I must admit I have been slacking on my blogging duties as I have been quite busy. This past weekend I was the best man at my best buddy’s wedding, and my MBA program has been dumping a ton of work on me. I should be working on a paper right now as a matter of fact…but I do not feel like it. Anyhow, my blog topic today is what I believe to be the future of personal computing. Now everyone knows the term cloud computing, and we’ve seen the basis of this in cloud storage and remote desktop programs, but I believe that cloud computing could be a lot more. Let me explain further.
Remoting into a Super Gaming Rig
When I was scrolling through Instagram (or Facebook – one of those), I stumbled upon an ad for a gaming service called Shadow. This ad claimed high performance gaming PCs for all. This ad intrigued me, so I took a closer look. For $36 a month you could essentially rent a virtual gaming PC on a remote server. I figured hey for $36 it would be worth a shot. I was able to quickly sign up, download the application on my Mac and log in. Getting the virtual PC to boot up the first time admittingly was no easy task – it took a few tries. However, when I was able to log in and start up the Windows machine, I was amazed. Being the nerd that I am, I quickly pulled up the system information to see what kind of specs this thing had, and I was not disappointed. I deduced that my virtual machine had a 12 core Intel processor, 12GB of RAM, and a graphics card with 16GB of VRAM. In short, this computer was far from a slouch.
The Gaming Experience
So after I checked out the specs, I loaded up a game. The hot game of the moment is the free battle royal first-person shooter, Apex Legends, so I decided that would be my first tester. I plugged in a gaming mouse that my roomie, Dylan, was gracious enough to let me borrow and dove into a match. The graphics and performance were incredible. I was immediately immersed in the game, and I was hooked. I played for hours the first night, and I realized that I may be converted from a console gamer to a PC gamer. There were a few hiccups the first night of play, but this was solely based on the fact that the wireless access in my house is much to be desired. We have more than enough bandwidth on the network, but the house layout and the placement of our router hindered the connection (much packet loss for those who know what that means). However, this was quickly fixed with by using a wired connection. This whole experience got me thinking, why can’t we replicate this for everyday computing?
Next Level Cloud Computing
Many organizations are constantly needing to update their user’s hardware to keep up with the performance demands of the latest and greatest graphics/processing intensive applications. What if these applications lived on a central server and employees/students/users accessed these applications through their low powered devices? Cloud computing is definitely done on a small scale for storage but what if this became the norm for every organization? Way back in the day personal computers were not widely accessible, so users had to punch into mainframes through physical terminals in data centers to do their computing. We can take this model and bring it into the present by building massive data centers for major corporations and centralizing everyone’s applications. Centralized cloud computing would take the processing load off of the individual user and put it back on the organization. Organizations would only have to worry about their servers, not the individual user’s hardware. The user could theoretically use their own low-end laptops to access processing intensive applications, but not relying on their physical device’s processing power. This would particularly be useful for creative video professionals that need massive amounts of graphics processing power to encode their high-definition video files. Most popular software nowadays has been converted to the subscription model, might as well sell licenses on a large scale to organizations with server farms.
Network Speeds…The Only Roadblock
Now what I said above all great right? So what is stopping us from taking everything to the cloud? Well, in short, Internet speeds. The Internet speeds that the average consumer has access to in the United States is atrocious. We spend so much money on Internet access, and our speeds are barely on par with other developed nations. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have a stranglehold on us because they essentially have a monopoly on specific regions. I can go on for longer about this, but I will spare you the details. The amount of bandwidth I needed for my cloud gaming experience was pretty substantial because the Shadow app was essentially sending me a very large video stream coupled with a KVM server. I pay extra to Comcast every month to get access to a “high-speed” connection. I hope that with the introduction to the 5G cellular network that the United States could bypass the ISPs and just use the mobile providers for universal Internet access.
In conclusion, I think full cloud computing is where we are headed. I was super impressed with the performance of the Shadow cloud gaming service that I tried, and I think it should be replicated for other types of applications. Anyways, I am going to get my head out of the clouds and get back to work! Richie out…