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InfoQ Homepage News AWS Deadline Cloud: Q&A on the Cloud-Based Render Farm with Antony Passemard

AWS Deadline Cloud: Q&A on the Cloud-Based Render Farm with Antony Passemard

AWS has recently introduced Deadline Cloud, a new service designed to help creative teams manage rendering tasks more efficiently. The service is particularly useful for customers in the media & entertainment (M&E) and architecture, engineering, & construction (AEC) industries who need to generate final frames for film, TV, games, industrial design visualizations, and other digital media. The rendering process takes 2D/3D digital content data and computes an output such as an image or video file.

With Deadline Cloud, the company claims setting up a render farm becomes straightforward, allowing for quick scaling and the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously. The service includes a web portal for easy management of render farms, monitoring ongoing renders, and analyzing render logs while providing a transparent view of the costs involved.

AWS Deadline Cloud (Source: AWS News Blog Post)

InfoQ spoke with Antony Passemard, director and general manager of AWS Creative Tools, to learn more about the new service.

InfoQ: How does AWS Deadline Cloud address the challenge of managing peak demand periods in rendering projects without incurring unnecessary costs during off-peak times?

Antony Passemard: The Deadline Cloud cost management capabilities allow customers to manage rendering costs and keep budgets on track with pay-as-you-go pricing. This helps ensure that customers pay only for the compute needed for rendering. The service’s dashboard provides customers with a comprehensive view to analyze logs, preview in-progress render jobs, and quickly review and control costs to understand costs with high granularity on a project-by-project basis and with no upfront costs.

InfoQ: How does Deadline Cloud's built-in budget-management capability help customers track and control their spending on a detailed, project-by-project basis?

Antony Passemard: The Deadline Cloud budget manager lets you create and edit budgets to help manage project costs. The Deadline Cloud usage explorer allows you to view the number of AWS resources used and the estimated costs for those resources.

InfoQ: Can AWS Deadline Cloud integrate seamlessly with existing on-premises render farms, and if so, how does it manage the distribution of rendering jobs between cloud and on-premises resources?

Antony Passemard: Yes. Deadline Cloud automatically provisions Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and manages the network and compute infrastructure, simplifying customers’ ability to scale compute based on demand. For customers already invested in on-premises compute, Deadline Cloud can integrate with and extend their existing compute and use it to execute rendering jobs. Specifically, customers can set up queues, where submitted jobs are located and scheduled to be rendered, and fleets, which are groups of worker nodes that can support multiple queues. Since a fleet can consist of workers on AWS or on-premises, customers can control which workers pick up which jobs from which queues.

InfoQ: What specific features does Deadline Cloud offer to ensure it can handle the high-resolution content requirements of modern digital media production, particularly for 3D graphics and VFX in 16K resolution?

Antony Passemard: First and foremost, Deadline Cloud benefits from the scale, security, and agility of the AWS cloud. With Deadline Cloud, customers can scale thousands of compute instances up and down, minute to minute, to render complex assets like high-resolution content.

Deadline Cloud offers multiple ways for teams to use their favorite software or integrate proprietary tools. Deadline Cloud starts with integrated submitter plugins for Autodesk Maya, Foundry Nuke, and SideFX Houdini, which can submit Houdini-Karma, Maya-Arnold, and Nuke render jobs. Deadline Cloud also uses the OpenJD specification, which allows customers to develop custom submitter integrations for preferred tools. Additionally, customers can inspect the supplied plugins and develop custom integrations for other software. In this way, customers can render on their existing deployments without changing DCC or renderer software, providing flexibility to leverage tools that support various content types and requirements.

InfoQ: How does AWS ensure data security and compliance within Deadline Cloud, especially when integrating with third-party DCC software and render engines?

Antony Passemard: Security is our highest priority at AWS. AWS is architected to be the most secure global cloud infrastructure on which to build, migrate, and manage applications and workloads. Deadline Cloud customers will benefit from the Amazon shared responsibility model and a data center and network architecture that meet the requirements of the most risk-sensitive organizations. Data is encrypted at rest and in transit across all services, including encrypting all traffic bidirectionally on the AWS global and regional networks.

AWS Deadline Cloud is currently available in the US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Frankfurt), and Europe (Ireland) regions. The documentation pages provide more details.

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