Rainmaker: Driving business and quality with a Storage ReBoot

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Jason Danielson is NetApp’s Solutions Marketing Manager for Media & Entertainment globally and is our guest blogger for the entry below. 

 

Twenty years ago, Rainmaker Entertainment launched its iconic series ReBoot. The show established the company as a leader in computer generated imagery (CGI) as it was the first completely computer animated television series.

  

The show told the story of a solitary system called Mainframe and its citizens. As the show progressed, the world around Bob, Dot and Enzo expanded – going from a solitary system, to a closed network to the World Wide Web. In many ways, this expansion mirrored the evolution of CGI technology and the data infrastructure behind it – from private network to Rainmaker_Karen.jpgprivate cloud to public/hybrid cloud.

 

Fast forward to today and the artists at the Vancouver-based studio are still pushing the boundaries in CGI animation and visual effects. But like Bob in his battle against the virus, MegaByte, today’s artists needed some friendly help.

 

Storage ReBoot

As video quality improved with new high-resolution standards and project sizes grew beyond 100TB, the company needed to scale its storage for its high-performance render farm. Therefore, Rainmaker had to revaluate its infrastructure to keep up with this type of growth and do so without missing customers’ deadlines.

  

At the same time, the company needed to begin working on an animated adaptation of the Sony Playstation’s best-selling video games series, Rachet & Clank. Its previous storage solution struggled with the sheer volume of files, affecting the artists’ productivity. According to Rainmaker’s Director of IT and Operations, Ron Stinson, “our mission is to enable our artists to expand their creativity and improve quality without IT getting in the way.”

 

Not wanting to impede its artists’ productivity or put its 20-year record of meeting deadlines at risk, Rainmaker turned to NetApp and its partner iT Blueprint to ‘reboot’ its render farm with a storage solution that met its performance, manageability and scalability requirements.

  

calloutbox.jpgRainmaker deployed NetApp’s FAS8060 and FAS8020 storage systems into its render farm. Coupled with the NetApp Flash Cache PCIe-attached intelligent caching and NetApp Flash Pool, the company was able to greatly accelerate the rendering process, adding 33 percent more CPU compute power to its render farm.

 

This meant that the IT infrastructure would no longer impact the artists’ creativity or quality, and that the businesswouldn’t have to sacrifice quality for productivity.

  

In the end, with the new systems in place, Rainmaker was able to meet the Rachet & Clank production deadlines, and far exceed its customers’ expectations with improved quality.

  

As a result, Rainmaker was able to drive new business; including the launch of its Mainframe Entertainment unit, focusing on animated and live-action television production. In addition, Rainmaker plans to offer storage as a service to other media and entertainment companies.

  

Like Bob’s key tool, Glitch, NetApp’s solution allowed Rainmaker to adapt and scale its capacity to meet its new performance challenges head-on.

  

Attending NAB? Stop by booth # SL13309 to see the NetApp portfolio of solutions for media and entertainment.

 

Click here for more information on how NetApp is partnering with Rainmaker.