Cloud

Mainframe2, which pipes Windows apps to your browser, gets a boost from Amazon

Mainframe2 supports Amazon Web Services' new G2 instance type

Above: Mainframe2 supports Amazon Web Services' new G2 instance type

Image Credit: Photo Illustration: Eric Blattberg

Mainframe2 promises to run graphically intensive Windows software right in your web browser. To do that reliably, it’s getting a little help from Amazon.

We told you about the company when it emerged from stealth mode last month. The vision is definitely compelling, but an early, cloud-based Photoshop demo we tried felt a bit sluggish, particularly for our West Coast reporter. But thanks to Amazon Web Service’s new G2 instance type (think of cloud “instances” as virtual servers that can run applications), Mainframe2 can now run on Amazon’s cloud platform — which should equate to less latency for most users, given AWS’ global footprint.

Mainframe2 has been working on AWS support for months, according to the company’s founder and CEO, Nikola Bozinovic, who demoed the service at this week’s Amazon re:Invent conference.

Mainframe2 supports native Windows applications, so software vendors don’t have to rebuild their apps for the web in order to run them on Mainframe2. After software makers complete a quick install process — it only takes 10 minutes, claims Bozinovic — Mainframe2 can deliver their app to any HTML5-equipped web browser, whether it’s on a PC, tablet, or a phone. Mainframe2 runs the apps in remote data centers then converts each frame to H.264 video, which the service pipes over the web to your browser.

The end goal is to make science and engineering applications available to everyone with an Internet connection (and perhaps a bit of cash to spare).

“Software has become a cornerstone of our civilization and the most important tool that we have,” Bozinovic told VentureBeat in an interview last month. “But we don’t have an easy way to put software tools into the hands of the next billion people, and that’s the best chance we have to spur innovation and move us all forward.”

Founded in summer 2012, Mainframe2 is based in Menlo Park, CA and is currently operating its service as a private beta. The startup raised a seed round this spring with participation from Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Plug and Play Tech Center, and a few Silicon Valley-based angel investors.