Visual effects studio El Ranchito teams with Avere Systems for VFX Work on
Latest Game of Thrones Season
Based in Madrid, boutique Spanish visual effects studio El Ranchito is a small but mighty force. Despite its small stature, the VFX studio has proven itself as a creative giant, crafting visual masterpieces for films and TV shows such as “The Expendables 2,” “The Impossible,” “The Knick” and “Boardwalk Empire.” But it was having a big problem – storage latency issues that were grinding production to a halt.
To fix the problem, El Ranchito turned to the Avere Systems FXT Edge filer to help it with its latest projects on the sixth season of “Game of Thrones” and a fantasy drama film, “A Monster Calls.”
El Ranchito knew that to remain competitive with far larger rival studios it needed to enhance its current IT infrastructure to stay on track with tight production schedules. The studio was suffering storage latency issues that brought production to a standstill, and El Ranchito knew it needed a performance-focused solution to fix the problem. With an increased workload, the studio had to boost the number of artists to work on Game of Thrones Season 6, but it couldn’t because of the existing IT infrastructure constraints.
“It was not possible for the artists to work, it was a nightmare,” said Fran Andreo, El Ranchito’s IT Manager. “With latency mainly due to the sluggish render farm performance, the artists couldn’t work as the files were just not available fast enough for them.”
El Ranchito chose the Avere FXT Edge filer for its ability to improve storage performance as well as its proven track record in providing storage solutions for the media and entertainment sector. El Ranchito moved a significant amount of TBs in its storage from Windows servers to new Linux servers. A cluster of Avere FXT nodes was attached, serving the hot, active files to the artists. Spanish reseller Trigital managed this architectural transition and helped the company move to an optimized storage platform with Avere.
El Ranchito now depends on the Avere Edge filer cluster to eliminate project-crippling latency issues. Andreo quickly recognized the various business benefits, including increased render capability — with a large number of additional render nodes added — and the subsequent ability to employ more artists and win larger projects. “With Avere, we can have all artists we need because the infrastructure is stable and fast,” Andreo said. “Before Avere, we couldn’t realistically support all the artists we needed.”
Because of Avere, El Ranchito’s storage infrastructure can now support more artists, allowing it to easily double its workforce to take on new projects — no small accomplishment when a small studio is competing with others far larger and far more deep-pocketed.
“Avere really did save the day when latency was crippling production,” said Andreo, who has worked for the studio for eight years. “Thanks to Avere, El Ranchito is now able to grow beyond the restrictions of our old storage infrastructure.”
Ron Bianchini, President and CEO of Avere Systems said he’s pleased with the company’s progress in adding media and entertainment companies as customers.
“With a growing international roster of customers in the media and entertainment sector, Avere is delighted to now be working with a Spanish studio creating fantastic visual effects, with our technology transforming the way the company is running and its position amongst global competitors,” Bianchini said. “Avere is proud to be El Ranchito’s enabler to expand its business with more new projects and more artists.”
Other organizations that also use Avere’s FXT Edge filer include Dutch commercial broadcasting company SBS Broadcasting BV (SBS) and award-winning Moonbot Studios. In the past year, both organizations faced similar roadblocks when they had to render large amounts of data. Avere has been able to enhance both storage infrastructures.
In the case of SBS, the company chose a combined solution that uses an Avere FXT Edge filer providing a high- performance and powerful interface allowing any application to access its new object storage platform. This integrated solution began as an operational trial using a half-petabyte of storage and, based on the success of this innovative approach, SBS now plans to expand the installation to include a large multipurpose library of broadcast content, video editing and transcoding as well as meeting its backup and archive requirements.
With Moonbot, the company chose to supplement its on-premises compute resources using Google Compute Engine, with Avere running in the cloud in order to easily move data between Google and Moonbot’s existing on-premises storage arrays. Since implementing Avere, Moonbot has benefited from extremely low-latency access to active data and compute processes that run at peak performance, reducing project cycle times from months to a matter of seconds. This allows the studio to optimize its production experience and seamlessly integrate Google Compute Engine into its own infrastructure.
For Andreo and his team at El Ranchito, Avere’s FXT Edge filer has made all the difference. The studio is now more than able to meet demand and hold its own against larger competitors.
“As a small VFX studio, we can now compete with the big players and produce top quality visuals with no delays in production,” Andreo said.
Gretchen Weaver is the digital marketing manager at Avere Systems where she oversees the content creation for the company’s website, technical white papers and educational webinars. She is an integral member of the Avere team, connecting companies with information, education and personal help by both the sales and engineering teams. Gretchen draws on over 20 years of experience in business development and marketing with extensive knowledge in enterprise technology and B2B marketing. Gretchen holds a Masters of Arts in Corporate Communications from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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