type of technology, considering the typical slashdotter. Jack off tech: it's the future, man!

        • by Gordo_1 (256312)

          Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there... I think there are subtle but important differences between the old mainframe approach from the 70s, the kind of hosted computing we had in the 90s and the latest cloud computing stuff.

          What I think differentiates cloud computing from earlier iterations of client-server architecture is the ability for a single device to transparently access virtually unlimited (or at least orders of magnitude greater) computing resources with little additional re

      • by suso (153703) *

        It's got a very well-defined meaning:

        No it does not. People continue to misuse what it means in everything from daily speech to presentations, manager proposals and articles. The solution to everything nowadays is "Put it in the cloud", but few people really understand what they are saying when they say that.

        Its just like most other buzzwords of the past 10 years. People here them and then think they are smart for repeating them to get what they want.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          By your criterion, "CPU" has no well-defined meaning. Bugger-all people who say that have a clue what it actually means. However that does not magically undefine it.

          • People misuse the word "CPU" the way they abuse the word "cloud computing"? Really? I've not heard anyone saying they need to buy a new 1920x1080 CPU, or a new 10 gigabyte CPU for their machines.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Sockatume (732728)

              I would humbly suggest that the people who talk about a 1920 by 1080 anything are unlikely to misuse the term "cloud computing", either. The people who use "cloud computing" as a magic talisman without bothering to know what it means are the sort of people who start their "CPU" with the front-panel lock key and download internets from the email.

              This is besides the point. It was argued that, because people use "cloud computing" without knowing what it means, then the term has no meaning. This is simply an ab

              • download internets from the email.

                Given some of the download times I've seen, I'm pretty sure this has happened once or twice.

            • by slim (1652)

              People misuse the word "CPU" the way they abuse the word "cloud computing"? Really? I've not heard anyone saying they need to buy a new 1920x1080 CPU, or a new 10 gigabyte CPU for their machines.

              Never heard someone refer to the entire desktop case and its contents as "the CPU"? "I plugged the monitor into the CPU, but nothing seems to be happening". I got that all the time when I was in IT support.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          The thing that bus me about this 'cloud computing" nonsense is we already had a perfectly good and well established term for this-thin clients. the reason they are now pushing this cloud computing is for the most part thin client everything went over like a lead balloon so they cook up a new name for the same old crap hoping the buzzword bingo will overcome the problems that everyone had with thin clients, which of course it doesn't.

          Latency, control over data, security risks, possibility that your stuff

          • by slim (1652)

            The thing that bus me about this 'cloud computing" nonsense is we already had a perfectly good and well established term for this-thin clients.

            That would be an excellent point, if only cloud computing and thin-client were related in anything but the most tangential of ways.

            But they're not, so it isn't.

            5 years from now this will be just another dotbomb buzzword chucked in the trashcan of history

            Meanwhile, people are actually using cloud services right now, and they're saving money.
            http://blogs.smugmug.com/don/2006/11/10/amazon-s3-show-me-the-money/ [smugmug.com]

            These people aren't affected by the ISP caps you mention -- because cloud computing isn't what you think it is.

            OTOH, I do think that service aimed at end-users will become popular. Things along th

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          People continue to misuse what it means

          It has to have a meaning for people to get the meaning wrong.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slim (1652)

        It's got a very well-defined meaning: performing computing and storing data on an internet-connected server from an internet-connected client.

        I disagree. If it doesn't involve large server farms, in which the location of your data/process is arbitrary and ideally diffuse, then it's not cloud computing.

        "Cloud" is a fairly good analogy for that.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          You're right, its meaning is even more specific better-defined than I had laid out. In my haste I made it too general.

      • by jhfry (829244)

        You missed something... I agree that the term is not clear and is commonly misused, but it does have a meaning.

        A cloud service is one that is not provided by A server, but by many servers. Additionally to be considered a cloud service, it must be distributed geographically.

        In the beginning computing was centralized, you would use a dumb terminal to access a mainframe system and all of your computing needs were centralized. Then with the PC, computing was distributed. Finally they centralized much of it

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought they had peaked with the hype around AJAX. But you're right, computing publications have taken it to the next level with "cloud computing".

