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Adam DuguayBuilding Server / After Effects Render Farm
by on Sep 2, 2010 at 4:10:15 pm

Hello,

We're a small motion shop looking to expand our storage / file sharing solution.
I would also like to use this solution as a render farm for A.E

I wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to do this on a fairly small budget.

Any hardware recommendations etc...

One Idea I had was to purchase a MacPro and run an instance of the A.E Renderer on it.

But not sure what I would need for a switch. We have gigabit ethernet cable running to all of our workstations, but we don't have a giga swtich.

Also, any ideas for a safe redundant storage solution would be greatly appreciated.

A


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Tim VaughanRe: Building Server / After Effects Render Farm
by on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:18:37 pm

There are many, many different ways to accomplish this. However, for a limited budget, I would personally go the route of purchasing a few hard drives and a few Mac Mini's, along with an Apple router. (This is, of course, keeping it within the Apple Family)
I'd connect the hard drives to the router, connects the Mini's to the router as well--maybe depending on how may you have, get a cheap little switch/hub for additional ports--and do the work on the main computer. When your ready to render, collect the files to the external hard drive, and put those mini's to work.
This would probably be the most cost-effective structure. But like I said, there are many different ways to do this. Hope this helps.

Tim

Tim


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Walter SoykaRe: Building Server / After Effects Render Farm
by on Sep 2, 2010 at 7:25:46 pm

[Adam Duguay] "We're a small motion shop looking to expand our storage / file sharing solution. I would also like to use this solution as a render farm for A.E"

Can you describe your current setup in more detail?

AE's networked watch folder renderer is extremely disk-intensive. If you are rendering, your other file sharing performance will suffer.

[Adam Duguay] "One Idea I had was to purchase a MacPro and run an instance of the A.E Renderer on it."

If you have a lot of RAM (3-4 GB per core), this could work, but one machine isn't even a render garden, let alone a render farm. There will be a lot of overhead associated with performing a network render, so if your total render power isn't substantially more than any one workstation's, I don't know if you'll see a return on your investment.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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