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DreamWorks Studio Turns to Cloud Computing

Today, DreamWorks Studios signed a multi-year contract with cloud computing provider Cerelink. This will allow DreamWorks to render computer animated films using elastic Cerelink computing resources housed in their facilities at the New Mexico Applications Center (NMCAC). Elastic cloud computing allows users to adjust computing capacity to meet their real-time needs.

Cerelink is a cloud computing provider to several studios in the entertainment industry. Previously, DreamWorks had used Cerelink’s private cloud computing to render parts of the movies Shrek Forever After and How to Train Your Dragon, both released in the past year.

James Ellington, CEO at Cerelink, says, “We forecast growing our technical capacity by 20 times by the end 2011 – this will create one of the largest cloud computing arrays for motion picture production in the world.” Current Cerelink facilities include several thousand square feet of data center space in Rio Rancho, NM, redundant electrical power grids, access to LambdaRail (a national high-speed broadband network), and to the Encanto supercomputer at the NMCAC. This offers a theoretical peak speed of 172 teraflops from the Altix ICE 8200 cluster, and 133 teraflops for sustained operation.

This sort of cloud computing provides an alternative to the on-premise, high-performance computing and storage facilities offered to the movie industry by companies like BlueArc, DataDirect, Dell, Hp, Isilon, and NetApp.

Movie production’s next big hotspot may very well be New Mexico. The state offers movie production incentives for operating within their borders, such as a 25% tax rebate. Also, the LambdaRail provides an ultra-fast network connection that links New Mexico to Hollywood. For the relative cheapness and flexibility of elastic cloud computing, animation and rendering may be relocated to New Mexico facilities.

[Photo courtesy of dreamworkspictures.]