      The people who hype "cloud computing" tend to be young and ignorant. Here is a perfect example of this. [roadtofailure.com]

      Simply put, these young punks have a huge ego, but no knowledge of computing history. They don't realize that "cloud computing" is merely what we called "mainframes" back in the day. Their low-powered hand-held devices that'd supposedly benefit from the cloud

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zumbs (1241138)
        There are a number of important differences when comparing mainframe/workstation systems to the modern notion of cloud computing. One significant difference is distributing computational problems to a number of concurrent processes on (possibly) distant systems. Another is that where the mainframe were typically placed close to the workstations, the servers in the cloud can be placed remotely. A third is that the workstations often were unable to function without access to the mainframe, modern desktops are
        • by Nursie (632944)

          "Another is that where the mainframe were typically placed close to the workstations, the servers in the cloud can be placed remotely."

          Uh, but what about latency? Where we talk about rendering in the cloud we need clients to be as close as possible.

          "A third is that the workstations often were unable to function without access to the mainframe, modern desktops are able to use the advantages of the mainframe/cloud as well as the advantages of an autonomous desktop."

          Not in every model, specifically not in OnLi

      • >>>these young punks have a huge ego, but no knowledge of computing history. They don't realize that "cloud computing" is merely what we called "mainframes" back in the day.
        >>>

        What I don't understand, even if these young'uns have no knowledge of history, why do they think cloud computing is a good idea? Why would they want to offload all the processing onto some distant central computer, when they have a quadruple CPU sitting right here in front of them? It makes no logical sense.

        My own

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          It's a trade-off. For trivial tasks like word processing, the performance trade-off is worth the convenience benefit. For the home user's idea of a high-performance-computing task, such as gaming and video watching, the convenience benefit is negligable for the huge performance trade-off.

          For real high-performance-computing tasks where purchasing a lot of computing resources for one project might not be justified, again there's a very large convenience benefit to just renting at a distance, which is why main

        • by slim (1652)

          What I don't understand, even if these young'uns have no knowledge of history, why do they think cloud computing is a good idea? Why would they want to offload all the processing onto some distant central computer, when they have a quadruple CPU sitting right here in front of them?

          It's that phrase "central computer" that suggests to me you've misunderstood cloud computing. If there's one "central computer" handling my request, I wouldn't consider that a cloud service. A cloud service is by definition distributed. Don't think "big mainframe in a datacentre". Think "huge datacentre full of servers with dynamically managed roles".

          Why [...] when they have a quadruple CPU sitting right here in front of them?

          Maybe they don't have a quad CPU, and maybe they don't want to buy one.

          • >>>A cloud service is by definition distributed.

            A distinction that matters not. A network of computers at some distant Microsoft facility still has the same appearance as a "central computer" from the user's viewpoint, and still offloading workload from a terminal.

            >>>Maybe they don't have a quad CPU, and maybe they don't want to buy one.

            Yeah but you failed to read the rest of my sentence. Even my single-core ancient Pentium 4 is faster than my 750 kbit/s network connection. It makes mor

            • by slim (1652)

              Even my single-core ancient Pentium 4 is faster than my 750 kbit/s network connection

              A nonsensical assertion. Instructions/second != bytes/second.

              For a computation such as "what is the millionth prime", you'd get the answer faster by going to a faster remote service than you would computing it locally, even if you did it over a 1200 baud modem.

              Or, something you probably do more often, a question like "find the most relevant web pages matching these words, from your enormous database".

    • by glop (181086)

      I am not that sure actually. It's not very well defined and different people use it differently, sometimes with a marketing agenda.
      But it also conveys some property quite clearly:
      - cloud computing is not precisely located and you don't really care
      - it's not happening in your home
      - it's everywhere or almost
      - it's out of your control (others may access it without your knowledge etc.)
      - it can disappear and be unavailable anytime (just like real clouds ;-)

      The previous ter

      • >>>it's nice to change the buzzwords every so often...

