UPDATED 03:00 EDT / JANUARY 21 2020


Canonical debuts Anbox Cloud for highly scalable Android apps

Canonical Ltd. has come up with a way to distribute compute-intensive applications from the cloud so they can run seamlessly on low-powered Android devices.

The solution, announced early today, is a platform called Anbox Cloud. It uses Android as a guest operating system to containerize workloads so they can easily be distributed from the cloud, where they run, to any kind of mobile device.

“The ability to offload compute, storage and energy-intensive applications from devices to the cloud enables end-users to consume advanced workloads by streaming them directly to their device,” Canonical noted in its pitch. “Developers can deliver an on-demand application experience through a platform that provides more control over performance and infrastructure costs, with the flexibility to scale based on user demand.”

The basic idea is that Anbox Cloud makes it possible to run any application on any kind of Android device, regardless of that hardware’s compute capabilities. Canonical says use cases include cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing and mobile device virtualization.

For example, Anbox Cloud can scale graphics- and memory-intensive mobile games to thousands of devices while ensuring the responsiveness and low latency gamers demand. It’s similar to Google LLC’s new cloud video game streaming service Stadia in that it does away with the need to download the game onto the device. Instead, the game runs in the cloud where it has access to all of the compute resources it needs.

Canonical is also pitching Anbox Cloud as a way for developers to emulate “thousands of Android devices” across various test scenarios and to integrate their apps into continuous integration/continuous development or CI/CD pipelines.

Developers can choose to host Anbox Cloud in their favorite public cloud infrastructure service to take advantage of the infinite capacity, high reliability and elasticity they afford. Alternatively, it can be hosted on private cloud edge infrastructure in cases where lower latency and data privacy are a higher priority. In addition, cloud service providers themselves can use Anbox Cloud to deliver mobile applications and services via a platform-as-a-service or software-as-a-service model.

For that last scenario, Canonical has teamed up with Packet Hosting Inc., a provider of edge computing infrastructure, to help customers deploy Anbox Cloud at targeted edge locations across the world. Canonical has also teamed up Intel Corp. and Ampere Computing LLC, a maker of Arm-based central processing units, to offer highly optimized processors for Anbox Cloud.

“Enterprises need to move faster and accelerate, and the cloud and stateful services like Canonical’s Anbox Cloud allow exactly that,” said Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller. “People can return to work exactly where they left it and jump back into their tasks. This will help enterprises to run their next generation applications more efficiently, improve the future of work for employees, and enable enterprise acceleration.”

Image: 200degrees/Pixabay

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