Sun has been in and out and in the visualization business for years, but they’ve never come out of the shadows: first SGI’s, then the commodity GPU. They are now promoting a new thrust around vis that includes a strong distributed component and endpoint display independence:
As previewed at the recent SC2006 conference, the Sun Visualization System is a highly scalable graphics display technology for viewing extremely large data sets in local and remote locations. It can give your teams all-new levels of visualization power for collaborative decision making. Your users will be able to view the Sun Visualization System’s 3D graphics on a variety of devices, from workstations to virtual clients.
The front end is all Sun (hardware and software) with graphics cards from NVIDIA. You can catch the pixels on displays hooked directly to the rendering hardware or on less beefier clients (running Sun visualization software) using Solaris, Windows, or Linux systems that support at least 24-bit graphics.
This solution is still pretty closed in terms of the hardware and software involved, and that may be what’s needed on the high end. I’d like to see things really open up and even support multi-resolution endpoints for visual updates on everything from powerwalls to cell phones. And they’ve got at least one serious competitor ahead of them: TeraBurst Networks’ video-to-data (V2D) product line.