Richard Lewis Takes On the Pipeline
RL: I’m just going to go out on a limb and predict they’re not going to make any money doing this. NVIDIA is not going to make any money; Autodesk is not going to make any money. Eventually from a business standpoint there are better places to put their money to make money. But the good thing is it does enable a little bit more use of the technology.
We’ve even thought maybe schools just use our software and they allot, as a grant, a certain number of hours of rendering to every student. Beyond that maybe the student pays on a credit card themselves for additional hours of rendering. That’s very sort of cloud-ish but it is on capacity that the school owns. Maybe someday it could be on capacity outside the school but the easiest would be to do that around their home.
But that’s a different kind of licensing model. It’s a service to the student. If they really want to do great work for their portfolio and spend a lot of time on it they can pay a little more. Maybe more rendering is a service. Put more of the burden on the student to eventually rent the applications they’re using rather than ask the school to provide it.
That would take a lot of coordination of vendors and things like that. But, that’s kind of an answer of how we could start to help more people do more rendering without a huge capital expense. So Autodesk and NVIDIA are letting people taste GPU rendering with a cloud offering. That’s a single artist or a single architect that wants to do a still rendering. But if you’re using 3ds Max and you have 100 artists and you’re doing animation, can you really do that work and guarantee to your customers it will be done on time by using a shared unscheduled cloud resource? I mean, I just don’t know how those business models work. I used to rent equipment in Hawaii in the day when SGI equipment was really expensive. RFX, one of my resellers, did a lot of rentals in LA but that is a very hairy business. It’s a similar business. I’m going to carry expensive computing capacity, waiting for you to need it and then you want to use it you want it really cheap.
DS: For a very short period of time…
RL: For a short period of time. Then, whatever I bought is depreciating like mad.
DS: Yeah. Sounds like a good plan to me!
RL: Right, and it didn’t work out on enterprise storage. You know, your disk drives are doubling every whatever - Moore’s Law and all that. So those companies that invested millions of dollars in data center storage, two years later you can buy all that for 5% of the cost. So it’s just not a business model. A better business model is to outsource complete management of your facilities, the way General Motors does with EDS...
DS: I was going to say the EDS model.
RL: Yeah, then you’re bringing in experts who provide value, and you don’t have to train people and recruit people and hire people. That’s really an HR kind of a problem. And so to that extent that’s where our training and our consulting comes in. We’re not your render wrangler, but we’ll get a render wrangler up to speed, trained, and support them so they can be effective.