As the amount of processing power that can be affordably invoked via the cloud continues to increase, applications that were once thought too impractical to build are suddenly quite feasible. A good example of that is AppStream, a new service that Amazon is beta testing that allows graphically and resource-intensive applications to be extended out to any number of devices that previously would not have had the processing capabilities to run them.
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Unfurled at the AWS re:Invent conference last week, TopCoder, an online community of more than 600,000 professional developers, announced it is running a series of crowdsourcing challenges that is intended to help develop new classes of applications that will be based on the AppStream API.
According to TopCoder general manager Mike Morris, AWS AppStream has the potential to lead to the development of a broad range of applications, ranging from gaming to traditional enterprise IT applications that, thanks to application streaming, could become a whole lot more engaging.
Application streaming on AWS provides a way to cost effectively bring more interactivity to applications, Morris says. To foster the development of those applications, TopCoder has worked with AWS to make it easier for developers to gain access to the core Amazon API that drives the new application streaming service.
Beyond simply servicing as an extension of existing enterprise applications, AWS clearly wants to be the platform through which a whole new generation of streaming applications are built and delivered. In an age where those applications are just as likely to be delivered to a mobile computing device as a desktop, that presents developers with a range of significant challenges, including everything from screen size to network latency.
While most of the initial excitement surrounding AWS AppStream has focused on consumer applications such as gaming, Morris says it is clear that a raft of existing and new enterprise IT applications would benefit greatly from the higher levels of interactivity that could be introduced by leveraging AWS AppStream in the cloud.
There is no doubt that Amazon has a major campaign under way to bring enterprise IT applications to AWS. AppStream is obviously a small part of that larger initiative. But in time it may very well prove that, as a technology, application streaming has finally come into its own in the enterprise because Amazon has made it practical to support a broad range of devices while still providing the centralized control that all enterprise IT organizations always covet.