7 Hot Cloud Computing Innovations: Page 2

Posted September 30, 2010

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

(Page 2 of 3)

4. Making MMO gaming truly virtual.

As more games leverage the Internet, the appeal of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games grows. According to Strategy Analytics, revenues for MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) topped $5 billion worldwide in 2009, up 17 percent from 2008. The research firm predicts that revenues will reach $8 billion in 2014.

If a few of MMO games’ limitations are addressed, those numbers could grow even more. “MMO games are expensive to build and tend to be based on decades-old technology,” said Mark Richardson, CEO of Ashima Arts.

According to Richardson, the only thing “massive” about current MMOs is the audience. The typical world gamers inhabit is static and not terribly large. Moreover, the audiences themselves are only massive using yesterday’s measurements.

“The way that the underlying programs are parallelized from server to server means that the games can’t hold more than 10,000 people,” he said. The games address this through “sharding,” which means that the gaming audience is segmented. You only access a single, regional shard.

Instead of a “World of Warcraft” world, there are hundreds of separate worlds. These worlds tend also to be non-interactive – a player cannot really use a well, cut down a tree, or enter certain buildings because these are all simply stage props.

To conquer the limitations of virtual game worlds, Ashima Arts is building an MMO OS based on virtualization and cloud concepts. The Mirage OS turns each player interaction into a transaction. The OS has complete freedom to run transactions on any of its cloud servers.

“This creates tremendous opportunities for game designers to create virtual worlds, which are actually worlds, not limited approximations,” Richardson said. Moreover, these games will allow you to interact, potentially, with millions of players worldwide, rather than being restricted to a regional or skill-level shard.

Even if you have never played or intend to play an MMO game, the implications for training, education and conferencing are obvious.

5. Smoothing the transition with cloud gateways.

The cloud was originally intended to make it easier to use software over the Internet without loading client software. Of course, many organizations fret over exposing sensitive data assets to the Internet. As a result, many organizations have a few cloud applications running at the periphery of their operations, with the mission-critical ones kept in house.

Many of those on-premise applications benefit from features such as collaboration and remote access, which has led to hybrid clouds. “Hybrid clouds have, in many instances, become the information gateway to the public cloud, while allowing users to preserve the legacy core,” said Chris Weitz, Director of Deloitte Consulting.

Until very recently, these hybrid clouds were public-cloud/roll-your-own amalgams. However, any time vendors see potential customers laboring to create solutions like hybrid clouds, it’s only a matter of time until they begin offering products or services to displace the homegrown solutions.

“Easing users’ transition to the cloud is very important as more and more users are considering cloud adoption, but protecting their data is vital. Cloud storage gateway helps customers solve challenges with high-growth applications, allowing them to securely and seamlessly take advantage of elastic, pay-as-you-go cloud storage services,” said Joel Christner, chief scientist at cloud-storage vendor StorSimple.

Now, “cloud storage gateway” or “cloud storage on-ramp” devices are being deployed in data centers to enable the use of cloud storage as though it were traditional storage. These devices provide the workflow and processes expected of traditional storage (volume provisioning, LUN masking, snapshots), and incorporate a number of technologies to overcome cloud-centric challenges. Content-aware tiering with integrated storage ensures high-performance access to working-set data, while less frequently used data can be tiered to the cloud.

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Tags: cloud computing, iPad, smartphone, Cloud Storage, tablet

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