Post Magazine

July 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 51 29 POST JULY 2014 STORAGE FOR VISUAL EFFECTS FX studios have heavy-duty stor- age needs for complex shots and 24/7 workloads. They require both speed and performance to get the job done. Fortunately, the market offers myriad choices for building storage solutions, which are robust, reliable, fast and high performance — and even more choices are on the way. MPC With eight facilities around the world (London, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, LA, Mexico City, Bangalore and Amsterdam), the renowned MPC (www. is striving to "create a global integrated studio" with similar VFX storage solutions in every facility. "But the reality is that not every studio was built at the same time, so they have slightly different generations of storage technology," says Nick Cannon, director of technology and operations for MPC Film. "But broadly, there's a similar stor- age architecture for all of them." MPC Film is a long-time EMC Isilon user. "We tend to need very large render farms. We need to cope with quite extensive workloads, and not all storage can do that," he notes. "We've used Isilon since 2005 or 2006 because we could easily add more capacity as it was run- ning with minimal impact to the produc- tion. Other storage systems do that now, but Isilon was one of the first, and we've been very happy with it." For low-performance, high-capacity mass storage with a low cost per tera- byte, MPC Film has opted for Super Mi- cro or Dell systems. Long-term archiving is done to LTO tape. Recently, MPC Film began adopting accelerators from Avere Systems for its Isilon storage so the company can scale up performance and capacity inde- pendently. "When you buy Isilon, if you need more capacity, you can add anoth- er node," Cannon explains. "Sometimes you just need performance. Avere caches are put in front of the Isilon to buffer it for very heavy renders. In some locations, like London, our render farms are remote from the main location, so there's some latency. But Avere accelerators speed up things quite dramatically. Any new facility with a large render farm will have Isilon and Avere moving forward." That's the case with MPC Montre- al, which launched within the past 12 months. "The Montreal studio represents our latest generation of storage technol- ogy with about 750TBs of Isilon storage and Avere with back up on Dell disk ar- rays. The render farm is on the premises," says Cannon. MPC Montreal was the lead VFX BY CHRISTINE BUNISH Robust, reliable and fast solutions for heavy-duty needs. V Storage for Visual Effects MPC Montreal relied on Avere accelerators and Isilon storage for it work on X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - July 2014