Open Source and the Future of Visual Cloud

Netflix reported 130 million subscribers this July1, or more than the populations of Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Shanghai, and Tokyo combined.

As Intel Vice President Lynn Comp noted, the vast majority of network traffic will soon be video. Netflix alone has tens of petabytes of storage on Amazon Web Services (AWS). People are consuming and generating video content at an explosive rate. Business workloads from AR/VR training to graphics rendering increase the need for cloud and edge network transformation. Then there’s the vast, global future of cloud gaming.

To meet this demand, Intel is announcing new open source software projects servicing the four core building blocks of visual cloud: Render, encode, decode, and inference. Open source software has demonstrated ability to accelerate media processing, delivery, analytics, and graphics workloads.

Intel is proud to contribute software to help the community deliver amazing visual, immersive experiences, and enable cloud service providers to use existing infrastructure to deploy new services and repurpose existing Intel® Xeon® processor-based servers (forgoing the substantial investment of purpose-built GPUs) to deliver content at a lower total cost of ownership2. The projects include:

Intel® Media SDK for Linux

This software development tool suite for Linux media applications provides API access to Intel® Quick Sync Video hardware. The tools are ideal for transcoding, live and over-the-top (OTT) broadcasting and streaming, cloud gaming, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and video conferencing, allowing developers to achieve real-time 4K at 60 frames/second (fps) High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) decode and encode, and up to 18 AVC full HD at 30 fps transcoding sessions on select Intel® Xeon® and 6th generation Intel® Core™ processors. The SDK code repository is currently available on GitHub.

Intel® Rendering Framework

Intel® optimized software graphics rendering libraries are available and in use across scientific data visualization and cinematic content creation, leveraging the scale, flexibility, and cost-savings of cloud CPU instances:

  • Intel® Embree – A high performance, open source ray tracing library.
  • Intel® OSPRay – An open, scalable, and portable ray tracing engine.
  • Intel® OpenSWR – An open source software rasterizer library.
  • Intel® Open Image Denoise – A high-performance library, which will be opened later this year, that improves visual quality during interaction using machine learning methods including the Intel® MKL-DNN library to selectively filter noise.

Intel® libraries are used by the majority of Hollywood studios for ray tracing, and Intel Senior Principal Engineer Jim Jeffers recently joined the Academy Software Foundation to advance the use of open source technology in motion pictures.

Next Gen CODECs

Streaming media is the foundation for visual cloud workloads. Our open source projects will also advance the next generation of CODECs, specifically Scalable Video Technology (SVT) for HEVC and AV1.

Additionally, Intel is contributing to the SVT-HEVC Encoder core to enable high performance, quality, and scalability of HEVC video encoding under a highly permissive BSD and patent license. This HEVC-compliant encoder library core achieves excellent density-quality tradeoffs and is highly optimized for Intel® Xeon® Scalable and Intel® Xeon® D processors.

We are also forming a new SVT-AV1 open source encoder project as an enhancement to the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) to provide a cleaner, easier to use codebase. Community support is critical to open source innovation, and Intel welcomes contributions to the SVT-AV1 project. Register for email updates at

As video consumption and generation continues to grow, so will the number of industries that must deliver high-bandwidth, low-latency video at scale. Open source software is fundamental to meeting the demands, and Intel is committed to collaborating with industry leaders to grow the community.

For more information on these and other Intel visual cloud solutions, visit If you’re attending IBC 2018 in Amsterdam, I invite you to join Lynn Comp’s keynote Opening a World of Innovation with the Visual Cloud on September 17 at 11:05 a.m. to learn more about Intel’s plans, and check out all the demos at the Intel Booth (Hall 5-B65).


2Intel® technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at

Published on Categories Visual CloudTags , , , ,
Imad Sousou

About Imad Sousou

Imad Sousou is corporate vice president and general manager of the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corporation. Sousou is responsible for leading Intel's efforts in open source software across technologies and market segments. These include: Linux-based operating systems such as Linux for data center and devices, Google Android and Chrome OS, and Alibaba AliOS; cloud and data center stacks such as orchestrators, containers, virtualization, hypervisors as well as cloud and networking system components; and IoT/edge system software including, robotics operating system, drone system software, real-time operating systems, microcontroller operating systems, embedded Linux, and software defined cockpit and client device software. He also leads development of software solutions such as Clear Linux, Zephyr, and Yocto and drives the technical relationship and enabling for Linux operating system vendors, cloud service providers, and original equipment manufacturers supporting customer platforms with on-site engineering and enabling partner products to ensure they include the latest Intel technologies. Sousou joined Intel in 1994 as a senior software engineer. Prior to leading the Open Source Technology Center, he was director of telecom software programs in the Intel Communications Group and director of software engineering in the Home Products Group. He began his career as a software engineer at Central Point Software working on system utilities for the Apple Mac OS. Intel has twice honored Sousou with the Intel Achievement Award; in 2007 for his role in the agreement with Sun Microsystems on Open Solaris, and in 2011 for leadership through open source solutions. Sousou sits on the board of directors at the OpenStack Foundation, the Open Connectivity Foundation, the Dronecode Foundation, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation; on the advisory board for the Core Infrastructure Initiative at the Linux Foundation; and holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Portland State University.