Dell helps Pixomondo create stunning visual effects for blockbusters

Our story today is about the famous in the world of television and cinema company Pixomondo , which needed highly available IT solutions for creating visual effects and developing IT infrastructure. Pixomondo is an international visual effects company that does not stop the production process 24 hours a day, using a global network of technical tools for creating feature films, television and advertising projects.

After receiving the Oscar for the film “The Keeper of Time” and Emmy for the second season of the television series “The Game of Thrones”, the company's professional skills become even more obvious thanks to the work on stunning visual effects.

"The Keeper of Time" (Hugo) - an adventure film directed by Martin Scorsese based on the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabra" by Brian Selznick.

The Pixomondo company has worked on many Hollywood blockbusters, it employs creative people, and they are dispersed throughout the world. It has created a global IT infrastructure to support staff, wherever they are - in any time zone. Founded in 2001, the company has 13 offices in Canada, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. It provides post-production services for the film industry, television, advertising, interactive media. It employs 670 employees.

Global infrastructure requires strong partnerships.

The global infrastructure of Pixomondo requires high-performance IT solutions - standardized, reliable and easy to manage, ensuring fast and timely execution of customer orders. Pixomondo has been working with Dell for many years now, since it decided to switch its IT platforms to Microsoft Windows. She managed to find an IT partner with whom she was able to forge close working relationships.

Working with an unprecedented scale of scenes, Pixomondo created about 300 episodes for the film “Star Trek: Retribution”, which is about one third of all visual effects in the film. As in most of the largest projects of the company, work on the staff was distributed between the Pixomondo studios around the world.

“I can buy computers anywhere, but with Dell we feel not just customers, but partners. Dell listens to us, understands what we are doing, what challenges we face, and offers us our solutions, ”says Christian Vogt, chief operating officer of Pixomondo. The Pixomondo IT infrastructure now includes a wide range of Dell servers, storage, networking technologies, workstations, and desktop systems. A large number of Dell PowerEdge servers, including the R410, R510 and R710 models with Intel Xeon processors, were purchased thanks to the Pixomondo business expansion. This allows Pixomondo to respond quickly to changing customer needs and create visual effects in a short time.

The Dell PowerEdge R620 server is optimized for use in high-loaded data centers, demonstrating high density of components, flexibility and scalability of the communication infrastructure, as well as fault tolerance. The solution is equipped with a high-performance communication subsystem, allowing it to be used in consolidated topologies and to support highly loaded environments.

The company currently uses the Dell PowerEdge R620, R710, R510 and R410, Dell PowerEdge C6100 servers with Intel Xeon processors, Dell EqualLogic PS6510E disk arrays, Dell PowerVault MD1000 storage (DAS) and Dell PowerVault NX3100 (NAS) storage, Dell PowerConnect 2824 switches, 6248, 8024F and Dell Force10, Dell Precision T5500 workstations with Intel Xeon processors, Alienware desktop PCs and 3D monitors. Dell PowerEdge C servers with Intel Xeon processors are highly dense and scale well.

“Powerful processors and a small form factor make Dell PowerEdge C servers a very attractive solution. We like the fact that they can be easily expanded using graphics cards for rendering using a graphics processor (GPU), ”says Christian Vogt, chief operating officer of Pixomondo. - This allows Pixomondo to meet the needs of the creators of the world famous television series "Game of thrones."

"Game of Thrones" is a separate world of the Seven Kingdoms, in which everything from seated on a throne to a mercenary, strive for power, weaving intrigues and plots.

But there were changes in the workflow, and Pixomondo unexpectedly ran into new problems when working with visual effects for this series. Meanwhile, Michael Dell participated in one of the conferences in Germany to showcase the new 12th generation Dell PowerEdge server family. Pixomondo immediately ordered 39 newest Dell PowerEdge R620 servers, each of which is equipped with two six-core Intel Xeon processors and 32 gigabytes of RAM.

It was on Thursday, and on Monday morning, Dell sent the entire order to the Pixomondo studio in Frankfurt. “We always work under tight deadlines, but Dell finds a way to support us and do everything possible. I don't have to worry. We include new technology in our processes and continue to work. This is very important for me and my business, ”emphasizes Christian Vogt.

