Did any of that make sense to you? No? Good. Let’s fill in the blanks.
The above scene and featured image are from Silicon Valley, a show that depicts a group of Bay Area engineers and their attempts to create and scale a data compression company called Pied Piper. Data compression is the process in which complex information, such as a video or an MP3, is reduced and stored within a server. If this process is done well and creatively, increasingly detailed pieces of information can be pulled from these servers at greater and greater speeds.
Pied Piper does not exist, but Archion is very much a real company and its Omni Hybrid system is designed to creatively compress and efficiently store the world’s newest, and most complex, form of media: virtual reality.
Data compression is all about algorithms, which are essentially laws for a data center to obey.
Whenever a new medium is brought to the web, whether it was Napster and iTunes bringing music, or Netflix and YouTube bringing video, leaps in data compression algorithms and data center technology have been required.
Think of these algorithms as actual laws. If the laws in your town are written with its specific needs and desires in mind, then the town will function happily. But if, for example, all your laws are written around a fishing village that suddenly becomes a gambling hub, then new laws will need to be creatively drafted to keep the town functioning efficiently.
Archion has taken a firm stance in establishing these custom algorithms for virtual reality data centers now that the industry is well and truly here. The results of these innovations on both the hardware, and the software side, is the Omni Hybrid.
This beefy black box is one of those odd blinking monoliths that you may have glanced in your company’s IT room when the technician is out showing Bob from accounting how to connect to the printer for the eighth time this week. Contained within it is all of the custom IP that Archion has been building specifically to make workflow for high-end 3D graphics and production companies easier. It also looks an awful lot like the Pied Piper or Hooli boxes from the most recent season of Silicon Valley, for what it’s worth.
According to an official statement from the company, the Omni Hybrid can do, “8,000 MB/second for 4K and other streaming demands, and over 600,000 IOPS for Rendering and CGI Graphics.”
These numbers refer to the speeds at which the gigantic data files required of a VR project can be downloaded off of the server when they are shared from one person to the next. I’ll spare you any more metaphors and just say this: those numbers are very, very good.
The main benefit of a system like this is in workflow. Imagine having to wait seven hours every time Bob from accounting forwards you that same stupid file to incorporate his many brilliant “notes.” It would be a nightmare and without creative systems like Archion’s, VR teams are facing those kinds of efficiency obstacles during their development cycles.
The Omni Hybrid is an enterprise level device. These boxes are meant to provide insane data speeds to the in-house staff of a VR company through a wired ethernet connection. It will be some time before these same results are brought to the masses, but it is a start that could lead to 4k VR streaming content that many consider to be the holy grail of this fledgeling industry.
Interested studios can request a demonstration, or an evaluation for their own Omni Hybrid online.