Digital Domain FX shop taps Avere to reduce WAN latency


Digital Domain FX shop taps Avere to reduce WAN latency

John Hilliard

Avere Systems announced this week that the company’s FXT Series of NAS appliances will be used to reduce WAN latency between the separate locations of the Hollywood special effects shop Digital Domain Productions.

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According to Avere, the FXT Series offers NAS optimization features such as dynamic tiering of data onto the optimal storage media, as well as linear performance scaling. The company said the appliances contain both DRAM and NVRAM to speed up read and writes for the most active data. The appliances also offer SSD, SAS, and SATA tiers.

Avere said the FXT Series’ setup offers a 5:1 reduction in disks, power use and rack space. Five versions of the FXT lineup come equipped with 72 GB to 144 GB of DRAM and 2 GB of NVRAM. Depending on the model, the FXT also has between 3.6 TB to 9 TB of hard disk storage, or 1.6 TB to 3 TB of solid-state storage. FXT Series appliances also offer a pair of 10 Gb ports and six 1 Gb ports.

The company also said the appliances’ 3000 and 4000 series support clustering of up to 50 appliances per cluster and as much as 7 TB of RAM and “hundreds of terabytes” of storage within a single cluster.

Digital Domain is responsible for the computer-generated special effects work for Hollywood films like “Titantic” and “Tron: Legacy.” The company installed FXT servers in several of its regional locations, according to Avere.

The special effects firm uses render nodes co-located in Las Vegas, which accesses data stored in the company’s locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver and turns that data into media frames, according to Avere. But WAN latency could pose an obstacle for using the Las Vegas location.

According to Avere, the use of the FXT appliances in Las Vegas and Digital Domain’s other locations reduced latency to .1 milisecond, which Avere said is the equivalent of a 250x increase in performance. 

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