OnLive has a "level up" from game-changing to enterprise-changing with CloudLift

The Cloud is a huge topic here at Enterprise Apps World (which is perhaps why the event is cleverly coupled with Cloud World Forum) and few people know the technology’s potential than OnLive who started life as an innovative game-streaming company. Despite a few knocks to the company’s health bar over the years, OnLive is still around and ready to take their expertise to the enterprise.

OnLive’s latest venture, CloudLift, enables the streaming of applications to make management and release easier whilst overcoming the issues presented by the myriad of devices on the market today from their diversity to their limitations. As more and more companies adopt a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach, the more IT departments are finding it difficult to maintain secure applications which work cross-platform and feature the same levels of usability.

DeveloperTech caught up with OnLive’s Executive Chairman, Mark Jung, and General Manager, Bruce Grove, to hear all about CloudLift and why the company has a firm belief Cloud streaming is the future; whether for gaming or the enterprise.

Jung explains why OnLive has decided to tackle the enterprise behemoth: “The process for delivering hundreds of individual applications and games from the Cloud to millions of individual users is quite a complex task from a network operations standpoint; from a quality of service standpoint; from an operational standpoint. We perfected that process over the past four or five years.

We’ve gone four years without even a second of downtime. The nature of these applications pushed us to the edge of the network. Gamers have very low tolerance for any kind of latency issues. We realised, if we can do this for gaming, we can do this for any kind of commercial applications.”

Even whilst focusing on gaming, OnLive was getting requests to support applications. Gamers work in large organisations. You have CEOs and other executives who play games on their downtime with a core passion. Jung says these people have been their customers already for some time as consumers, they know what OnLive are capable of, and have wanted it deployed for their applications. OnLive is answering this call with CloudLift.

Whilst CloudLift doesn’t enable anything “new” from a viewpoint of what the apps are able to do; it allows applications to be rolled-out en masse to any device where OnLive’s clients are available. Major platforms are supported, and the advantage of Cloud streaming is even devices which are low-spec can run intensive applications. For this reason, CloudLift opens up a very new set of opportunities.

Naysayers will claim network infrastructure isn’t capable – or at least reliable enough – to stream such potentially vital applications. Jung assures me the reliability is now there, he memorably quips: “You can be on Mount Kilimanjaro and still get network access these days.”

Jung is honest in it has only recently been the case. OnLive has been looking at moving into the applications space for the past couple of years but it’s “not been ready.” He says it’s only in summer of this year the company has been ready to make their moves.

Grove takes the opportunity to give his take: “We also see that with LTE as well. If you take away the data caps and the way it is currently being priced; 3G and 2G will just fall away. We’ll be left with 4G which is a more-efficient protocol in every way. It’s a viable broadband solution. We run great over LTE. It’s fast, it’s low-latency, and in particular it’s going to open up some of the rural area faster because it’s easier to build towers there than it is to bring cable into those regions.”

One of the key advantages of using the Cloud is you don’t have to make updates to support new operating systems. This is especially an issue on Android with so few devices running the latest version at any one time – but also on iOS. If a user is running iOS 4, for example, they can receive the same application experience as someone on the upcoming iOS 8.

Jung says: “Our clients can’t keep up with all the operating system changes. When they have to release an application which works across Android, and iOS, and Mac OS, and Windows… we can’t have different applications on each because their client-base uses all four systems.”

Do you think Cloud streaming will “change the game” for enterprise applications? Let us know in the comments.

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