        Bad is good. And good is bad. War is peace, and chocolate rations have been increased from 10 to 5.

        How about instead of inventing words we just use the ones we have? Rather than "cloud" computing we could just call it internet-based computing, because that's what it is.

        • by slim (1652)

          How about instead of inventing words we just use the ones we have? Rather than "cloud" computing we could just call it internet-based computing, because that's what it is.

          Yeah, we could do away with all kinds of pesky specific descriptions, if we just call everything that touches the internet "internet-based computing". I mean, what idiot coined the tedious and unnecessary buzzword "World Wide Web"?

          "Cloud computing" has a meaning. If you can't be bothered to know what that meaning is, that's your problem.

          Clue:

          If you put up a web server and I browse it, that's internet-based computing, but it's not cloud computing.

          If your web server performs some processing for me (to stay on

    • "Cloud" is a pretty stupid name, one that bugs me almost as much as "AJAX", but it's hurt even more by being associated with two things at once.

      The first is simply a client->server connection, or perhaps hosting your data online. This, I think, doesn't need a new name. The old names were working fine.

      The second, and far more interesting, is for much more complex systems that are marking a move from managed server hosting to scalable application hosting. These guys design their systems from the ground

      • by slim (1652)

        The first is simply a client->server connection, or perhaps hosting your data online. This, I think, doesn't need a new name. The old names were working fine.

        The only people using this meaning of "cloud", are people constructing a strawman argument.

        "Since cloud computing is simply [insert old concept], it's a pointless buzzword for an old concept".

        If it's not dynamically distributing tasks on a large cluster of servers, it's not a cloud.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      So, what should I call my atmospheric simulations then?
  • Pay to Play? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zcold (916632) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#29823401) Homepage
    Awesome! So instead of buying a video card, I will now have an option to pay yet another monthly fee to play games? Im so excited!
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Think of it as paying for everyone else's video cards. On credit. Forever.

    • That's a bit of a knee jerk reaction. What if the monthly fee was $1 a month? Instead of continuously upgrading every year or so, you pay $12 a year to have the greatest and latest without having to do any of the work yourself. It's also pretty attractive to game developers because they can assume that all their customers are running on the same 3D rendering platform and can be sure that everyone will have the same experience. Until we know the cost of the service, it seems premature to judge its useful
      • by 3vi1 (544505)

        OnLive won't be $1 a month. With the amount of bandwidth they'll be paying for, plus the higher server-end requirements, I'll be shocked if it's under $12 a month. I wouldn't be surprised to see it as high as $24.99 a month or beyond.

        Imagine fees inline with the concept of "interactive cable TV".

  • It's that time in the cycle where we talk about thin clients and the mainframe again. Own nothing, rent everything, submit to central control. You know what, just like the last few times, I'll pass.
  • Um, arent they discontinuing their high-end products because they overheat and explode?
    So like, are they gonna use ATI cards for this or something? LOL :P
  • So if the GPU become a glorified web client how will they keep soaking everyone for a (bi)yearly card upgrade? If all of the most complex tasks are handed off to a remote server that's where the upgrades should be handled.

    Also if part of the secret sauce is being handled remotely NVidia has no further excuses for keeping it's linux drivers closed.

    • So if the GPU become a glorified web client how will they keep soaking everyone for a (bi)yearly card upgrade?

      Oh, but there's a better revenue stream here: subscription fees.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Well, now you get soaked for the upgrade whether you want/need it or not. That's the rub.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:07AM (#29823699) Homepage Journal

    There is still this thing called "bandwidth quota" where you get overcharged to death if you go over it. As an example, say 40$/month for 50GB, then 10$ per additional GB.

    And please no stupid "change ISP" comments, a lot of people aren't lucky enough to even have a choice of high-speed providers. It's either high-speed cable/DSL, or dial-up. Sometimes from the same ISP, even.

    • Fine be me, if NVIDIA thinks they can make this work it'll be just one more industry supporting net neutrality. Maybe we should encourage more and more industries to implement high bandwidth, questionably useful technologies. Eventually, the lobby money from the Net Neutrality group will be greater than the lobby money from the Telcos/ISP group.