Computational density and performance

As a result of the introduction of the 12th generation Dell PowerEdge servers, the company can implement more interesting projects. By deploying Dell PowerEdge R620 servers on Intel Xeon processors, supporting up to 24 dual memory modules (DIMMs) for computationally intensive tasks, the company has reduced power consumption. “Due to lower power consumption on our Dell PowerEdge R620 servers, we can afford to increase the number of servers in our infrastructure by 20%. This means that our server farm can support even more client projects, ”says Christian Vogt.

The Dell OpenManage modular management platform, unified for the Dell PowerEdge family of servers, provides powerful management capabilities and simplifies deployment, configuration, monitoring, and maintenance of systems. With the integrated Dell iDRAC Remote Access Controller, you can control the server using a wide range of protocols and interfaces. Dell OpenManage is compatible with software solutions from leading suppliers, which increases the efficiency of consolidation and allows you to unify management tasks.

Along with high-performance servers, the company can also meet growing data storage requirements using Dell's flexible storage infrastructure. One movie sometimes requires more than 3 petabytes of capacity. Pixomondo uses Dell EqualLogic PS6510E disk arrays, a Dell PowerVault MD1000 storage system, and a Dell PowerVault NX3100 network storage with 10-gigabit iSCSI connections. For security, Pixomondo replicates data between storage arrays in different offices around the world.

The Dell EqualLogic PS6510E utilizes iSCSI storage area network, combining intelligence, automation, and fault tolerance for easy administration, fast deployment, increased performance and reliability, and full scalability. The PS6510E array is characterized by low storage costs and high installation density in a 4U form factor case. PS Series SANs based on PS6510E arrays can be scaled to 768 TB using a single, intuitive control interface.

The Dell EqualLogic and Dell PowerVault disk arrays are fairly simple to manage. With a global storage infrastructure companies handle only two administrators. IT staff in Germany attended a Dell EqualLogic Dell training seminar where they learned how to use embedded software for tasks such as replication and snapshots.

Dell PowerConnect 2824, 6248 and 8024F switches support reliable data network operation. They provide the speed and performance on which a company's global infrastructure depends. In addition, Pixomondo is now considering deploying Dell Force10 switches to further improve performance.

Dell PowerConnect switches provide robust security, fault-tolerant stacking and enterprise-class management capabilities that are ideal for applications that require high speed, availability, and manageability.

Employees of any Pixomondo office, located on different continents, interact with each other using Dell client technology. They use Dell Precision T5500 workstations with Intel Xeon processors, and many use Alienware desktops and monitors to work in 3D.

Each Dell Precision workstation is based on innovative technology, high performance and reliability.

Dell Precision Technologies select studios around the world, leveraging these workstations for visual effects and video processing. And Pixomondo is no exception. “We work with Dell Precision stations in all of our offices around the world. Our employees appreciate the performance and reliability of the Dell Precision technology, ”says Christian Vogt.

Dell ProSupport Support

He knows that when a working day in one office ends, employees in another part of the world can continue to work on the project without fail. “We have offices on three continents, but they all have to work together in one project in order to fit in on time,” Vogt said. Dell Global Support helps support effective office collaboration. Dell ProSupport support provides high availability to the entire Pixomondo infrastructure. Thanks to the next day’s on-site service anywhere in the world, a company can quickly solve any problems.

Dell launches products and solutions that enable you to migrate to software-defined data processing and storage centers. With their help, customers will be able to use traditional applications and at the same time implement new type of applications with different infrastructure requirements. Comprehensive infrastructure solutions, data storage systems and tools to run specific Dell workloads are focused on the needs of tomorrow.

“Dell ProSupport provides us with the support we need to run our business,” says Christian Vogt. The company sees the future in hosting and cloud services. She plans to move servers and storage to the data center, and staff to allocate virtual workstations. Pixomondo is currently in talks with Dell about moving its IT services to a Dell data center in Germany, from where IT services will get its offices all over the world via IP networks.

More productive workstations mean the productive work of artists, as well as the absence of the need to split large scenes into several files.

“We see Dell’s data centers as a very interesting proposition for hosting our IT services. It also gives us the opportunity to go to cloud services without risking data security, ”Vogt is sure. This would bring business flexibility to a new level and provide significant savings. We see that our business continues to grow with Dell as an IT partner who provides us with comprehensive solutions. ”


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