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Panasas ® Deluxe Australlia

Deluxe Australia is a leading provider of services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including top Hollywood studios. For nearly a century, Deluxe has provided content owners and creators with the tools and talent they need to bring the most compelling and exciting stories to life. Deluxe specializes in production,
post-production, distribution, and asset management.

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Panasas ® Deluxe Australlia

  1. 1. 1.888.PANASAS | www.panasas.com SUMMARY CUSTOMER Deluxe Australia INDUSTRY Media and Entertainment Challenge • Speed up VFX workflows • Optimize Digital Artists’ Time and Creativity • Optimize Distributed Render Farm Performance • Gain Linear Scalability • Finding an Easy-to-Manage solution Solution • Panasas® ActiveStor® 14 • PanFS® Parallel File System Result • VFX Delivered Faster • Distributed Render Farm Optimized • No More “Out of Hours” Rendering • Happy, Productive Digital Artists SUCCESSSTORY:DeluxeAustraliaINDUSTRY:Mediaandentertainment As Deluxe Australia geared up for major feature film productions like The Great Gatsby and Fury Road, it turned to Panasas and ActiveStor 14 to form the storage foundation for its Visual Effects (VFX) workflow. Creating VFX is digital artistry, technically complex and aesthetically demanding. It relies on an infrastructure which includes powerful workstations, high performance network attached storage (NAS) and a large render farm to produce visually compelling, multilayered effects. The VFX Challenge The Deluxe IT team supports 50 VFX artists using CentOS-based workstations running dual Xeon E5645 hex core CPUs or dual Xeon E5-2665 CPUs with 24 to 32GB of memory. Those artists use powerful anima- tion software like Houdini from Side Effect and Autodesk’s Maya to design 2D and 3D VFX which are then rendered with Pixar’s Renderman. Creating 2D and 3D VFX generates large numbers of files. For 2D VFX, Deluxe cre- ates approximately 30 versions of each VFX shot. For a 3D effect, the norm is about 50 versions per shot. The company anticipates it will generate between 50 and 70 million files on its current project. VFX image files can also be sizeable. Cache files for 3D with the particle information can range up to 3GB, and there can be mil- lions of these files in flight during creation and render. These large numbers of large concurrently active files can expose costly performance bottlenecks very quickly. “We needed fast, scalable, easily managed storage to feed those workstations in a tapeless, shared storage, file-based work- flow and to keep the render farm operating at maximum processor utilization,” Michael Roperti, head of production at Deluxe Australia, explained. The Distributed Rendering Challenge Renderman is a software package for network distributed rendering of complex three dimensional views. Deluxe runs Renderman on CentOS distributed across an 80 node render farm built on dual Xeon E5-2620 hex cores or X5650 hex cores with 32 to 48GB of system memory. Rendering complex VFX can take hours, days, weeks, months, or years on a single computer, depending on the complexity, detail and size of the individual images. For animation, the frame rate and total dura- tion of the animated sequence can also greatly extend the total render time. The rendering process can be accelerated by subdividing tasks, individual frames or sections of images into “pixel patches” and distributing the calculation of each patch across the render farm. There are two reasons for using distributed rendering— it’s faster and the number of concurrent DELUXE AUSTRALIA Panasas® ActiveStor® 14 Helps Make Movies Better Deluxe Australia is a leading provider of services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including top Hollywood studios. For nearly a century, Deluxe has provided content owners and creators with the tools and talent they need to bring the most compelling and exciting stories to life. Deluxe specializes in production, post-production, distribution, and asset management.
  2. 2. SUCCESSSTORY:DeluxeAustraliaINDUSTRY:MEDIAandentertainment © 2013 Panasas, Inc. All rights reserved. Panasas, the Panasas logo, ActiveStor, PanFS and DirectFlow are trademarks or registered trademarks of Panasas, Inc., in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks, trade names, company names and service marks are the respective properties of their holders. The Result ActiveStor 14 is a particularly good fit for Media and Entertainment (M&E) environ- ments because metadata is served on SSD, which can be up to 1000 times faster than spinning media and therefore very effec- tive at improving overall performance. The benefit is immediately noted by VFX artists who do not have to wait for their files to upload to their workstations or to save their work. “I love how easy ActiveStor was to install. When it arrived, we opened the box and had it up and running in just a few hours. It was very close to ‘plug-and-play’,” Roperti added. Another plus for M&E applications is that ActiveStor supports a global namespace. The entire configured capacity of the solution is presented as a single, very large volume. Deluxe does not need to have ded- icated volumes to separate renders from artists. There is no need to ‘data wrangle’ rendered frames from a separate volume. “ActiveStor performance was so good that it exposed previously hidden network bottlenecks. ActiveStor 14 is that fast, and the Panasas team helped us debug those problems, even though they were ‘outside the box’ for them,” Michael Roperti Head of Production, Deluxe Australia Efficient Storage Increases Productivity “Panasas ActiveStor 14 helps us to deliver a better product, faster. We do not have to contend with disk usage ‘busy periods’ or live with out-of-hours renders. We no longer have idle, cranky artists, unable to work when the render farm is hammering the storage. We are more efficient. Our artists are now busy, happy and productive,” —Michael Roperti, Head of Production at Deluxe Australia renders can increase. While distributed ren- dering benefits from scaling performance because frames can be rendered more quickly, it also benefits from capacity scal- ing. Those two seemingly competing paths create conflict in legacy storage systems because different methods of distributing the workload tend to favor one type of scaling over the other. Panasas ActiveStor and the PanFS® parallel file system scales in both dimensions equal- ly well and when both performance and capacity scale linearly, it becomes possible to render very large images very quickly. The Panasas Solution Deluxe’s former storage systems were an amalgamation of hardware RAID control- lers, disks and enclosures. The company was looking for a solution with better performance and room to grow and was also easy to manage. “We work with file-based workflows, so file- based storage made sense; our rendering is distributed, so a storage solution based on scale-out NAS and a parallel file system seemed like a good fit, “Roperti said. “Our evaluation process consisted of run- ning 50 ‘disk thumping’ scripts on 30 VFX workstations, 150 separate jobs, to beat up the storage. The performance from ActiveStor 14 stood head and shoulders above offerings from other vendors. The fully integrated parallel file system and the intelligent use of Solid State Disk (SSD) gave Deluxe some great results. “We estimated that we would need about 100 spindles in other vendors’ configura- tions to get the same throughput we were getting during our evaluation process from a single ActiveStor 14 shelf with 80TB of capacity, 92GB of SSD cache and one ‘director blade’. The way the PanFS parallel file system transparently manages metada- ta is also pretty impressive,” he continued. 051420131107 Deluxe Australia digital artists create compelling 2D and 3D VFX with powerful workstations, leading edge software and high performance scale out NAS from Panasas.

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Deluxe Australia is a leading provider of services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including top Hollywood studios. For nearly a century, Deluxe has provided content owners and creators with the tools and talent they need to bring the most compelling and exciting stories to life. Deluxe specializes in production, post-production, distribution, and asset management.

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