Established in 1997 as a destination for the very latest high-end photo-real visual effects, a52 has become home to the industry’s most innovative and talented artists. The boutique full-service studio in Santa Monica works in tandem with award-winning editorial company Rock Paper Scissors and design company Elastic, the latter of which was recently named one of Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Entertainment.
a52’s collaborations with top directors, agencies and clients include commercial work for Target, adidas, Chevy and Nike; VFX work on The Social Network; and comprehensive coloring and finishing for the first season of Netflix’s House of Cards.
Exciting Opportunities, Testing Potential
When Dell/EMC announced the new Isilon All-Flash Array built with Isilon’s revolutionary OneFS software, people took notice. With the All-Flash Array, Isilon had the potential to provide the throughput to turbo charge high-end, high resolution finishing applications while allowing ingest, rendering, graphics and archive to utilize multiple tiers of storage in a single filesystem.
a52 had been utilizing a traditional workflow, making use of multiple storage subsystems to support different creative applications. Dell EMC serves a key role in providing the essential infrastructure for organizations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset, information.
CTO Kevin Bass reached out to DZ Solutions, Isilon’s top technical partner on the West Coast for insight. “My interest was whether Isilon, with OneFS and all its benefits, would be able to make use of the speed and IOPS increase that an all-flash solution provides,” said Bass. The ability to have all applications from Autodesk Flame to Nuke or Maya to the Adobe Creative Suite in the same file system would create massive cost savings and drastically reduce the time to complete a project.
With the arrival of the Isilon All-Flash Array, both DZ Solutions and a52 saw the perfect opportunity. Already utilizing Isilon for a complex graphics workflow and archive, the introduction of the Isilon All-Flash Array allowed Bass to include a52’s twelve Autodesk Flame’s on the same file system. “Incorporating a very-high-performance tier directly into our existing filesystem significantly eases a bottleneck in the pipeline between our CG and finishing systems. Renders become immediately accessible to the Flames without additional copying or caching,” Bass mentioned.
Above And Beyond – Exceeding Expectations
During testing, DZ Solutions and a52 were able to push over 4GB/sec to 3 clients at a single node in the Isilon All-Flash Array cluster with minimal performance tuning. Impressed by the stability of the pre-release unit, Bass then decided to put the Isilon All-Flash Array cluster into production with four separate Flame-based projects incorporating HD, 2K and 4K source media finishing at one time on the Isilon All-Flash Array tier. Bass was happy with the results.
While in production, the Isilon All-Flash Array continued to surpass expectations, gaining recognition and appreciation from artists who commented on the noticeable speed improvement over the legacy SAN infrastructure.
As productions continue to push the creative envelope, IT must respond in kind. DZ enables its customers to harness the power innovation to make changes to existing infrastructure that enhance performance and increase efficiency.