You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Powua, "The Super Internet Computer", supports Blender

15

logo-powua.jpgPowua is a super computer consisting of many processors that work simultaneously to generate a high computing power, which users can access from wherever they are, directly on their computer, through a simple Internet connection.

With easy access to a super computer you have the possibility of experiencing more power for your ideas and saving time and money. With Powua you can count on a very fast computer just when you need it and for the time required. Any activity, from rendering to mathematical computing, will be faster than ever.

Marco Ghirlanda, of the Powua project, writes:

Powua is the Super Internet Computer; it has been created in order to allow anyone to save time by processing information and realizing their projects more quickly. Powua is a commercial project based on free and open software and made by a Team of professionals from Italy, with a strong focus on free and open technologies and communities.

We are in Beta at the moment and would be happy to hear your comments and suggestions about using Blender on Powua.

Using Blender on Powua can have multiple advantages:

1. First of all, availability. Every time a Powua User will reserve a cluster for his/her work, he/she will be able to use the software, already installed, configured and ready to work in parallel (where possible).

2. Bug hunting: using a software on a supercomputer is a sort of stress test by itself. The Powua Team is ready to accurately report every strange behavior shown by the program.

3. The chance to see Blender running on multiple machines working together. Even applications that are not ready to run on clusters can expand their range of possibilities when used on several machines.

4. More Powua for Blender! Our machines comes with the GNU GCC and other building tools installed and configured, so that you can build Blender directly from source code and test it directly in a Debian environment!

About the Powua Development Team and their Mission

We are a small team of Italian developers/open source fanatics :-) and we cannot afford yet big communication. So we are doing it "from the base" and let people judge by themselves.

Ten percent of Powua hours (fixed, our CPUs are growing) are going to be free forever. Ten percent of our net incomes for each fiscal year goes to free software. This is our foundation and it's written in our company policy and we will not change it in the future (unless for giving more hours & more money back to community :-) ). We are the only one who do this practically from the beginning, whatever we will be. It was not easy, but we can start from a "fair" position.

When you get a 8 cpu on Powua you get exactly that. It's like you're physically in front of 4 dual core machines, 4 gigs each of ram, one with a fiberchannel connection to your 3 gigs of storage. NO "virtual" power like other services. We are different both on the philosophical side AND the services we offer. Of course, we can offer 256 CPUs (as of now) as our maximum, but remember, we are young (all in our 30's) and fun people. No corporations here, just people trying to do what they like as good as they can.

We will release all the code we make (starting in a few weeks with the client) under open licenses and submit patches, errors, abnormal behavior under stress and so on back to developers. We also encourage developers of plugins for Blender, people with indy projects or just personal demos and so on, that need to use a render farm, to contact us soon.

We would like, in the long run, to let private people use the service for free and have most of our cashflow from SME (small medium enterprises) who are willing to use those services for short periods or try them before buying but we need people to use this thing now.

As for Blender, we actively seek advice on how to empower the Desktop of Powua with models (free repositories ordered in easy links and already downloaded) to be used for free, textures (same for models) and as such. This material we could easily keep on our servers for the community to have it always online under a free repository (we can pay for the bandwidth and rack space and entitle a foundation or NGO). These are just some thoughts. Having, for example, installed into Blender a set of "stable" plugins already configured for the user would definitely add some easiness to the whole thing.

I'm sure we can help the Blender community and have fun. Money is important but giving out REAL services is definitely more.

Read more about the Powua mission...

Here are some tips that I've put together based on my experience with using the service:

  • Okay, the first thing to do would be to just read over their site to get a good idea of what they are offering. It's similar to a renderfarm with the added ability to actually use Blender on their array of computers. So, let's say a render isn't quite right, you can easily make some adjustments right there on the spot. In fact, while one thing is rendering, you could be making some last minute adjustments to another file. Basically, you get to control an array of computers remotely, as though they were one computer. There are a lot of other applications loaded as well (Inkscape, Gimp, etc.). Their service is also good for many other applications as well and I would definitely suggest reading their materials because you might find it useful for things other than Blender.
  • Sign up. You'll get a confirmation email along with a link to request a code for free access (500 credits! I think that comes to about three hours.)
  • You'll be required to install a few applications (client interface, etc.). The one catch with the software is that their current VNC software won't process any MMB functions. This is definitely not good while using Blender. So, use UltraVNC instead (or a similar VNC app for your OS) and everything will work as expected.
  • You need to reserve time via the interface on their site. It's very important to ensure that you setup the correct time zone otherwise you won't be in sync with the timeslot that you think you have reserved. They display the server's clock on the scheduling page so be sure it matches your time.
  • To login, start their client software. That should bring you to the file manager. You can minimize that window (or close it) because you want to use UltraVNC. Load the UltraVNC Server and then load the UltraVNC Viewer.
  • Connect with the Viewer using: yourusername.got.powua.com:1 (1 is the desktop, not a port number) and login with the username and password you chose at the registration.
  • You should see a Linux desktop. From the program menu, you can see all of the applications available. You can use the file manager to create directories and upload workfiles, etc.
  • The service isn't totally free but, they are offering a very generous deal.

Visit the Powua homepage.
Get more info about how Powua works.
Read the Powua FAQs.
Get the Powua Downloads.
Learn How to Render a Blender Animation on Powua.
Find out how to win thousands of Powua hours!!

15 Comments

  1. Ok, here are some of my thoughts:

    The good:
    A complete virtual desktop (of debian linux) that gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. Unlike other online computing resources where the user has to upload the file and wait for the server to spit back the renders. With this, you are in control. You can even browse the internet while you work. (although I can see how this could be a privacy/security risk)

    The bad:

    The network performance is rather disappointing right now, peaking at 50kBps while my connection is capable of 500KBps. Maybe because the server is in Europe? As a result, the interface is very slow.

    I'll keep this service in mind, might come handy later.

  2. For a networked cluster, there are Linux distributions on LiveCD's that you can run to easily form a cluster. The Linux Beowulf project was originally developed at NASA about 15 years ago. A majority of the worlds top supercomputers use it (or a variation of it). There are many Linux distributions that offer live cd's that can be booted to form a cluster. One of the main sites for these distros is at http://www.lcic.org/distros.html#cluster
    The main Beowulf site is at:
    http://www.beowulf.org/
    The Open Source Cluster Application Resources (OSCAR) site is at:
    http://oscar.openclustergroup.org/
    ..and while I'm at it, the website tracking the 500 fastest computers in the world currently is at:
    http://www.top500.org
    and the database showing who is using what system here:
    http://www.top500.org/stats/list/29/os
    Cheers!

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with Gravatar.com. To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.