Metaverse and Cloud Computing: a co-dependent existence
The metaverse is still a somewhat fuzzy concept, and we are still in the very early stages of its development. Nevertheless, there is a rough idea of the metaverse, which is articulated enough to allow us to make educated guesses about how its emergence could change our way of life. But even before the metaverse hype, there was a lot of discussion about cloud computing; the on-demand availability and delivering of hosted services over the internet, particularly cloud storage. Many have called it the future of enterprise IT.
With the emergence of the metaverse, this makes it significantly more relevant with an added layer of complexity, but does not detract from its importance. In fact, both can and most likely will exist co-dependently in the future.
The metaverse equals more clouds
The emergence of the metaverse is likely to further increase the demand for cloud computing. This is due to a myriad of reasons. The main point being: hosting a 3D environment requires a significant amount of computing and storage resources.
This is especially important in relation to companies that want to run their own metaverse.
In such a case, they do not need to buy their own hardware to run it. Instead, they will turn to the cloud, as they already do for most other work processes. Thus, cloud providers will become even richer in the coming years.
Not just clouds, but “hybrid clouds”
A big challenge that may arise as the metaverse expands is ensuring that bandwidth limitations or Internet connectivity disruptions do not disrupt users’ ability to use it unimpeded. Outages can be highly disruptive and the risk of this happening when swimming in a sea of uncertainty with the metaverse will increase.
An additional point of concern is that of protecting personal data in the metaverse. While it remains to be seen how regulators will define or interpret personal information in this area, there is already every reason to believe that it will need to be protected in the same way as personal information in a conventional cloud environment.
Both of these points, the need for data security while maintaining improved performance, are predictably going to lead to a demand for hybrid cloud architectures as a means of hosting the metaverse. How does it ultimately do this? A hybrid cloud can improve performance and availability by placing hosting resources closer to end users.
It would similarly increase data security by allowing data to be left on private servers rather than transferred to the public cloud. In this sense, at least some elements of the metaverse are expected to be hosted in hybrid clouds.
Not only “hybrid clouds”, but specialized clouds
Did you think that all of the profits profits resulting from meteverse bringing to cloud computing platforms would go to the leading public cloud providers, i.e. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft? This is not likely to be the case as “decentralization” will take place in this direction. Cloud computing as a whole will evolve.
Instead, we may see the emergence of alternative, targeted clouds that will specialize in hosting the metaverse.
This is essentially because the infrastructure needed to run these types of environments may potentially require specialized hardware, such as GPUs, which is not currently the main focus of large cloud providers.
There are certainly some options currently in existence, such as AWS, Azure and GCP. But they do not specialize in this market, allowing smaller cloud providers to fill this gap.
Could the metaverse become a… service?
Yes, a service.
Public cloud providers are currently looking into how hosting the metaverse will translate into the launch of metaverse-as-a-service (MaaS) services, i.e. fully hosted and managed offerings that allow customers to effortlessly deploy their own custom metaverse environments.
It is assumed that cloud providers will create them entirely from scratch. Or they could use Open Source meta-universe platforms like Vircadia as the basis for MaaS offerings.
Simply put, the cloud is the basis of the metaverse, but what else is needed for its existence?
A solid infrastructure for the metaverse is necessary for stable operations as we have discussed above.
But what else is needed to maintain it in the future?
During the Yamaha Cloud Technology re: Invent Global Conference in 2021, Amazon announced a partnership with Meta. According to reports, Zuckerberg’s Meta uses Amazon Cloud’s end-to-end solutions to augment its existing on-premises infrastructure and provide more privacy. In other words, AWS is seen as “a long-term strategic cloud provider“.
Gu Fan, general manager of Amazon Cloud Technology’s product division in China, believes that the metaverse is impossible without computing, data storage, machine learning and artificial intelligence, which are inseparable from cloud technology. Fortnite, for example, has 350 million users around the world, and almost all of its workloads are run using cloud infrastructure.
Matthew Ball, who is the Managing Partner at EpyllionCo and former Global Head of Strategy at Amazon Studios, believes there are seven main components necessary to uphold it in addition to the cloud for the metaverse:
Tools. Everything that is used for its continuous development should support copyrights, data transfer between each other.
Hardware. This includes everything that makes it possible to step inside it, for example VR and AR devices, gadgets, PCs, etc.
Computing. For a person to work with artificial intelligence, render, process large amounts of information, play games one would need powerful systems.
Network. You need high bandwidth, which guarantees high data rates.
Payments. There should be support for payment systems so that people and businesses can conduct financial transactions.
Content and services. Advertising, for example, is popular in the metaverse.
User behavior. Studying the behavior of people and companies makes it possible to change the principles and philosophy of the universe’s existence.
Cloud computing and the metaverse is definitely a relationship of co-dependency and overlap. It’s safe to say that there is room for both to thrive in the increasingly digital ecosystem of the future.
A great way to learn about these concepts is, of course, by reading more books.
Amazon is running a Kindle Unlimited Plan with your first month free by following this link. For a better understanding of both the metaverse and cloud computing, The Infinite Retina explains how the collision of these new technologies are bringing about the next tech revolution.
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