4-page Case Study
Posted: 3/20/2011
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InterGrid GreenButton GreenButton Super Computing Power in the Cloud

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.

 

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* We have developed GreenButton into an easy to use and cost effective interface on the Windows Azure platform. This new solution opens up global opportunities for us in the industrial engineering and design sectors. We absolutely have to have a global, stable player in the cloud market that is behind our solution, and with Microsoft behind us, our future is looking very bright. *

Scott Houston,
Founder and CEO of InterGrid

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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.

Solution

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.

The company considered offerings from a number of cloud services providers: Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), Rackspace, Google and Windows Azure from Microsoft. After evaluating all of the services, InterGrid chose the Windows Azure platform.

“The opportunity to grow with Windows Azure was a clear one, we have worked very closely with Microsoft and have achieved staggering performance together” explains Scott.

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* I doubt other cloud service providers have a global presence that is on par with Microsoft, and none seem to have the level of service Microsoft offers. Microsoft has a strong commitment to the cloud, and it’s obvious that they’re in it for the long haul – which is what we need. *

Scott Houston
Founder and CEO of InterGrid

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Building on its previous concept of embedding the plugin into applications for on-demand computing power, InterGrid developed its GreenButton solution on Windows Azure. GreenButton can be embedded in many software applications where achieving both the rapid processing of work is of benefit, but also the actual offloading and freeing up current infrastructure is important.

To conduct a proof-of-concept deployment, InterGrid engaged Right Hemisphere, an independent software vendor (ISV) whose products, such as its software application Deep Exploration, help world leading manufacturing companies unify, synchronize, and deliver visual product and business information. InterGrid also worked closely with three-dimensional visualization solution provider and Microsoft Partner, Nextspace, to enable networking capabilities in the Deep Exploration application, and then to embed GreenButton.

InterGrid launched its GreenButton service to the market in July 2010 at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

Benefits

The main benefits of developing GreenButton on Windows Azure include have allowed InterGrid to:

  • Increase scalability to dramatically shorten compute-heavy processes

  • Improve the ability to cost-effectively render designs as needed

  • Typical video rendering times can be improved by more than 95 percent

  • Deliver a viable solution with a reliable and trustworthy partner

  • Open up new global opportunities in the industrial engineering and design sectors

  • Identify a list of more than 1,000 applications in the oil and gas, digital media, design and manufacturing, biotechnology, and financial modeling industries across 100 million potential users of GreenButton that could immediately recognize similar scalability and cost-saving benefits

“This is a clear example of how cloud computing can accelerate computing processes,” says Scott.

“We have partnered with Microsoft to develop GreenButton into an easy to use and cost effective interface on the Windows Azure platform. This new solution opens up global opportunities for us in the industrial engineering and design sectors. The future is very bright, especially with a global, stable player in the cloud – Microsoft – behind us.”

Aside from opening new opportunities, InterGrid is able to deliver tremendous value to independent software vendors and their customers.

By building GreenButton on Windows Azure, InterGrid can deliver a cost-effective, scalable solution and has the opportunity to reach another 100 million industry users with a reliable, trustworthy platform.

© 2011 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, [list other trademarks referenced] are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners..
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 14 employees

Organization Profile

InterGrid is a New Zealand registered software company expanding into Asia and the USA. It is a market leader in Cloud Computing services and the company’s GreenButton software is one of the world’s first true Cloud Computing solutions. The GreenButton is the user-friendly front end for industrial strength Cloud Computing. The system enables applications to run on computer processing, storage and network infrastructure that would be outside the budget of all but the wealthiest institutions.


Business Situation

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.


Solution

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. The company considered offerings from a number of cloud services providers: Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), Rackspace, Google and Windows Azure from Microsoft. After evaluating all of the services, InterGrid chose the Windows Azure platform.


Benefits
Windows Azure has allowed InterGrid to:
  • Increase scalability to dramatically shorten compute-heavy processes
  • Improve the ability to cost-effectively render designs as needed
  • Improve typical video rendering times by more than 95 percent
  • Deliver a viable solution with a reliable and trustworthy partner
  • Open up new global opportunities in the industrial engineering and design sectors such as oil and gas, digital media, design and manufacturing, biotechnology, and financial modelling.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Cloud Services

Vertical Industries
  • Process Manufacturing & Resources
  • Architecture, Engineering & Construction
  • Media & Cable

Country/Region
New Zealand

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

Languages
English

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