    • But doesn't the target of Cloud Rendering mean that one day I can have my own render farm set up to run a game? For example the minimum requirement specs for a game could be "20 Rendering GPU's running to a total of X speed" instead of "Nvidia Card X or greater" ?

  • So, even if I had the the bandwidth to upload graphic data (geometry, textures, etc) and download 1080p video in realtime without any buffering, my 5ms Monitor would now have to deal with at least 30ms in video latency?

  • by RealErmine (621439) <commerce@TOKYOwordhole.net minus city> on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:26AM (#29823871)

    It happens in the sky:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/3/25/ [penny-arcade.com]

  • A big-ass binary hairball to further clog the tubes.

    How much additional traffic is this going to add to all the other interactive high-bandwidth stuff transiting the infrastructure?

    • by nschubach (922175)

      From TFA:

      NVIDIA fielded a question on this topic during the Q&A session, and insists that RealityServer applications will have a bandwidth footprint equal to or less than that of a YouTube video stream, and it erred on the side of "less." Assuming this is true, the new services should have little to no effect on current-generation networks.

      Though, I had to disagree... We aren't talking about a tiny YouTube video screen here, I want full pixel 1920x1200 x 16bit x 60fps (at least) rendering, and I doubt that's less than a YouTube video.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:50AM (#29824193)

    Backbone and last-mile providers are already crying about filesharers overburdening the infrastructure, especially here in the U.S.. ISPs in the U.S. typically devote well more than 95% of capacity to downstream traffic to try and cope. The modern graphics card works on a bandwidth [wikipedia.org] spoken in terms of GB/s. There's no way a 50 FPS+ 1080p or better video feed from a rendering farm could be supported for every console user. While not needing as high of resolution, mobile devices communicate off of cellular networks that make in-ground network capacity problems seem petty. Even if these could be remedied, the latency involved in even a same city rendering farm would still make for a lack-luster experience.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Highlighting how consumer internet companies have oversold their capacity could be a benefit, mind you. If people get oversold on flights they get some sort of comeback, maybe people whose internet is unusuable when the sun's up would start to ask for a discount.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jthon (595383)

      Which is why this isn't currently targeted at the gaming market (though there is some startup doing "streaming" games, I forget their name but you can play crysis!). The target here is for tasks which used to be sent off to render farms for a day or two and would return a half dozen high resolution pictures. Previously the architect had to anticipate all the possible views/angles that their clients wanted to see.

      Now you can get the same high quality ray-traced graphics in almost real time which allows the a

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Video cards need high bandwidth to get textures, models and arrays into memory when needed. If the server farm already has all this in memory, then your just updating some state arrays to indicate the state of those objects, which lowers your bandwidth drastically.

      Your video subsystem has massive amounts of bandwidth to deal with the instantaneous needs that require huge amounts when the scene changes completely. If you're just standing there in some game, looking at the same spot and not moving, almost

  • Ok, it's time everybody! Break those old Sun SparcStation ELC's and SLC's out of storage!

    Oh, wait, you don't have one? How about all those SunRays you've got in the garage?

    No?

    Right.

    • by walshy007 (906710)

      How about all those SunRays you've got in the garage?

      The SunRays are sitting on top of my sun enterprise rack in my room, you insensitive clod! (not kidding, behind me to my right :) )

  • This is marketoid-think at its worst.

    Graphic rendering requires very low latency.

    Of all the things that might be done in the "cloud", realtime graphics is the silliest.

    But, the marketoids have been convinced that the "cloud" is the future, so they invent nonsense scenarios where their products can be used.

  • 1) We all had free, unrestricted and unlimited fast Internet links...
    2) Our GPU could pull on the idle processing power of all GPUs in the world...
    3) Everyone in the world got on with each other...(ok ok, off-topic here)...

    Seriously though, there is no way that one could support the network requirements of this...How many Nvidia GPUs are sold a year? F***ing eh...multiply that by the bandwidth require for 25-50fps for a 1080p image...the number is frightening.

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