Sony Chooses Avere FXT Edge Filers for Visual Effects

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Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:02 -- Nick Dager

Sony Pictures Imageworks has deployed Avere Systems’ FXT Edge filer 5600 clusters to support the studio’s ongoing render farm expansion and to ensure non-disruptive scalability. Imageworks uses Avere technology to help it deliver award-winning visual effects and animation while staying on budget and meeting demanding production timelines.

The company implemented its first Avere FXT Edge filer cluster in 2010, and most recently deployed Avere FXT Edge filer 5600 clusters to support the studio’s ongoing render farm expansion and to ensure non-disruptive scalability. The new deployment provided a 50 percent boost in throughput without the high cost of expanding or replacing current storage architecture.

Sony Pictures Imageworks, renowned for its live-action visual effects and dynamic character animation in major Hollywood films, tackles large-scale projects, that often have accelerated production schedules, and place pressure on the compute resources, requiring frequent render farm scaling. The company recently completed a 20 percent render farm expansion, with plans to increase an additional 20 percent in the coming year. To support this growth, Sony Pictures Imageworks chose to deploy the Avere 5600 series as a high-performance layer between the render farm and storage infrastructure. This enables the studio to continue running at scale, cost-effectively and without any change or impact to workflows, even as it added tens of thousands of cores.

“When we first began working with Avere, our render farm was about one quarter the size it is today,” said Stephen Kowalski, vice president of systems engineering at Sony Pictures Imageworks. “As a long-time customer, we appreciate how the Avere FXT Edge filer solution has evolved to continue to meet requirements in line with our own advances in animation and VFX, as well as with the significant growth across our render farm, production pipeline and workforce. Avere has allowed us to continually scale performance to meet demand and to support our artists working to deliver first-class VFX and animation.”

“Sony Pictures Imageworks is a great example of how Avere technology helps VFX studios remove production bottlenecks, making artist collaboration easier and reducing the risk of delays,” said Ron Bianchini, president and CEO of Avere Systems. “With Avere, VFX studios are experiencing vast performance improvements in throughput between cloud compute and storage resources. We are pleased to support Sony Pictures Imageworks in creating new exciting projects.”

Avere Systems