Frame has been a busy company lately, adding support for Azure, securing a funding round from some big-name investors, and adding a new CTO. Back in June, I spoke to their founder and CEO, Nikola Bozinovic about what's going on, and I wanted to share what I learned here.
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If you're not familiar with Frame, perhaps you remember the first name of the company: Mainframe2. We covered them when we first learned of the DaaS platform that leveraged NVIDIA GPUs and a purely HTML5-based remote protocol all the way back in 2013. Since then, they've rebranded to Frame, but the mission has stayed the same: bring the best tools for design, engineering, and science to anyone, anywhere.
Initially, Frame sold to ISVs that wanted to web-enable their desktop applications so that they could sell access to them as a service. They also worked with individual service providers when the ISVs didn't want to do it. Adobe and HP have both built offerings that leverage Frame on the backend.
Now that they're established, Frame decided to move into the enterprise, and to do this they've done a couple different things. First, they secured $16M round of funding that was led by Bain Capital, but also includes investment money from others–including Microsoft (You can read the blog post by Nikola for more information). Then, they expanded from a platform built solely for AWS to one that also operates on Azure (which, come to think of it, is probably a requirement when you have Microsoft investing in you).
The investment by Microsoft is interesting because there is already a lot of activity going on with regards to DaaS on Azure. For Microsoft Ventures to see Frame as a worthwhile investment amidst stiff competition from big names like Citrix and VMware (not to mention Workspot, Nerdio, and others) says a lot about what Microsoft thinks about Frame's model.
Making Frame work on Azure is also a smart move. Besides the fact that it opens a door with Microsoft, it also factors into the sentiment that 2017 is "The Year of Azure." If you're building a DaaS platform on a public cloud, you put it where your customers want it. In 2013, that was AWS, and in 2017 that's Azure.
As a side benefit, Frame gets to take advantage of the more modern NVIDIA GPUs available in Azure's N-Series virtual machines. For the moment, at least, if you want the best virtual graphics experience, you want to use Azure.
There are other differences between Frame for AWS and Frame for Azure, but you can manage resources in both locations from the same control plane. Most things are the same, but AWS gives you more granular instance types. So, if graphics are your highest priority, you might go with Azure, but if you're more concerned about price vs. performance, AWS gives you more choices to find the right balance.
While we're on the topic of public cloud support, Frame intends to add support for Google Cloud in the future, but they didn't give me any firm plans.
As Frame has expanded to the enterprise, they've taken a few other steps to help them start off strong. Frame itself works in the government/high security public cloud offerings (Like AWS GovCloud), so they've opened an office in Washington, D.C. to be closer to the U.S. intelligence community. They've also started to focus on selling to construction and engineering companies that need to provide access to high-end desktop applications on a global scale, even to the middle of nowhere.
Which brings me to the most recent news from Frame. Yesterday, Frame announced that they've hired Ruben Spruijt (LinkedIn, Twitter) as their Field CTO. You probably know Ruben as a BriForum speaker, or as one of the guys behind Project VRC, TeamRGE, or VDI Like a Pro. Ruben previously served as the CTO of Atlantis Computing, which recently fell on hard times and was sold, at least in part, to Hive-IO. Ruben is, without a doubt, a fantastic hire for this position. His reputation industry-wide when it comes to creating the ideal end user experience will no doubt help Frame as they grow.
Ruben's task isn't an easy one, but Frame is well-positioned as they embark on this latest venture. With support from Microsoft, interest from government, intelligence, construction, and engineering companies, and support for multiple clouds, Frame can go very far.
Ruben joins a number of our friends that have made moves recently, including Jim Moyle and Benny Tritsch, who both recently announced (Jim's blog post, Benny's blog post) that they've started working for FSLogix.