In 1991, Mark Weiser published an article entitled "The Computer for the 21st Century" , which proposed a new concept:
Mark Wieser believes that in the future, computers will be integrated into the network, into the environment, into life, and computer equipment will become smaller and cheaper, and will be completely integrated into daily life so that users will not even notice its existence.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates once put forward a similar view. He believes that computers will be like "invisible people", unknowingly blending into everyone's life.
Although Mark Wieser passed away in 1999, the development of computers has been moving in the direction he predicted. The arrival of cloud computing allows us to see a more similar carrier for "ubiquitous computing"-cloud computers.
In the era of cloud computing, the PC and even the experience of each terminal device will no longer be determined by the hardware configuration, but will depend on the cloud computing power. Everyone only needs to share a "cloud computer" .
Is "Cloud Computer" the future of PC?
You may have many question marks about "cloud computers", but in fact you should be no stranger to it.
In the Marvel movie "Iron Man 3", Iron Man uses cloud computing to model an explosion caused by a terrorist attack at home. The details of the explosion are displayed on the AR screen in real time. However, such complex calculations do not require cumbersome The host, Iron Man can be completed with only a small handheld device.
This is actually an ideal form of cloud computing. Cloud computing is actually a computing-based service. It does not need to be equipped with a host locally like a traditional PC, but instead concentrates computing resources such as desktops, applications, and hardware in the cloud data center. in.
Since cloud computers can put more than 99% of the computing power in the cloud, there is almost no requirement for the performance of user terminal devices .
Users only need a small networked terminal device, connected to a display and input devices, and can access exclusive desktops, personal applications, and various data like a traditional PC.
While the size of the computer terminal is greatly reduced, complex calculations that originally required some high-performance hosts, such as animation rendering and code testing, can be completed. A series of complex operations such as virtual 3D projection can be completed in the small Iron Man helmet. Realized by cloud computer.
In addition to making the host "disappear", compared with traditional PCs, cloud computers have many advantages.
For example, upgrading the system and patching vulnerabilities are carried out in the cloud, without personal operation;
The data is stored in the cloud, so there is no need to worry about data loss due to equipment damage, personal and corporate data will never be lost
The configuration of terminal hardware is no longer important, so low-power design can be used to reduce costs and extend service life.
Through the cloud computer, a worn-out device in your hand can be transformed into a high-performance computer equipped with an RTX 3090 graphics card and an 11th-generation Core processor.
Cloud computers allow everyone to obtain super computing power by connecting to the cloud through a screen, no matter where they are in the world. In the future, this screen does not even need to be physical. Different devices can be integrated through the cloud, and data can flow smoothly and synchronize in real time across devices.
This may be the "future PC" in the ideals of Mark Wieser and Bill Gates. Everyone can have a "supercomputer" on the cloud. We can't see the host and hard drive, but it is integrated with our digital life. As one .
Ali released the first cloud computer "Wuying", a supercomputer with "invisible" host
Since cloud computing has such a beautiful blueprint, and this idea was proposed more than ten years ago, why hasn't it been popularized?
The development of high-speed networks is a major bottleneck. However, as 5G and 100M optical fiber gradually enter millions of households, and cloud computing services become more mature, the biggest obstacle to the implementation of cloud computers has also been cleared. Many Internet giants have also In accelerating the layout.
At the 2020 Yunqi Conference on September 17, Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud's Intelligent Business Group, officially released Alibaba Cloud's first cloud computer "Wuying".
In the past, personal computers were called PCs, and they were called personal computers. Today, this is a cloud-era computer called Cloud computer. We call it a "CC computer."
According to Alibaba Cloud's demonstration, after a user connects a terminal device the size of a work card to the display, he can access cloud computer services after 5 seconds after turning on his fingerprint and logging in. The subsequent use is no different from a normal PC, the difference is that you cannot see the host , CPU and hard disk.
"Wuying" is equipped with a modular desktop system, which can intelligently combine the work interface according to the user's work habits and content. And it can be used across platforms, terminals, and scenarios, and supports seamless switching between applications in Windows, linux and other systems.
