Mr. X Inc. Scales Out Visual Effects Operations Using Isilon

VFX Studio Deploys Isilon Scale-out Storage to Simplify Data Management for High Performance Render, Effects and Animation Workflows, Improving Collaboration and Productivity to Accelerate Time-to-Delivery

Jun 25, 2010, 08:00 ET from Isilon

SEATTLE, June 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Isilon® (Nasdaq: ISLN) today announced that Mr. X Inc. visual effects studio has deployed Isilon scale-out storage to simplify data management for its post-production operations, including visual effects for the upcoming 3-D stereoscopic productions of Disney's TRON: Legacy and Screen Gems' Resident Evil: Afterlife. Using Isilon's X-Series, Mr. X has unified its high-performance rendering and animation applications onto a single, shared storage resource, improving artist collaboration and efficiency to accelerate project time-to-delivery. With Isilon, Mr. X can cost-effectively scale its storage in-step with the data-intensive demands of its Linux compute cluster, while at the same time attaining more than 90 percent system utilization, enabling the studio to process more projects in less time and expand its bandwidth for new business.

"In post-production it's all about time-to-delivery, so for us to meet the needs of Hollywood studios, our operation needs to be firing on all cylinders, at all times," said David Fix, senior systems administrator, Mr. X. "There's simply no room for idling apps or performance limitations, but with the one controller design of our previous clustered NAS system, we had to deal with both. By switching to Isilon, we've simplified our workflow, eliminated the performance bottleneck and accelerated our project pipeline."

Mr. X delivers leading-edge CGI, 3-D, animation and other visual effects for Hollywood productions, including Amelia, Fast & Furious, Death Race, Remember Me, Repo Men, and Hot Tub Time Machine. Prior to using Isilon scale-out storage, the highly concurrent and data-intensive demands of Mr. X's 100-plus artist production team overwhelmed its previous clustered NAS system, which couldn't keep pace with the sequential and random access demands of the studios' Linux compute cluster across a wide range of file sizes. As demand for Mr. X's unique brand of digital effects continued to increase, the studio needed a system capable of scaling in lockstep with its changing performance and capacity demands, while minimizing system overhead.

Mr. X deployed Isilon scale-out storage, featuring its OneFS® operating system, to unify its post-production operation onto a single, shared, easy to use storage resource, aggregating a variety of performance-intensive effects applications, including Autodesk Maya, SideFX's Houdini and The Foundry's Nuke to simplify data management and improve productivity. With Isilon, Mr. X has achieved greater than 90 percent system utilization without any degradation of performance, accelerating production cycles, while simultaneously reducing the amount of storage – and associated costs and management – necessary to do so. Additionally, using Isilon's SnapshotIQ® data protection software, Mr. X can take unlimited data snapshots, while simultaneously running multiple effects applications, providing the studio with flexible, reliable data protection that reduces risk and system management.  

"When it comes to Hollywood productions, time-to-market can mean the difference between a record-breaking opening or a missed opportunity, making post-production project cycles critical to movies' box office success," said Sam Grocott, vice president of marketing, Isilon. "By using Isilon to speed project delivery, Mr. X is setting best practices for leveraging scale-out storage to improve application performance and drive business growth. While many other storage vendors claim to accelerate the visual effects pipeline, Mr. X's success is another example of how Isilon actually delivers."

About Isilon Systems

As a global leader in scale-out storage, Isilon delivers powerful yet simple solutions for enterprises that want to manage their data, not their storage. Isilon's products are simple to install, manage and scale, at any size. And, unlike traditional enterprise storage, Isilon stays simple no matter how much storage is added, how much performance is required or how business needs change in the future. We're challenging enterprises to think differently about their storage, because when they do, they'll recognize there's a better, simpler way. Learn what we mean at

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