Shadow is now officially a tech company offering two different products. In addition to cloud computing services specialized for games, Shadow Drive, a cloud storage service based on Next Cloud, will also be released.
“It’s now been a year and a half since Octave Klaba acquired Blade with the vision of breaking down technology barriers and bringing cloud computing power to everyone.
Octave Klaba is the founder of OVHcloud and acquired Shadow (formerly called Blade) to protect it from bankruptcy. Since then, OVHcloud has been an important partner for Shadow. All Shadow servers have been moved to OVHcloud’s data centers.
In May 2022, the company released a roadmap for the near future. It includes three pillars that have been Shadow’s flagship from the beginning: cloud computing services for consumers, new cloud storage services, and tailor-made products for businesses.
After weeks of testing, Shadow officially launches its cloud storage service, Shadow Drive. If you’ve followed Octave Klaba’s projects, you may remember his previous attempts in space with HubiC. It was designed as a competitor to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, but it wasn’t really successful.
Shadow presses and holds the reset button to the Shadow Drive. This time the company is using Nextcloud as its base. If you’re unfamiliar with Nextcloud, it’s a popular open-source online storage application that you can run on your own servers.
Shadow Drive is a hosted service, so you don’t have to run your own server or manage anything, just like WordPress.com can manage your WordPress website for you. Users can get a free account with 20 GB of storage or pay $8.99 or €8.99 per month for 2 TB of storage. You can then save, share, and sync your files so that you can access these files through your web browser, desktop app, or mobile app.
“Shadow Drive is based on two propositions: free and premium products. It’s simple,” said Éric Sèle, CEO of Shadow Drive. “And we will never monetize our users’ personal data and we will never advertise on our website.”
This release is just the first step as Shadow Drive is still a work in progress. For example, the iOS app is still in beta. The company also plans to add WebDAV support so that cloud storage accounts can be added as network drives in File Explorer on Windows or Finder on macOS. There will be more Nextcloud modules in the future.
Cloud Computing Services for Gamers and Enterprises
For Shadow’s main offering, its cloud computing service, the company launched a premium plan just a few weeks ago. You now have two configurations.
By default, subscribers get an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $29.99 per month or €29.99 in Europe. Since it’s a Windows instance, you can install whatever you want, like Steam, 3D editing software, and more.
Users can add a ‘power upgrade’ option on top of the basic subscription for $14.99 per month (or €14.99). This time we get an AMD EPYC 7543P CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX A4500 GPU.
I tried Shadow’s Power Upgrade and it was a very smooth experience. Shadow already has 8,000 customers using this new configuration, and the company is working hard to add the new slot.
Shadow is currently available in eight data centers. Because latency is key to cloud computing services, the company is only accepting customers who live close to its data centers. The service is available in the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. On December 7 Shadow adds Spain to that list.
Users can access Shadow instances from a computer, phone, tablet, smart TV running Android, or Apple TV. The idea is that the most basic of computing devices should be able to access the powerful Shadow computer.
That’s why Shadow is also releasing the first version of its Raspberry Pi app today. Attach a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and optional gamepad to access your Shadow instance.
More recently, the company is also working with enterprise customers who want to control multiple Shadow instances. For example, Bandai Namco Europe used this service for their Elden Ring press campaign. However, Shadow can be used by architects, animation production companies, and any kind of employee who needs a powerful PC but doesn’t necessarily want to buy a tower computer.
Shadow is formulating these offers through Shadow Business Solutions. There are three different configurations.
- Spark (Intel Xeon 2.5GHz to 3.1GHz CPU, 8 vCores, 256GB SSD, 12GB RAM, NVidia 1080/P5000 GPU)
- Aurora (NVidia RTX 5000 with Intel Xeon 3.3GHz up to 4.5GHz CPU, 8 vCores, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM, 12GB VRAM GPU)
- Lightning (NVidia RTX 6000 with Intel Xeon 3.3GHz to 4.5GHz CPU, 12 vCores, 512GB SSD, 32GB RAM, 24GB VRAM GPU)
These configurations cost €59, €89, and €139 per instance per month, respectively. You can bring your own Windows license or add 30 euros per month to get a Windows Server 2019 license.
On December 5, the company will begin providing management tools to allow business customers to create, modify and suppress shadow PCs from a special management interface.
Again, this is just the first step as the company plans to add some features important to business customers, such as rights management, configuration replication, group management, and backup management.
Finally, Shadow is also thinking about new revenue streams through spot computing instances. In this case, Shadow provides on-demand GPU instances to train AI models and other GPU-intensive tasks. As you can see, Shadow is still investing across the board to add new products, new countries and new customers. It’s still a relatively small company, and cloud computing is a new industry.
So it will be interesting to see if Sony and Microsoft eventually take over the cloud gaming market and if the big cloud hosting companies also start investing heavily in cloud computing. For now, it looks like Shadow is back on the right track.