Hammerspace with Microsoft Azure and Autodesk ShotGrid Skyrockets Jellyfish’s Visionary Leadership in Virtual Studios
Hammerspace, the pioneer of the Global Data Environment, announced that Jellyfish Pictures has deployed Hammerspace to advance the company’s virtual studio strategy and fuel ongoing massive business growth. The Hammerspace Global Data Environment is the first technology Jellyfish has found that enables content to be utilized with high-performance local access by artists wherever they work and allows rendering to be performed in any cloud region without creating workflow inefficiencies or multiple copies of data. Deploying Hammerspace has enabled Jellyfish to continue to take on new projects without the worry of finding sufficient local creative talent. Plus, it saves the company an average of 20 percent on cloud rendering projects by enabling content and leveraging the most cost-effective cloud compute region without concern for where the content was created. The Hammerspace approach can drive millions of dollars in savings annually if substantial public cloud resources need to be used for burst rendering.
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Jellyfish Pictures is one of the most respected visual effects (VFX) and animation studios in the world, employing more than 300 artists across two U.K. studios and offering remote work around the globe. The Jellyfish team has delivered world-class projects, adding its talents and innovation to blockbuster movies such as Lucasfilm’s Star Wars series, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Last Jedi and Rogue One. More recently, the team contributed to the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise with the series The Book of Boba Fett. Other TV credits include HBO’s Watchmen, Netflix’s The Innocents and Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation. Within Animation, Jellyfish has produced feature films Spirit: Untamed, How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming (DreamWorks Animation) and several top-rated children’s shows – always working under the motto “No borders. Total Security. Certain Delivery.”
“Hammerspace is a core part of the Jellyfish strategic vision, helping us expand our global workforce in a highly competitive industry, increase our productivity to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations and greatly reduce costs on multiple levels,” said Jeremy Smith, chief technology officer at Jellyfish Pictures. “The intelligence of the Hammerspace solution gives us far greater control of our data and provides quantifiable and tangible value to our business.”
Driving Operational Efficiency with Innovation
Jellyfish Pictures’ virtual transformation started in 2017, and the company went all-in with a complete shift to virtual VFX and animation studios in late 2019. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, it caused a sudden pause in live shoots, a dramatic move to remote work, and increased demand for animation and special effects to keep movie and television releases flowing. Jellyfish was already the early leader of virtual work in the industry; these shifts spurred Jellyfish to expand its technology capabilities to efficiently leverage a remote talent pool and accelerate the productivity of its new artists around the world to meet spiking demand.
As projects continued to be added to the Jellyfish workload, expenses also grew for infrastructure and computing resources. A typical rendering job uses thousands of CPUs or GPUs. Jellyfish needed the flexibility to preferentially fully utilize all of the compute power they owned and have the option to burst render to the most cost-effective cloud region. Hammerspace can be configured in any new cloud region in minutes. For example, rendering in London or Los Angeles is significantly more expensive than in some cloud regions located further from massive city centers. Jellyfish Pictures partnered with Azure and Hammerspace to transparently orchestrate content to a distributed and growing workforce and enable cost-effective renders in a choice of geographic cloud regions.
“Hammerspace provides the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective geographic region for data center and cloud hosting and rendering. For example, it is currently much more cost-effective to use infrastructure in Montreal than Toronto or Los Angeles,” said Smith, citing a recent article in IT World Canada where AJ Byers, CEO of Root Data Center, stated: “Montreal’s climate helps increase the efficiency of cooling platforms for the computing systems housed in data centres, which generate a significant amount of heat. There’s a concept called power utilization effectiveness (PUE) in the industry which measures how many kilowatts of energy are needed to run a facility and cool it for every kilowatt used per computer. Over the last number of years, we’ve seen PUE become a critical element for data centres because it drives the net cost of the service for many large-scale providers.”
Local Access to Remote Data, At Last
Artists can work from their home office with their preferred set of tools while accessing the content shared across all locations via the Hammerspace Global Data Environment. Hammerspace makes it possible for any user, any application, and any location to share the same data set or content repository and have high-performance, local read/write access to the content. Hammerspace is integrated with Jellyfish Pictures’ workflow management tool, Autodesk ShotGrid, enabling artists to seamlessly access the content they need, where they need it, with the workflow tools of which they are accustomed. The powerful integration of Hammerspace with ShotGrid, coupled with the choice in Microsoft Azure cloud regions, provides Jellyfish automated and efficient data mobility of millions of files for creative work and rendering, massively simplifying decentralized workflows.
Jellyfish also improved its disaster recovery planning using Hammerspace’s replication process to ensure the high availability of assets for ongoing work in the event of an outage.
“Hammerspace’s key mission is to help decentralized organizations use their data where and when they need it,” said Douglas Fallstrom, senior vice president of Product, Hammerspace. “We keep data accessible to the people who need it and their applications – from desktops to servers to the cloud – without requiring the creation of multiple copies of the content. Wherever creative talent is located, they can easily see and access their content no matter where it’s stored.”
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