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High-end storage at nWave Digital

Posted on 24 January 2012 by Pierre Picard

nwave digital logo

Brussels based nWave Digital has been attracting attention recently thanks to the popular success of ‘Sammy’s Adventures’, a 3D animated movie. The leading-edge company has just installed an EMC Isilon storage system, distributed by Bull, in response to the growing needs of its designers and graphics artists for storage capacity.

nWave Digital is a Belgian company specializing in stereoscopic films, that has managed to compete with US giants like Pixar and Dreamworks with productions such as ‘Fly me to the moon’ and ‘Sammy’s ad ventures’. The company – which also produces 4D features for theme parks and film simulations for rides – employs around 110 people, a hundred of them graphic artists.

 

Inevitably, creating 3D and 4D films requires state-of-the-art computing resources. In nWave Digital’s case, the ‘render farm’ – the collection of virtual servers that provides the designers with the processing power they need to create, simulate and assemble each frame of the movie – is teamed with a highly specific and rigorous file storage system.

 “Every graphic specialist working on an image has to be able to browse through up to 33 million different small files containing different graphical elements (texture, design elements, color…), in a flash,” explains Joël Labby, Technical Director at nWave Digital. “That requires an extremely robust file management system, capable of juggling these millions of files while ensuring rapid response times to queries from the 250 machines in the pool with an average of 4,000 transactions a second.”

 Given the very specific needs and level of performance required, nWave Digital’s IT infrastructure was some way behind prevailing market standards. “We needed to upgrade our HP storage system, which we were not really happy with either in terms of service quality or scalability. We were looking for a new supplier we could totally trust, who understood our business and whose solution was flexible but also financially realistic,” Joël Labby continues.

 Isilon storage platform

nWave Digital chose the Isilon storage platform from EMC. Bull was the reseller for the system, while EMC provides technical support directly to the customer. The solution involves a powerful cluster system based around six X200 nodes – 11 TB HDD and 200 GB SSD, 24 GB of RAM, for a total estimate capacity of 60.4 TB. “The Isilon platform – which has been up and running since August 2011 – lets us manage very high data flows and meet the demands for exponential increases in storage that are typical in our industry. We have been very pleased with the flexibility shown by EMC and Bull, both in terms of the technical criteria and the commercial conditions they offered,” Joël Labby stresses.

 Saskia Van Uffelen, Managing Director of Bull Belux says: “We are delighted that – with the nWave Digital contract – EMC has reaffirmed us as its chosen distribution partner for Isilon. This robust and flexible storage platform further enhances our portfolio of High-Performance Computing solutions.”

 “With Isilon, nWave Digital now has a flexible storage system with the necessary processing power, performance and high speeds,” adds Geert Van Peteghem, Belux Country Manager at EMC. “What’s more, Bull’s expertise guarantees that nWave Digital has a solution that totally meets its needs.”                                      

 About nWave

nWave is a Belgian company specializing in the production and international distribution of immersive 3D/4D content. nWave Digital is a fully integrated digital studio capable of delivering all stages of production, including concept development, financing, production, post-production, sales and distribution of the most innovative 3D and 4D films.
More about nwave at http://www.nwave.com/

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