LeoNovus, which is publicly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto, has found a new way to do cloud computing; and it promises a higher level of geographic dispersion, security, privacy, and redundancy. It marshals unused computing power in PCs, set-top boxes, and other devices in order to create a distributed data center, or a geographically dispersed supercomputer that does the work of a centralized corporate data center. LeoNovus argues its tech is a lot cheaper and more power efficient than current data centers. And now it has a customer vouching for its technology with Picture Mosaics.
Picture Mosaics takes a bunch of consumer photos, uploads them to a cloud, and renders them into a photo mosaic. It also does video mosaics. Ordinarily, it has to use a lot of computing power in order to do that. But with LeoNovus, the company can spread the work across 20 processing cores and get a much faster turnaround in processing multimedia files. This helps Picture Mosaics because it has to satisfy consumers on demand, Albert Charpentier, CEO of Blue Bell, Pa.-based Picture Mosaics, told VentureBeat in an interview.
“We’ve gone from around 36 hours down to 18 hours of processing time,” Charpentier said. “Time is money. Our producers may do the work in a day instead of three days. That saves us thousands of dollars.”
Picture Mosaics has worked with LeoNovus for a few months. Picture Mosaics has made state-of-the-art photo mosaic software that lets consumers and enterprises create high-quality, custom mosaics across every print and multimedia genre. Consumers use it to create personalized portraits, mosaic videos, large-scale murals, and interactive mosaics.
“We have a small compute farm on site, but to push this out globally, LeoNovus is the only solution,” Charpentier said. “It’s a win-win solution and a no brainer for us.”
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based LeoNovus has a plan to distribute free set-top boxes for hotel rooms. Normally, the hotels have to pay for these boxes that connect the TV to movies and games. But now the hotels can get them for free and even make money from them. In exchange, the hotels let LeoNovus use the unused computer power inside these boxes. LeoNovus marshals these resources into what it calls a “distributed data center.” It then leases these distributed data centers to other companies that need computing power.
As announced last year, LeoNovus has a deal with a small town — Stratford, Ontario — where it’s testing this technology. The town’s 32,000 residents are getting free Internet access and a free set-top box from the town.
Gordon Campbell, chief executive of LeoNovus, said in previous interviews that LeoNovus, and its related research company Sviral, have figured out how to take “dark cores,” or unused central processing units (CPUs) and assign tasks for them to handle in a massively parallel program (one that does a lot of things at once). The idea has been around for years, but LeoNovus said in March that it and its sister company Sviral have cracked the code on how to do it. LeoNovus promises fast, secure, and cost-effective compute and storage services for enterprises.
Campbell is the founder of such Silicon Valley companies as QuickSilver Technologies and Chips and Technologies. He told us in March that distributed data center services are just one application of the new technology.
“We are currently scaling our projects for more concurrency and expect to achieve at least 3x performance,” Charpentier said. “This is a great fit for delivering high-performance concurrent computing so that we can increase our productivity [and] efficiency and deliver time-sensitive projects. We also have high value clients that are concerned about higher reliability and security of their multimedia assets, which the LeoNovus distributed cloud service delivers above and beyond servers housed in commercial data centers.”
“We are extremely pleased that we can scale Picture Mosaics workloads on demand to achieve greater efficiency for a faster time to market,” said Campbell.
LeoNovus’ sister company, Sviral, recently raised $20 million to use the cloud technology for its own purposes.