Customer Reveals How the Cloud-Native, High-Performance File System Proved to Be the Most Cost-Effective Storage Solution for Its VFX Workflow
WekaIO, an innovation leader in high-performance, scalable file storage for data intensive applications, announced that Untold Studios, an independent creative studio community based in the UK, is using the WekaIO Matrix™ file system on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to manage its visual effects (VFX) workflow. The company chose Matrix because it is cloud-native, built on AWS, and doesn’t require a big CapEx investment to spin up. A simplified implementation, the elimination of management overhead, and the ability to scale with its business demands, were additional considerations for the studio.
“WekaIO Matrix with AWS allowed us to start with a small cluster and grow it as our business demands grow.”
Untold Studios has a rich history in VFX, a workflow that typically has intense resource requirements, including a render farm and huge storage cluster. Most visual effects studios build their IT infrastructure on-premises, but Untold Studios is unique in that 100% of its workflow is managed on AWS. The decision to be 100% cloud-based has freed the company from the business constraints that limit the potential of other VFX studios. Instead, it enjoys the freedom and ability of multiple workgroups and VFX artists to access the content they need from any location, thus allowing it to employ the best creative VFX talent from anywhere in the world.
“Our studio is no longer constrained by the physical location of our data, so we don’t have to have artists in the office working on content – they can be anywhere in the world,” said Sam Reid, Head of Technology at Untold Studios. “WekaIO Matrix with AWS allowed us to start with a small cluster and grow it as our business demands grow.”
The studio’s VFX artists can connect to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) G3 instances in the cloud and get the same performance as if the system were on-premises or if they were using local disk. Amazon EC2 G3 instances are the latest generation of Amazon EC2 Accelerated Compute instances that make it easy for customers to procure a powerful combination of GPU, CPU and host memory workloads such as 3D rendering.
According to Reid, while rendering has been in the cloud for years, historically the workflow required moving data from on-premises to the cloud, which put immense pressure on operations and is hugely time consuming. Using WekaIO Matrix and AWS, Untold Studios has eliminated the operational overhead of managing data movement. Now, all that moves are pixels on the screen, and artists mice and keyboards.
Before deciding on Matrix and AWS, the studio conducted a comprehensive evaluation of many storage solutions to assess their ability to address its challenges. With WekaIO and AWS it discovered two compelling benefits: Matrix tiers data to cost-effective Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) storage, an important feature given the amount of data the company generates; and superior support, which is critical given its limited IT administrative resources.
“It’s always difficult to be the trendsetter and try something new. Untold Studios is laying the storage infrastructure blueprint for the future of VFX and creative studios,” said Liran Zvibel, co-founder and CEO of WekaIO. “We built our business similarly, Matrix was born in the cloud. Creative studios would gain the same benefits of moving their workflow to AWS—simplicity in implementation, anytime and anywhere access to content, lower management overhead, massive scale and elasticity, and performance equal to on-premises systems. With such an attractive cost-benefit equation, it makes sense to move a VFX workflow to the cloud.”