26 Mar 2020

Aardman

Aardman approached GB Labs intially because they were having problems with their existing SAN solution.

Not only were upgrades disruptive to projects, but they were also found that upgrading meant some of their hardware would become redundant which would waste money.

The first stage of the project wa sto introduce ECHO bridge which bridged teh gap and recycled thier existing fibre RIADs.

Realising the power the ECHO bridge product had acheived, discussions soon began internally with their CGI department who wre having issues with their existing media storage.

Aardman uses both MAC and PC, Premiere is the main NLE and After Effects is used quite heavily along with Photoshop. The grade suite uses Resolve and the CG department is a mixture of Maya and Nuke. Testing was carried out with one of GB Labs SSD products and the results led them to recommend the HyperSpace solution for CGI, editing and render farm.

The GB Labs HyperSpace solution with SSD acceleration layer is what Aardman was really interested in. The performance from this intelligent storage solution enables real-time playback for all clients needing to access media while simultaneouslu powering all rendering. This has greatly accelerated the process the Aardman team uses for output and final deliveries.

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GB Labs installed a 3.2TB HyperSpace accelerator over 192TB of Space+ HDD

GB Labs systems are specifically deisgned for the broadcast, film and video industry so when a job is submitted to the HyperSpace unit, it understands that the job must be pulled immediatley from the top level of the SSD storage straight into the render blades. This works great for very fast render times.

GB Labs CORE OS provides network traffic graphs that clearly show spikes during that time and demonstrate that these systems are under heavy load. Aardman found that the render farm is often busy just before lunch time.

Regardless of the load, the GB Labs systems continue to power the edit systems with real-time playback for any client review or agencies and clients that come in to watch.

Another key factor in selecting GB Labs was the excellent administration tools available.

Aardman is able to monitor who is putting the most amount of load on the system at any point of time.

In order to assure that creativity is never placed on hold, Aardman uses a 40GbE link from the GB Labs SPACE+ and HyperSpace systems into their media network along with a 10GbE link from the GB Labs ECHO Bridge into the same media network.

This allows Aardman to have up to 35 CG arists working simultaneously.

When rendering kicks off, that add another 60 render machines to the load.

There are six edit machines as well in a grade suite. This brings the total to about 100 machines accessing the system at one time wihtout skipping a beat.

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Traditionally in this industry SAN has always been the king of the hill, but we found recently with the GB Labs system, that their implementation of NAS really has brought it to the party, and has made it a very, very high speed, worthwhile tool to use for production.

The solution more than 40 workstations using DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Maya, 3ds Max, Adobe Creative Cloud and also the 25 node render farm and includes the ability to expandable to 30TB of acceleration over 2.3PB of HDD, making the solution future proof.

Our ageing Edit SAN storage has been recycled and is now connected to ECHO Bridge to allow us to continue to grow our offline and archive storage area as different projects require, and also allows for mixed platforms on the client side.

Paul Reeves

Production Engineer