Computer Graphics World

July / August 2015

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j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 5 c g w 5 5 "getting compute off the work- station," so that workloads are not constrained by the limits of individual workstations. Pixar also uses virtualization but sees it as a tool to provide additional IT flexibility during projects. "We have some suc- cess using Amazon as a provid- er," says John Kirkman, director of systems network infrastruc- ture, "but we are not getting rid of our in-house server farm." Kirkman notes there is considerable utility in having a virtualized server farm on hand. "Our rendering farm is 98 per- cent efficient; our workstations are 10 percent efficient," he says. Of Pixar's 800 workstation users, almost half have a sec- ond workstation at hand, and that second workstation is "way underutilized," he notes. Habib Zargarpour recently be- came the head of Microso Stu- dios, and says his viewpoint on virtualization comes in large part from the many artists across the globe working on Microso Xbox games, artists who are indepen- dent contractors, not employees. "We do massive collaboration, and we are really feeling the need for better connections and less travel," he says. In fact, Microso Studios plans to aggressively in- vest in virtualization in the coming months, Zargarpour adds. V E N D O R P E R S P E C T I V E OTOY is a start-up soware de- veloper juggling several projects, all aimed at maximizing compute resources by harnessing the pow- er of graphics processing units (GPUs) for "intense" computa- tion activities, including rendering. OTOY CEO Jules Urbach says his company's newest prod- uct, X.IO, packages desktop applications for streaming. It can take advantage of multiple GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD to spread OpenCL jobs over multiple computers. "The future is apps as services, to mix and match as needed," he says. "Monetization [of soware] will be very different." JPR's interviews of the users of virtualization in the industry found everyone assumed that virtualization is a powerful IT trend that can save money, streamline processes, and increase both human and com- puter efficiency. However, the companies vary in how they have implemented virtualization. The general consensus was that full speed ahead is not fast enough. For most companies, efficien- cy sounds nice, but in the end it comes down to dollars. Dream- Works' Wallen offers the most interesting insight of the day. "We examined workflows; we did tests at scale [on using virtu- alization technology]," he says, noting the group proved that the processes could save money. So he got the green light to constrain expenditures to force adoption. "We want one-half of effi- ciency going on the screen and one-half on the bottom line," Wallen says. ■ FORMS OF VIRTUALIZATION SERVER VIRTUALIZATION: The masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users. NETWORK VIRTUALIZATION: The process of combining hardware and soware network resources and network functionality into a single, soware-based administrative entity, a virtual network. DESKTOP VIRTUALIZATION: Soware technology that separates the desktop environment and associated application from the physical client device that is used to access it. APPLICATION VIRTUALIZATION: Soware technology that encapsulates application soware from the underlying OS on which it is executed. STORAGE VIRTUALIZATION: The pooling of data from multiple storage devices, even different types of storage devices, into what appears to be a single device managed from a central console. HARDWARE VIRTUALIZATION: Creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Jon Peddie ( is president of Jon Peddie Research, a Tiburon, CA-based consultancy specializing in graphics and multimedia that also publishes JPR's "TechWatch." OTOY FOCUSES ON MAXIMIZING COMPUTE RESOURCES, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF GPUS.

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