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BlueArc Storage Solution Powers Animated Film 9

BlueArc Corporation, a leader in scalable, high-performance unified network storage, today announced that Canada's leading high-quality digital animation studio Starz Animation Toronto relied on a BlueArc storage solution in the production of this fall's highly anticipated feature film, 9, the Shane Acker-directed Focus Features movie whose producers include Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. Set for release by Focus in theaters nationwide on 9/9/09, the movie is based on Acker's Academy Award(R)-nominated short film of the same name. 9 utilizes unique and cutting-edge animation. Despite immense data sets, a tight production cycle, and the demands of producing three computer-generated imagery (CGI) films simultaneously, Titan's world-record-holding storage performance and capacity rose to the challenge.

"During the production of Focus' 9, it was critical that we have a storage system in place that would handle the massive demands of the three films we were animating concurrently. 9, in particular, has characters -- specifically the machines and the seamstress -- that generate enormous data sets during rendering," said Terry Dale, VP, operations, for Starz Animation Toronto. "The BlueArc Titan storage system gave us the performance we needed, the reliability we required and enabled us to complete our production on 9 without disruption."

For Starz Animation Toronto, and other animation and visual effects firms, downtime and aborted rendering jobs have a direct correlation to the quality of work artists produce. Like Starz Animation Toronto, most firms work on multiple projects concurrently, each with distinct and inflexible deadlines. Storage reliability and performance are critical to digital workflow, ensuring artists can generate as many renders as possible within the set schedule and budget.

The making of 9 left no room for downtime, given the tight production cycle and weight of three CGI films. With the render farm operating 24/7 and handling an average of 10,000 jobs each day -- with each frame comprised of ten to 200 layers of computer graphics -- it was essential that the storage infrastructure could handle the load. Starz Animation Toronto tried other storage systems in the past but experienced problems with data integrity, input/output bottlenecks and outages, causing delays in rendering frames and serious production challenges.

To meet the extreme storage demands with 9, Starz Animation Toronto depends on a cluster of three Titan 3000 storage units, which currently store a total of 330 terabytes of data. The BlueArc solution provides the capacity for current and future needs without compromise to performance. Titan also reduces artist wait times for source files by providing smooth, simultaneous user access to shared datasets.

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