Remote geosciences data visualization (March 2014)

ISN trials Nvidia/Cisco proof of concept graphics system to ‘see if hype is justified.’

In our interview with Paradigm’s Urvish Vashi last month we discussed the problems of remote visualization of highly graphical applications in the cloud. ISN CTO Paul Downe addressed this in a blog post last month, outlining the rationale behind running geosciences apps remotely, a trend that he describes a ‘one of the newest and most interesting IT concepts in the industry.’

Remoting geosciences apps brings opportunities for data consolidation and centralisation, enhanced security, better collaboration, reduced data duplication and improved version control. Many companies today operate with high-end graphics-intensive workstations with local data storage. Frequently there will be multiple workstations in different locations around the world, each with copies of the same data. Moving to the cloud centralizes data and graphics-intensive processing power that is accessible from anywhere and from any device.

ISN and partners Cisco and Nvidia are running a proof of concept system to trial remote applications on real customer data ‘to see if the hype is justified.’ The setup comprises a Cisco C240 M3 server and Nvidia’s VGX K2 at the data center. This offers ‘outstanding’ rendering performance from twin Kepler GPUs, each with 1536 CUDA cores and 4GB of video RAM.

At the client end, ISN proposes a Citrix XenDesktop with HDX remote desktop. WAN capability is optimized with Citrix’ CloudBridge which reduces bandwidth requirement and application traffic considerably. Downe will be reporting on the system tests over the next few weeks. Follow him here.

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