Cementing relationships with well-known firms is one thing most each IT vendor hopes to realize. That’s hardly shocking, since doing enterprise with organizations which can be family names means that distributors are doing one thing proper. Usually that assumption is totally appropriate, since profitable firms can decide whom they need to do enterprise with and sometimes select distributors whose merchandise greatest match their wants.
Touchdown a shopper like this and maintaining the connection on observe qualifies as a giant deal however so does being supplanted by a strong rival. At Lenovo’s latest Tech World convention, the corporate introduced that animation chief DreamWorks Animation had chosen Lenovo’s Knowledge Heart Group (DCG) to replace its legacy knowledge heart. DreamWorks had a longstanding strategic relationship with knowledge heart vendor HPE.
Let’s contemplate what seemingly drove DreamWorks’ resolution and why Lenovo is the fitting vendor for the job.
Hyperlinks between Hollywood and Silicon Valley
The expertise and leisure industries have been linked on the hip for effectively over three a long time, with computer-generated imagery (CGI) making a large leap into mainstream movies in 1991. That was the 12 months that audiences flocked to James Cameron‘s Terminator 2: Judgment Day that includes the awesomely liquid metallic T-1000 killer robotic and Disney‘s Magnificence and the Beast, the second conventional 2D animated movie to be totally made utilizing CAPS (laptop animation manufacturing system) applied sciences. Since then, CGI and CAPS have dominated mainstream movies—the 50 highest-grossing films of the previous decade nearly all utilized or depended totally on CGI or CAPS.
Whereas a tiny handful of IT distributors (notably, