Here's a video from a bunch of Amazon engineers explaining it:
In other words, Amazon Silk is kinda-sorta like running a web browser through a remoting protocol, (except Silk will likely provide a better experience since it will be able to split which content needs to go directly to the device versus which content can come from EC2).
So imagine that you combine:
- Really fast HTML/CSS/JS engine that can render pages way faster on the remote end than on your device.
- Client device awareness, so the remote end knows your pixel depth, screen size, etc. (so it doesn't have to send you a full size image if your device's screen is just going to shrink it down).
- WAN accelerator, with benefits like TCP session combining, connection persistence, compression, caching, and prioritization.
- Remoting Protocols' multimedia redirection, where you send some content to the client to handle and some you render and scrape on the server.
Citrix always talks about how cool NetScalers are in front of web servers. Well this is like the inverse of that, putting all those capabilities at the browser side instead of the server side.
What does silk mean for desktop virtualization?
At first glance, it would seem that Amazon Silk is similar to the Opera Mini or Skyfire browser, and therefore not really relevant to the desktop virtualization space. But both those browsers are really about about browsers on tiny mobile devices. With Amazon Silk, it seems that it's designed to ultimately deliver a better web browsing experience to any device (even if the early versions will just be for the Kindle Fire.)
Since more apps are moving towards web platforms, those apps can now run faster yet still feel like "real" local apps (rather than the "picture" of the web app you get with HDX/RDP/PCoIP).
This is like Chetan's view that most instances of Windows will ultimately move to the cloud. (Except in this case we don't need Windows. But this is the "browser in the cloud.")
While Silk will initially only be available for the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, we have to assume it will eventually be available for all platforms, including full laptops. Does this mean that in a few years, all browsers are cloud-backed? Is this the SaaS version of moving the processing to the storage tier?
Maybe there's something here for VMware and Citrix to do as part of their Post-PC end-to-end integration offerings? Perhaps they could build Silk-like (or even Silk) components into their cloud stacks so that companies could use Silk to deliver web apps (internal and external) from their own clouds or from their cloud provider of choice. This would alleviate many of the privacy concerns people have around accessing the web through Amazon.
Because the Silk system takes the client device's characteristics into consideration before sending the content to the client, I wonder if this could also be used to "translate" old apps into new web pages?
What do you think about Silk?