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Amazon Web Services has chosen to use Advanced Micro Devices’ graphics technology to run graphics software in the cloud. The net result is that it could become a lot cheaper to process graphics-intensive apps in the cloud, rather than on a local machine.

AMD said in a blog post that it’s no secret most enterprise applications — from standard Windows productivity apps to engineering software — run better when they are accelerated by graphics processing units (GPUs). Traditionally, those apps have run on heavy-duty workstations on local machines.

But with the cloud, that processing can be done in the data center. And it can be done faster now because AMD has designed a chip, the AMD Radeon Pro MxGPU (multiuser GPU) for data center computers. AWS can now run graphics applications in the cloud for as many as 16 users at a time, reducing the cost of cloud processing and enabling new benefits for users.

For instance, users who tap the graphics processing power in the cloud will no longer need intensive hardware, such as workstations, to run engineering software. That software can be processed in the cloud and the results sent over the internet to the user’s machine, which no longer needs as much processing power. That cuts the user’s hardware costs dramatically.


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Michael DeNeffe, director of cloud graphics and AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, said in a blog post that the number of applications needing graphics acceleration is growing rapidly. Graphics in the cloud enable apps to be executed in the cloud and then delivered remotely. Data can be stored centrally and securely. And creating new designs can be done on any device, anywhere on the network.

“I call this secure mobility,” DeNeffe said. “Enabling secure mobility sounds great, but doing it efficiently and cost-effectively can be a challenge. This is where Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AMD come in.”

AWS will use AMD’s chips for the new graphics design instance type on Amazon AppStream 2.0, which is a fully managed secure application streaming service that allows a user to stream desktop applications from AWS to any device running a web browser.

“With Graphics Design instances, users can run graphics-accelerated applications at a fraction of the cost of using graphics workstations and can lower the cost of streaming a graphics app on AppStream 2.0 by up to 50 percent,” DeNeffe said.

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