Cloud meets hardware: The inevitable merger

The evidence is piling up: Hardware systems will increasingly work in tandem with the cloud.

Nvidia this week outlined what it dubbed a revolutionary plan to change the graphic processing game by offloading some computing to the cloud.

For Nvidia, the cloud meets GPU effort would enable things like better online gaming and data crunching for supercomputing.

In a statement, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang outlined the company’s Nvidia VGX platform, used to accelerate desktop virtualization, Tesla GPUs and the GeForce GRID for cloud gaming platforms. Huang said:

The GPU has become indispensable. It is central to the experience of gamers. It is vital to digital artists realizing their imagination. It is essential for touch devices to deliver silky smooth and beautiful graphics. And now, the cloud GPU will deliver amazing experiences to those who work remotely and gamers looking to play untethered from a PC or console.

Nvidia's idea is interesting in that it takes silicon and uses the cloud effectively. Intel's vPro chips, which allow for remote monitoring, could also be a cog in the hardware-meets cloud machine.

But this hardware to cloud movement has been bubbling under the surface for a while. Using Amazon Web Services is not that much different than having a server in-house. Google has outlined Android for robotics with the rough idea that robots could organize by integrating with cloud computing.

Sure, robots may not be packing much processing power, but much of the computing tasks could be offloaded to the cloud, argued Google at its I/O conference last year.

My hunch is that hardware players will increasingly make use of the cloud to save power, do higher-level computing and assess their surroundings. Nvidia's move drives the point home: Hardware systems will increasingly work in tandem with the cloud.

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