"A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy graphical content) are still too large to easily transfer using the Internet or company wide area networks (WANs). Historically, high-powered desktop computers with dedicated 3D graphics hardware have been required to support data creation and modification. In addition, due to large file sizes, the 3D data needed to be on the local network, since opening the files from remote servers was too time-consuming. Over the last few decades, businesses have become much more global. Medium-sized and even small businesses are able to leverage resources around the globe due to advances in transportation, logistics, computing, and communication technologies. "Design Anywhere, Build Anywhere" has become an important strategy to take advantage of distributed resources for delivering better products faster and at lower cost. To execute this strategy, the right data and applications have to be accessible to the right people at the right time, independent of where the people are located.
CIMdata's research into remote 3D graphics and virtualization technology has shown that their benefits are real. Data access and security issues can be addressed by leveraging remote 3D graphics technology. The latest solutions for virtualization allow predictable, scalable performance to be distributed efficiently for the rendering and visualization of large graphical data sets. Upcoming enhancements in graphics-processing unit (GPU) virtualization will make the technology even more cost effective and flexible.
In this paper, CIMdata reviews business issues associated with data and 3D applications that can now be addressed by remote access technology. This paper also includes an overview of virtualization-a key technology that enables flexible cost-effective implementation of a 3D visualization strategy.