Mainframe2 is candidate to be added soon to a list of game changing cloud technologies like Dropbox & Spotify. We are already familiar with music streaming from the cloud, documents storage in the cloud and we might soon be running any application from the cloud using only a browser.
Mainframe2 is a US startup which came out of stealth mode in October 2013 after developing the solution for two years. They offer a new cloud service which enables to use graphical intensive applications like Adobe AutoCAD , Photoshop or Autodesk Inventor from any HTML5 compatible browser. With no plugins needed! Any device like a Windows desktop, an iOS tablet, a Macbook or Linux machine can use Mainframe2 applications as long as it has a HTML5 browser. Currently however during beta Mainframe2 supports the latest Chrome (Windows/Mac) or Safari (Mac) browsers.
Click here for a live try of Mainframe2
There is no need to adjust applications to be able to run those in the cloud. Applications which run on a Windows can be uploaded to the Mainframe2 platform and can be used within ten minutes of installation.
The remoting protocol is based on H.264. The secret sauce of Mainframe2 kind of makes screenshots of the app and sends it to the endpoint using a variable number of frames per second.
Mainframe2 uses the Amazon EC cloud platform and specifically the G2 instance type which features the powerful NVIDIA GRID GPUs. Cloud storage providers like Box and Dropbox can be used to store files. Mainframe2 also supports storage on-site.
Charging is based on pay as you go. So you do not need to own expensive software anymore but consume it from Mainframe2 during the time you actually need the software.
Target customers are enterprises and software vendors wanting to enter the SaaS arena. Lots of traditional Windows software is hard to convert for running in the cloud. While protocols like RemoteFX, HDX and PCoIP improve they are still not reliable for usage over long distance connections. Mainframe2 promises a great performance.
Users of Mainframe2 service can use multiple applications running in an instance at the same time. Copy/paste is possible between apps as well as access control.
The service is currently available in limited early access program for selected customers & in demo and runs in a single Amazon datacenter in the US West location. In 2014 the service will be offered in more Amazon datacenters in the US as well as in Europe. Early access program in Europe is expected in Q1 2014 with wider availability coming in Q2.
Brain Madden has written a nice blog about Mainframe2 here.