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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
I have a geeky secret; I used to be really into ray-tracing and 3D graphics not so much from an “art” point of view – although I do have an interest in that and computer modelling/visualisation checks a lot of boxes for me as I always wanted to be a civil engineer or architect (well, I kind of am… but with computers..!)
it was one of the only applications I found in the early/mid 90’s that could really tax a machine and I spent a lot of time playing with large render jobs using PovRay and progressed to 3D studio for DOS and then a bit of a dabble with building render farms using 3DS Max before I had to go and get a “proper” job with less spare time.
I would love the time to get back into it, with the power available today you could produce some awesome images, although maybe I am somewhat hampered through lack of talent… maybe that will be downloadable now?
….So anyway, here’s an interesting article on how DreamWorks Animation have sped up access to their render farm using Ibrix Parallel file server software… they shift a lot of data!
I’ve worked on a project where we’ve tried to implement similar high-performance grid-based storage systems for large media files; but they were somewhat less successful/undeveloped; this one looks promising.
I wonder if these kind of vendors will start moving into the virtualization space; it’s essentially the same principal.
Deliver large flat files (.VMDK), over cheap/scalable commodity media (GigE) as quick a possible
This would reduce the depende.ncy on expensive back-end fibre channel SANs, and you could invest more in flexible Ethernet – or maybe Infiniband to deliver networking and storage within a “virtual fabric”
If it’s “virtual” and “grid” based the quality/features of individual hardware devices (DL380, NAS device etc.) that make it up the overall grid are less important and a 100% software approach gives you the flexibility to pick & choose building blocks from the most appropriate/affordable manufacturer rather than be locked into a costly single vendor solution (HP EVA, EMC Clariion, DMX etc.)
Thanks to Martin at Bladewatch for the link.