Image: James Martin/CNET

On Friday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced via blog post that it had acquired Italian software firm, NICE, for an undisclosed amount.

NICE, which is based in Asti, Italy, makes high performance computing products and tools for visualization workloads. According to the blog post, it also provides “tools that are a great fit for distributed workforces making use of mobile devices.”

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NICE offers two core products to its customers—EnginFrame and Desktop Cloud Visualization (DCV).

EnginFrame is a type of advanced grid portal. For those unfamiliar, a grid portal basically provides a single point of access to grid computing resources. In grid computing, many different computing resources, often from different geographical areas, work together to perform major tasks. Think of it as a sort of a distributed supercomputer.

According to NICE, their DCV product is “an advanced technology that enables Technical Computing users to remote access 2D/3D interactive applications over a standard network.” It also adapts itself to LAN, WAN, and VPN to account for differences or constraints in the network. Basically, it empowers users to perform more

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For starters, as pointed out by Forrester Research analyst Paul Miller, Amazon has been pursuing high performance computing for quite some time, and it shows in their product offerings.

“The company continues to roll out larger instance sizes, optimised for these compute (or memory) -intensive workloads,” Miller said. “Use cases in analytics, genomics, financial services and more are well-suited to high performance solutions.”

The EnginFrame product could likely help contribute to scalability of AWS. However, the DCV product provides a plethora of interesting use cases. Since it enables better use of 2D and 3D interactive applications, it could lead to better cloud collaboration around prototyping projects in areas like design and architecture. It also could play into Amazon’s Lumberyard, a 3D game engine for developers that the company announced a few days ago.

Regardless of how they implement the technologies, the acquisition will give AWS more clout in the high performance computing (HPC) space.

“This closer relationship between AWS and NICE should give AWS increased credibility in the HPC market,” Miller said. “It also creates opportunities to deliver additional capabilities targeting the high performance market, in areas such as visualisation and analytics specifically”

The NICE brand and team will not be broken up, and they will continue to work on their core products. The acquisition deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. AWS recently acquired Italian software company NICE, which makes high performance computing products.
  2. AWS has been pursuing HPC for a while, and it could use NICE’s EnginFrame technology to help increase the scalability of its current solutions.
  3. AWS could also leverage NICE’s Desktop Cloud Visualization solution to help bolster its 3D gaming platform, or provide better cloud collaboration for design and prototyping.

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AWS amps up high performance computing with NICE acquisition