In addition, "Wuying" supports unlimited capacity expansion, and single application resources can be flexibly expanded to 104-core CPU and 1.5T memory . You must know that the current top-equipped consumer-grade CPU only has 64 cores.
You might say that ordinary users simply do not need such a high configuration, but another major feature of cloud computers is that they can configure performance according to user needs.
Whether you are dealing with 4K video rendering, graphics design, software development and other work scenes that require very high computing performance, or light office requirements such as PPT production and document editing, "No Shadow" can configure you with the corresponding performance.
▲Comparison of rendering speed between “No Shadow'' and traditional PC animation.
Simply put, this is a computer that can switch between MacBook Air and iMac Pro at will, and the performance limit is much higher .
In the actual test, "No Shadow" opened 30 webpages at the same time still smooth. This is due to the "cloud streaming" technology developed by Alibaba Cloud , which can control the data downlink delay within 70ms under 2K, 60HZ Blu-ray image quality .
Liu Guohua, the person in charge of "Wuying", said that the expansion, updates and upgrades of "Wuying" can be completed in the cloud. Compared with ordinary computers, it can save more than 50% of computing power. The corresponding price is only half of traditional PCs with the same performance. .
At present, "Wuying" is only available for the corporate office market. In the future, it may provide services to individual users. However, for both companies and individuals, cloud computing may greatly change the personal computer experience.
During the epidemic, some large companies had to mail computers to employees across the country to work, and the online classes carried out by schools made tablet computers out of stock for a while. A cloud computer that can be carried around can solve some problems.
In some third- and fourth-tier cities, office units are still using Celeron processors 10 years ago, and it takes 3 minutes to open a web page. Cloud computers can greatly improve office efficiency without changing the hardware.
For enterprises, in addition to eliminating the need to replace hardware regularly, maintenance costs are also greatly reduced. "Wuying" supports cloud one-click operation and maintenance. One operation and maintenance personnel can maintain thousands of devices, and the operation and maintenance expenditure is only one-tenth of the traditional PC .
As for the data security that enterprises are very concerned about, since "Shadow" data is stored in the cloud, it enjoys the same level of security protection as the Alibaba Cloud data center. Data will not be lost even if the computer is lost or poisoned, and there is no need for data migration when changing terminals .
This is the dimensionality reduction blow of cloud computers to PCs. As Zhang Jianfeng said, the migration of computing power from offline to cloud is a general trend , and personal computers will also usher in innovation.
Now whether in a company, an organization, or a family, the utilization rate of PCs is very low. In the future, everyone can have a supercomputer on the cloud, use it as much as they want, and return it to the cloud temporarily.
"Cloud Computer" is an important evolution since the birth of PC
Since the birth of personal computers in 1971, the improvement of equipment performance has basically depended on the upgrade of processor chips.
▲ The first personal computer.
Looking back on the 40 years of personal computer development, Microsoft's Windows system and Intel's chips have jointly promoted the development and prosperity of the global PC market. However, when Moore's law gradually fails in the field of chips, the upgrade of computer performance can no longer rely solely on hardware configuration, and cloud computing will become a new IT center.
At the 2020 Alibaba Cloud Summit in June, Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligent Business Group, pointed out that cloud computing will become a new infrastructure in the digital economy era.
As the "hardware" of computing in the whole society, the public cloud also needs a new "operating system". The in-depth combination of the two will promote the leap-forward development of the digital transformation of the whole society, thereby driving the development of the cloud application industry.
Eventually, it will enter a new stage of development: a "cloud computer" for the entire society .
Although the current "cloud computer" is mainly aimed at B-end users, it still has broad application potential in the field of individual consumers. For scenes that use low frequency but high configuration requirements like console games, cloud computers can achieve a more cost-effective experience and allow manufacturers to more effectively allocate resources to increase profits.
In the era of cloud computing, "cloud computers" will in turn reconstruct the hardware infrastructure, moving from the host era to the distributed era, forming a cloud-based super operating system, and the form of terminal PCs will also usher in an important evolution .
As a productivity tool, the personal computer has changed the work and life of many people. The greatest value of cloud-based personal computers in the future is not only to improve the office efficiency of individuals and enterprises, but more importantly, to improve the efficiency of the entire society.
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