Processing Change

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

The New Meadowlands Stadium is one enterprise using digital media to manage workloads and enhance customers experiences.

Processing Change

As companies transition to digital products and distribution systems, the demand for computing resources rises. Though there’s certainly a greater need for sheer computing power, there’s also a necessity to address data center and energy costs.

At Soho VFX—a leading visual effects company that has handled films such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Fantastic Four, X-Men 3 and Incredible Hulk—high-end workstations are an essential part of the picture. “Rendering special effects requires huge amounts of processing power,” says Berj Bannayan, the company’s co-founder. “CPUs sometimes run for weeks on end at 100 percent capacity,” he adds.

Consequently, Soho VFX has turned to 256 Dell PowerEdge M610 modular blade enclosures. Each blade has eight cores and, with hyperthreading, provides 16 virtual CPUs to the operating system. This essentially gives the firm 2,048 physical cores and 4,096 virtual cores to manage the data-intensive workload.

The environment, which operates on a Linux platform, also relies on a centralized storage area network (SAN) that goes beyond 160 terabytes. Overall, the computing environment has allowed the company to realize speed increases ranging from 20 to 100 percent, while trimming power consumption by 20 percent. An added benefit: the ability to more than double processing power while maintaining the same size data center.

Putting all the pieces together is paramount. PwC’s White urges entertainment and media companies to examine technology and systems more holistically and look for ways to tie everything together. They must turn to creative and innovative strategies while deploying clouds, virtualization and other IT solutions.

These companies must also rely on service-oriented architecture (SOA) and middleware to integrate internal systems and link to partners. Finally, it’s vital to ensure that well-conceived processes exist.

It’s certainly a different world than it was only a few years ago. “The real challenges aren’t necessarily technical,” White concludes. “Business and IT leaders must figure out ways to integrate strategy with technology.

“It’s essential to recognize that digital systems provide more than just a new, expanded way to use data. They represent a fundamental change in the way companies engage and interact with consumers.”

This article was originally published on 2010-12-09
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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