Case Study: Green Button Super Computing Power with Azure

Mar 6 2014 11:10 PM

InterGrid, a specialist Internet software developer, helps deliver on-demand computing power to rapidly process complex computing tasks in the cloud. Its solution, known as the GreenButton, provides customised plugins to sit on existing desktop software.

Business Needs

InterGrid is an on-demand provider that offers cost-effective solutions to complex computing problems. While many customers desire additional processing power at their fingertips, paying to have it sit on the desktop isn’t practical. InterGrid saw an opportunity with organizations that need only occasional bursts of super-computing power – for instance, using 3D modeling and animation software to render high-quality, photorealistic images.

InterGrid developed its GreenButton solution on the Windows Azure platform, hosted through Microsoft datacentres. Available to software vendors that serve industries such as manufacturing, design and industrial engineering, GreenButton can be embedded into desktop applications to give users the ability to call on the power of cloud computing as needed.

Intergrid’s customers often render photorealistic designs, such as those used by automobile manufacturers to illustrate car prototypes, that require significant computer processing power and can take days to manually process. These organizations are finding that they need to render higher quality images more often, and replicate their designs faster, which is where GreenButton comes in. To put in place an infrastructure that would deliver the additional high-performance computing power needed for those complex processes would be cost-prohibitive and unrealistic.

Scott Houston, founder and CEO of InterGrid says, “We go back to Lord of the Rings - Return of The King days. Some might remember the huge investment Weta and Gen-i made in the New Zealand Super Computer Centre in order to support the rendering and processing requirements for the final Lord of the Rings movie. Once the movie was finished this vast resource was predominantly un-utilized”

“I was the CTO at Weta at the time and had the idea of the GreenButton to bring supercomputing power to the average user.”

InterGrid initially developed and supplied the plugin that is embedded in customers’ software applications to give users the ability to access on-demand, high-performance computing at the push of a button. InterGrid have also created a Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow other software vendors to re-use the plugin technology.

InterGrid saw a huge market opportunity if the solution could reach more than 100 million end-users worldwide. However, the resources at the New Zealand Super Computer Centre, while robust, were limited. The physical location was nearly to capacity, and building a new location was expensive and inefficient. In addition, New Zealand’s internet capacity was a bottleneck. To continue the vision of a super computer at the push of a button, other options had to be considered.

Instead of building its own infrastructure, InterGrid decided to find a cloud computing provider that it could team with, to offer an on-demand solution for customers who need occasional bursts of super-computing power.

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