Despicable Me Animation Studio Builds with Avere Systems

Avere Systems a provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, and HGST are helping animation house Illumination Mac Guff build its new infrastructure to support an expanded production pipeline, increased number of artists and doubled per-film global active data. Illumination Mac Guff, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures and one of the world’s leading studios for animated feature films, is known for blockbusters such as the Despicable Me films, Minions, and Sing.

Since the studio’s original deployment of Avere in 2012, the commercial success of its movies has accelerated data growth and I/O requirements as well as raised higher expectations from the industry and movie audiences. One of Illumination Mac Guff’s biggest challenges stems from keeping all their digital assets online - necessary for content to be quickly found, reused and monetized. To keep the creativity flowing and artists’ work uninterrupted by IT, Illumination Mac Guff recently tapped Avere Systems and HGST to solve their long-term active archive requirements.

Today at the Illumination Mac Guff data center, an Avere FXT Edge filer cluster serves as a gateway to HGST’s ActiveScale object storage system, providing transparent NFS-to-S3 (Amazon S3-compliant interface) object storage translation for seamless access to the archived data. Over two petabytes of digital assets have been consolidated from a variety of second-tier NAS systems to provide reliable online access to the studio’s entire archive of finished productions. Using the Avere technology with the HGST ActiveScale system gives Illumination Mac Guff a more cost-effective archive solution that also delivers required performance with massive scalability and high durability for petabytes.

“The Avere and HGST solutions let us effectively shield studio artists from data access complexities and fluctuating rendering workloads, keeping them productive and free to focus on artistic vision,” added Mahe.

In addition to the archive solution, Avere front-ends about six petabytes of production-data capacity across two tier 1 storage clusters. Avere ensures high-performance I/O to the studio’s 80,000 core render farm, as well as to approximately 1,000 artist workstations.

“We have a long, successful history of working with high profile animation studios. The volume of data generated by studios like Illumination Mac Guff is staggering and the dependency on access to that data has a direct impact on their bottom line,” Ron Bianchini, president and CEO, Avere Systems. “When they called on us to support the development of the next stage of their infrastructure, it was a natural fit to partner with HGST.”

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