Cloud

Play with a 3D CAD program inside this post: This is what the future of software looks like

A cropped screenshot of IntelliCAD software running on this page.

Above: A cropped screenshot of IntelliCAD software running on this page.

Image Credit: Screenshot by Eric Blattberg / VentureBeat

We’re always telling you about the coolest new technology — but today we’re letting you try some graphically intensive software right inside this article.

Mainframe2, an ambitious cloud startup, can turn native Windows apps into cloud-based software that works inside any modern web browser. The company focuses on design, engineering, and science apps, which tend to be more graphically intensive than other business software — a reason many smaller software makers in those areas have yet to develop cloud-based versions of their apps.

Mainframe2 says they don’t have to — just hand your default Windows apps over to us, the company tells them. It hosts all its customers’ software on Amazon Web Services, ensuring a wide, reliable data center footprint, with plans to bring its platform to other cloud infrastructure vendors soon.

Since emerging from stealth mode last October, the company has been eager to showcase its wares. Today it’s shared an IntelliCAD demo with VentureBeat, enabling our readers to take the CAD software for a spin. You can try it on either Amazon’s East- or West-Coast servers (the closer you are to the servers, the less latency you’re likely to experience).

Just click either IntelliCAD embed below to try it out — and when you finish, be sure to share your experience in the comments section below. (If you aren’t sure where to begin, try rotating the model, as the demo suggests.)

U.S. West (California):

 

U.S. East (N. Virginia):

 

“The obvious difference from our Photoshop demo is that this is a much more demanding app,” Mainframe2 CEO Nikola Bozinovic wrote in an email to VentureBeat. “It’s a good reference for how smooth other high-end graphics apps can be on Mainframe2 — things like 3D CAD, animation, or video editing software.”

Mainframe2 runs the apps on Amazon Web Services and then converts each frame to H.264 video, which gets piped over to your Internet-connected device. It should work for any HTML5-capable web browser without the need for plugins like Java or Flash, though Bozinovic notes that it works best in Chrome and Firefox right now.

Software makers reap a few benefits from bringing their Windows apps to Mainframe2. First and foremost, they can turn their apps into service-based businesses with very little effort, but they also benefit from other Mainframe2 features, like real-time collaboration.

Mainframe2 has 15 full-time employees split between its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and a separate office in Serbia. It has taken $650,000 in seed financing, according to the company, and began generating revenue in January. The company will be profitable next quarter, asserts Bozinovic.