A month or two ago I ran a CloudCamp in Wellington which was preceded by a presentation by a local company there, Greenbutton. The Greenbutton offering is , or at least should be, something of a poster child for a move to the cloud. Greenbutton leverages cloud processing to drive result for the bio sciences, geoscience and engineering and 3d artists. The demonstration I saw, given by lead architect at Greenbutton, Dave Fellowes, showed the value Greenbutton brings to 3d artists by accelerating their render jobs and reducing their processing time.
It was a pretty simple demonstration, Fellowes did a live demo and rendered 40 seconds or so of video, using Greenbutton to move the entire rendering workload to a collection of virtual machines sitting in an Azure data center. Despite the data travelling tens of thousands of miles on its roundtrip journey for processing, a rendering job that would have taken hours on a high performance on-premise machine, too a matter of minutes and was run through a commodity laptop connected with marginal WiFi in the backroom of a pub.
I watched the demo feeling excited and fortunate to be part of an industry which is enabling such incredible things as what Greenbutton is doing.
We’re also seeing companies using the high performance computing workload. One example is a company called Greenbutton, which has done a high performance scheduling and billing system on Azure. Another is Pixar, which has an application called RenderMan, which does rendering. Most large animation houses have their own clusters they do this rendering on. Pixar wanted to open up a market for smaller animation houses, little Pixars if you will. They’re working with Greenbutton to embed their technology into RenderMan. They can farm their rendering out to Azure and be billed on a usage basis. That’s a case where you have a large company and a smaller one working together and leveraging the power of the cloud to open up a whole new marketplace where they can be competitive. We call it the democratization of IT.
Greenbutton is a great story – both for the cloud and for New Zealand. See more about Greenbutton’s offering in the video below;