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DreamWorks Animation relies on security in cloud computing to protect intellectual property while outsourcing certain workloads with a cloud provider. This case study related by Derek Chan, head of digital operations at DreamWorks Animation, describes how his team implemented a cloud computing model for animation and includes lessons learned.
The team began by defining a strategy that would provide stable, robust computing at a valuable price point, which involved working with Intel, HP, and others to develop a cloud model that would help DreamWorks avoid spending millions in new capital and operating expenses. Then they worked with the cloud provider to ensure that the levels of security in cloud computing for the rendering workload was restrictive enough to protect the images for their film without interfering with performance and stability. Since they were moving large data to and from off-site locations quickly, they also addressed bandwidth and latency by upgrading their WAN to 10 GB per second, creating a ring topology among sites to accelerate data movement, and optimizing applications to require less bandwidth.
DreamWorks has created a hybrid cloud environment that supplements internal data centers to create a virtualized infrastructure that collectively supports the entire core business. Infrastructure at all centers uses Intel® Xeon® processors and provides access to more than 20,000 computing cores. With Kung Fu Panda 2, released in 2011, DreamWorks Animation performed a little more than 20 percent of rendering in the external cloud—more than 11 million rendering hours.
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