Snowball VFX


Published on

Snowball deployed IBM Real-time Compression to transparently compress its existing storage by 70% while reducing its cost per TB by 70% and improving file access and backup performance. By automating the data compression process with IBM Real-time Compression Appliances, Snowball lowered costs, improved performance, and provided higher-quality animation at more competitive prices.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Snowball VFX

  1. 1. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study Snowball VFX With IBM Real-time Compression Challenge Overview Snowball VFX is a production and outsourcing services animation studio, specializing in highly complex 3-D animation projects and related serv- The need ices. Based on the philosophy that a studio designed by artists for artists Snowball stores up to 100 TB of anima- tion files for multiple artists to access fosters the best creative environment, Snowball provides its customers simultaneously. It needed to increase with high-quality animated content for home entertainment, computer effective storage capacity, reduce costs, games, TV series, feature films, and media campaigns, as well as software and speed up file access and backup. and project management solutions for animation companies worldwide. The solution Snowball deployed IBM® Real-time Although Snowball is a relatively small company with 70 employees, it is Compression to transparently compress a huge consumer of storage bandwidth and disk capacity. Its visual effects its existing storage by 70% while reducing and animation artists each require large amounts of storage space and its cost per TB by 70% and improving file access and backup performance. need high-speed access to data. During production, each artist is storing raw video files that are 300 MB to over 1 GB each. All files must be kept The benefit online and available on primary storage because many people are working By automating the data compression simultaneously on the same file. process with IBM Real-time Compression Appliances, Snowball lowered costs, improved performance, and provided At the start of its business, Snowball was utilizing a 2 TB solution for all higher-quality animation at more of its data storage. In five years, the company’s IT environment has grown competitive prices. to include 70 dual quad-core servers that sit in front of 100 TB of raw disk storage capacity from its IBM System Storage® N series. In addition to the servers, Snowball has 50 high-performance workstations for the artists who are creating the animation and visual effects. It required a solution that would minimize storage costs while still maintaining the performance level it required for accessing and backing up its large animation files.
  2. 2. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study Solution Snowball deployed an IBM Real-time Compression Appliance in front of “We simply couldn’t create its IBM System Storage N series and transparently increased its available or maintain the amount storage capacity by 3.5x. Snowball’s artists are creating 3-D animation of data we need without files; essentially these files are each small databases that are not very effective when stored on disk. However, once they are put through the the IBM Real-time automated real-time compression engine, they can be compressed by Compression solution. 70 percent. Currently, Snowball has 100 TB of data online, and after compression, it is able to access more than 200 TB of available storage It was what we needed space. Eighty percent of the available storage space is currently being so we implemented it. used for file storage, with the remaining 20 percent used for migrating Without data compres- data back and forth. sion we would have Beyond compressing files to save storage space, IBM Real-time needed twice the amount Compression also streamlined the artists’ workflow through the automation of the data compression and saved the company valuable of disks and twice the time, which equates to cost savings to the bottom line. Artists are not amount of storage sys- expending time decompressing and compressing zip files. The real-time tems. The IBM Real- compression happens transparently so artists are able to work on files just as if they were full files without compression. Snowball also realized time Compression significant improvements in file access performance of 93 percent and was Appliance enables us able to reduce file backup/restore times, further increasing productivity. to stay competitive and Snowball is constantly trying to find cost-effective ways to provide a continue to deliver higher better product at the best price in the industry. The IBM Real-time quality animation and Compression solution enabled the company to reduce its cost per ter- abyte of storage by over 70 percent—from $5,000 to less than $1,500 per effects to our customers terabyte. The savings are not limited only to compressing data and at a unique price point storing it; Snowball has also found ways to integrate some of its own technology into the pipeline, providing an additional layer of data man- in our industry.” agement and human management that further lowers production costs. —Yoni Cohen, founder, Snowball VFX The IBM Real-time Compression solution provides Snowball with far more capacity at a significantly lower cost per terabyte while also deliver- ing optimized performance and storage operations. This allows Snowball to meet its growing workload and increased capacity needs without any interruption to daily routine. 2
  3. 3. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study Key benefits Solution components: By automating the data compression process without any performance degradation, IBM Real-time Compression enabled Snowball to lower ● IBM® Real-time Compression Appliance STN6500 costs, improve performance, and provide higher-quality animation at ● IBM System Storage® N6040 competitive prices. Storage efficiency By utilizing the IBM Real-time Compression Appliance, Snowball’s animators and effects artists can compress files up to 70 percent, creating a 3.5x increase in effective storage capacity. Performance increase The automated compression of large animation files enabled Snowball to improve file access performance time by 93 percent and reduce backup/recovery times—significantly increasing artist productivity. Cost savings IBM Real-time Compression enabled Snowball to reduce the overall cost per terabyte throughout the data life cycle by over 70 percent (from $5,000 to less than $1,500). This allows the company to produce higher-quality animation and effects without increasing budget costs— giving Snowball a significant competitive edge. Summary IBM Real-time Compression is an innovative storage efficiency technol- ogy that can help clients manage network attached storage (NAS) data growth and reduce complexity in the IT department. IBM Real-time Compression Appliances are the only storage compression solutions that can shrink primary, online NAS data in real time, without performance degradation. On busy systems, IBM Real-time Compression can improve user response time and application throughput by improving the efficiency of the disk system cache, as well as the disks. The business benefits of IBM Real-time Compression extend beyond primary data. Efficiency can be improved throughout the information life cycle. Copies, snapshots, archives, and backups can deliver significant additional cost savings when primary data has been compressed. IT realizes greater storage efficiency, productivity, performance, and cost reduction with real-time compression. 3
  4. 4. For more informationTo learn more about IBM Real-time Compression Appliances, pleasecontact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner,or visit the following website:, financing solutions from IBM Global Financing can enableeffective cash management, protection from technology obsolescence,improved total cost of ownership and return on investment. Also, ourGlobal Asset Recovery Services help address environmental concernswith new, more energy-efficient solutions. For more information onIBM Global Financing, visit:© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011IBM Systems and Technology GroupRoute 100Somers, New York 10589U.S.A.Produced in the United States of AmericaJuly 2011All Rights ReservedIBM, the IBM logo,, Let’s build a smarter planet, smarter planet, theplanet icons and IBM Real-time Compression are trademarks of InternationalBusiness Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both.Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marksof others.References in this publication to IBM products, programs, or services do not implythat IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates.Offerings are subject to change, extension, or withdrawal without notice.All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products andthe results they may have achieved.The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, eitherexpressed or implied. Please Recycle TSC03131-USEN-00