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EC2 and Sketchup?
April 14, 2012 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Which Amazon AMI is best for running a huge Google Sketchup model?

I need to view a complex 3D Sketchup model, and my little laptop can't handle it. So, I went to Amazon EC2 and launched a 2008 R2 server instance, figuring I'll just download Sketchup, download my file from Dropbox, and it'll be easy. I'll just RDP into the box, view the file, spin it around to where I want to take a cool screenshot, and I'll be outta there in no time.

So, I buy the biggest damn box you can buy (8 cores, 32GB of RAM), and Sketchup still totally hangs! I now realize it's not the box. It may be that Sketchup is 32 bit, whereas the instance I launched is 64 bit. But the Quickstart AMI's are only 64 bit. I'm not really tech savvy enough (or interested enough) to hack around with this stuff all day to get it to work. So I figured I'd ask this community (cuz I've been amazed at the stuff that gets answered here!) and maybe, just maybe somebody has used Sketchup on an Amazon EC2 instance over RDP and can tell me the config/AMI they used.

Thanks!
posted by sharingideas to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sketchup really crawls when it can't offload to a GPU, which I doubt EC2 instances are going to give you. Maybe you could rent time on a workstation at FedEx Office.
posted by odinsdream at 12:40 PM on April 14, 2012


I'd do some screenshots for you, as long as you can descrihe what angle or features count as cool. My home pc should be able to handle it, or worst case I can remote into my workstation across town with the overpowered GPU. MeMail me if that would work for you.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:08 PM on April 14, 2012


"Cluster GPU Quadruple Extra Large Instance"

Pricing sucks for what your using it for, but that should do the trick.
posted by anthroprose at 3:17 PM on April 14, 2012


wow. these are awesome answers!
and, yes, ever since odinstream mentioned the GPU, I've been messing with Amazon to get the cg1.4xlarge (the one anthroprose mentions) up and running. First, finding an AMI that actually lets you select the cg1.4xlarge was hard (most do not give you the choice to select it). Then, I finally got towards the end of the process ... and it tells me "not available in WEST preference zone, please change to EAST". So I go back and try to change to EAST... no dice (EAST is not a choice). Doh!

I'm continued to Google, etc, but man this is all great advice. I'm sooooo close....

Thanks!
posted by sharingideas at 3:23 PM on April 14, 2012


Do you have a gamer friend? Almost everybody has one. Go over to his place, give him a pizza to eat while you use his computer, grab the shots and angles you need, and let him get back to skyrim or whatever it is the cool kids play these days.
posted by rockindata at 3:47 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


rockindata: love it!
posted by sharingideas at 4:12 PM on April 14, 2012


I think specific zones matter, (I can't tell you which one for the GPU clusters) and sometimes on the weekends they aren't up, or are all being used.

I don't think you can move existing instances from certain clusters to others using the online interface (command line lets you though). Its easiest if you make a new one (I assume this isn't a problem?).

Also most of the online help assumes you have the command line tools going but instructions for windows are harder to find than other OS' so hopefully this helps.
posted by stratastar at 5:01 PM on April 14, 2012


thanks stratastar: just knowing that the issue could be due to unavailability from Amazon's end is super helpful. Otherwise, I'd be banging my head against the wall. It's not super time-critical, so I'll just try again later and hopefully it'll work.

Also, I literally only have 1 file to view. So I can set one of these up, use it for 20 minutes and then terminate it (they are expensive, so this is what I'll do). If I could change the preference zone to EAST (like the error msg told me to) I would do it in a heartbeat. It's just that that option isn't available to me. Kinda weird that the only options available to me (WEST-1, WEST-2 or something like that) result in the error msg telling me to choose "EAST". doh!

thanks again all.
posted by sharingideas at 6:22 PM on April 14, 2012


I have a fast sketchup machine and a 24-processor render farm in my basement. Let me know if you want me to give it a try.
posted by PSB at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2012


UPDATE: Thanks again, everyone. I was able to get it working!
I'll close the thread now. It came down to just seeing the REGION dropdown box in Amazon's dashboard. Once I switched to EAST, I was able to launch the cluster GPU.

Closing the post now. thanks again all!
posted by sharingideas at 8:55 AM on April 15, 2012


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