Mac Pro Compute Cloud

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ideonode, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. ideonode macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2008
    So, in the generally frustrating wait for a yet-to-be-announced new Mac Pro, I've begun looking around for alternatives (don't really need a Mac Pro, just a large compute engine, but I'm beholden to the Apple shiny...)

    Anyway, I got thinking - a lot of folk are thinking that Apple's new datacentre will be all about data (especially media) in the cloud. But does anyone think that they might also be offering a compute cloud as well, a la Amazon's EC2?

    I think it might be a good idea. I don't actually need the power of a dual-hexa all the time, and so I could save money by only renting the power when I needed it. Amazon have shown that compute in the cloud is viable, and Apple have the money to realise a serious competitor.

    Would you use a Mac Pro in the cloud? What objections would there be (other than bandwidth clogging)...?
  2. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Cloud computing is taking off fast. Allot of services are going that way including video and photo editing. Not sure how well it will work as bandwidth will be the big issue. Not sure if I want my stuff copied on someone elses computer. Seems the cloud will be pay as you go and will hate to see what the prices will be when everything is in the cloud. Still in it's infancy so only time will tell if it's worth it. Apples big server farm is definately about cloud computing. Privacy would be my major concern though.
  3. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Providing IT services and service level management is not one of Apple core competencies. Apple's internal folks don't do a reasonable job, but there is a difference between doing it for a single internal customer and doing it for a fee to anybody with money. Amazon started running webstores for other folks and providing back end API hooks into their systems so that businesss could also sell through Amazon's stores. That was part of the evolution of Amazon jumping into the cloud services business.

    Apple running the iTunes store and .mac is not the same thing. Apple runs their own, private "cloud"/"grid"/whatever you want to call it. It is a different task to run one for other folks. For your own stuff you can profile it and can project what demands are going to be. If you open a grid for anybody with money you really don't know what kind of workload is going to show up. It means virtual machines along with dynamic storage and network management. When you do that well it looks from the outside like the business is all about just hooking machines into a network and flipping a switch. It isn't.

    The new data center is Apple just catching up to where they should have been years ago. For a company with a heavy worldwide web presence the fact that they just had one single primary data center was a liability. Sure the new one is big but they are only on track to have just two. There are facetime call routing to do, itunes store , mobile me , ads , notification, potentially streaming music store, etc. etc. all with 20,000,000+ users. Just running Apple's back-end is going to take lots of room.

    Apple has bought some folks to perhaps bring up their own mapping service. What they do with that will be very telling. Is that is going to be something brought inside and then can only get to from Apple software or is it going to be a general web service available to anyone's mashup ? Apple's history points to the former not the latter. So far Apple is a much bigger consumer of other people's web services than creators of them. That just points to what their core competencies are.

    Apple may dip their toe in the services water with this online gaming thing. However, timesharing compute services, that is jumping into the deep end of the pool.

    People already use colocation macs.


    What haven't seen yet is someone with part time and/or metered services.

    Techinically only Mac OS X Server license is clear cut on allowing virtual machines per copy. So it won't be cheap to start up.

    Depends upon how your data grows and shrinks. For instance send 400MB of data for analysis which gets sliced and diced into more data and then get your answers out , 10MB , then it isn't bad. If going to ship GBs up and GBs down then it is a problem.
  4. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    What would I do with a Mac Pro in the cloud? Can't play games on it, not enough bandwidth for video rendering... Seems kind of useless to me.

    The point of a Mac Pro is you need that much power on your desk.
  5. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    That is actually more important, because that is the where the focus should be. It shouldn't really be "I want a Mac Pro in cloud" it should be more focus on "Can I place application foo" in the cloud.

    Wrong kind of app.

    Hmm, maybe you should tell Dreamworks.

    and Autodesk



    If the software using is adversely oriented toward doing remote batch jobs then probably not a good fit. Likewise software with hardware dongle keys and/or being locked to a single specific piece of hardware. However, once the software being leveraged is oriented to solving the problem in distributed fashion it is much easier to do.

    The primarily point of a Mac Pro is that you need to run certain apps. If you pose the solution so that the data has to be directly in front of you then not going to see the point. When the problem need to solve is 2-3+ times what you have on your desk, that is where there is better traction.

    Not every single app being run on a Mac Pro requires a Mac Pro. For folks with just one app that is the dominate computational power demand, moving it off may be an option.

    The "cloud" isn't suppose to do every the Mac Pro could do, just need to do one or two things much faster and only for a relatively short time. This is just like leasing computers short term in the physical world. If you have the space and the staff to support them, some businesses used to temporarily lease computers to fill some short term need. When the project is done you let them go. The cloud trades off needing to staff and physically move the computers with having to push/pull data a bit more.

    Similar model as folks going to Kinko's Office or an internet cafe to temporarily use a computer. In that model the person gets up and goes to the machine renting. In gamer history, not much different to where folks went to local video arcade.
  6. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    You don't always have to drag back and forth as much data you may think. If leave the data primarily in place remotely then bandwidth can be only an issue when screen size gets very big and/or there is is huge changes on the screen.

    Remote Xterms through ssh and VNC/Apple Remote/etc. run just fine over the general internet and VPN connections. People do web conferencing all the time. WebEx is a pretty big business and all of the screen content being delivered in those webconferences is over the general internet. The screen updates are usually limited so it doesn't break down.

    What you can do with a remote Mac Pro is connect to a virtual screen and run the Mac Pro from your something less than a Mac Pro .

    No, you can't run a full screen, fast paced first person shooter over vnc. Neither can you do a full screen quicktime/flash movie. You could certainly run something like Photoshop ( where screen updates are largely not highly animated ) in limited fashion.

Share This Page