DaaS-appearing trick: Netflix teases desktops-as-a-service product

Aimed at VFX creators working on shows it has commissioned, not the rest of us sadly


Netflix has teased a desktop-as-service (DaaS) offering.

It’s not, repeat not, a sign that Netflix has any ambitions to challenge Microsoft, Citrix, Teradici, Virtuozzo or VMware as a mainstream provider of virtual desktops.

The Register offers that analysis because Netflix’s announcement of the service names it “NetFX” and describes it as “a cloud-based platform that will make it easier for vendors, artists and creators to connect and collaborate on visual effects (VFX) for our titles.”

So totally not a mainstream DaaS even if the building blocks are identical. Netflix says the service offers “virtual workstations, integrated storage and full access to secure rendering in a connected environment” and is intended to “provide collaborators frictionless access to infrastructure to meet Netflix’s demand for VFX services around the world as our library of original content continues to grow.”

“Vendors will be able to contribute artist resources to optimize capacity and individuals can participate on-demand,” Netflix’s post says, adding “And this work can take place safely in a virtual environment, which is ever more important during the global pandemic.”

A friend of The Register who works in TV production suggested the mention of safe virtual work is a nod to the fact that the VFX industry relies on high-end workstations that animators may not currently be able to access due to COVID-19 movement lockdowns. While it is possible to remotely access such machines, the results don't deliver the speed animators adore.

By spinning up cloud workstations, Netflix thinks it can offer a better experience that helps both its suppliers and its production pipeline (and maybe makes a few workstation vendors nervous).

AMD pushes 64-core 4.2GHz Ryzen Threadripper Pro workstation processors

READ MORE

Netflix can conceivably deliver a satisfactory experience for animators because it is known to be a colossal customer of AWS, which offers a desktop-as-a-service product called “WorkSpaces”. One WorkSpaces instance type is called “GraphicsPro” and packs 16 vCPUs, 122 GB of RAM, a GPU and 8GB of video memory. That’s a decent spec for many graphics applications.

It’s also possible to create a custom WorkSpaces image, so it is not hard to imagine Netflix has created a WorkSpace full of its preferred software for creating and sharing VFX.

Netflix’s post says the service is currently offered to some of its Canadian suppliers and in 2021 will be offered to creative types in India.

“As the platform develops, we hope to offer NetFX in regions where infrastructure can be deployed,” the post adds. ®

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022