Software, hardware, and bandwidth updates

Posted on March 27, 2017 in Blog \ News

It’s been a few weeks since we last posted a blog update, but that’s because we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes with more updates and upgrades.  In the order mentioned in the title:

Software updates

  • alShaders in all Maya and Cinema 4D instances has been updated to 1.0.0rc19
  • Cinema 4D R18 was updated to R18.041
  • Vue 2016 standalone was deployed
  • Agent estimation (both cost and time) algorithms were improved significantly, especially for jobs with variable slice render times
  • The Agent is in the process of getting a major GUI overhaul.  Watch in the coming weeks for that release.

Hardware upgrades

  • The dust has settled on the 7th major version of our storage subsystem.  This system has already shown better performance and uptime than all previous systems put together.  We’re really happy about this one, as it has been a multi-year process to locate, try, and implement a storage subsystem that actually works like it’s supposed to.  It shouldn’t have been nearly this difficult, but we’re glad this saga appears to have drawn to a close.
  • The core scheduling system is due for replacement with new hardware.  The current system has served us well for the past 4 years, but we are reaching the outer bounds of its capabilities.  The new system will be implemented during a scheduled maintenance window very soon.  A separate blog post will detail the timing of that.

Bandwidth improvements

  • Another 1Gbps Internet circuit was provisioned to add to the bandwidth the farm already had.  We’ve seen very noticeable improvements in data transfer speeds for customers who have access to more than 100Mbps Internet connections on their end.  Combined throughput in and out of the farm has never been higher.
  • A major agent update is in the works that will streamline and integrate the Project Cache feature more directly into the job submission process.  Specifically, we will offer an option to have normal jobs cached by default, for a short period of time.  This will be a tremendous upload bandwidth saver for our customers, as we’ve seen several scenarios where Project Cache utilization would have helped immensely.  We’re trying to reduce the barrier to entry of this useful function.

As you can tell, there’s plenty going on under the hood here at Pixel Plow.  Many more improvements in addition to the above are already underway.  Enjoy!


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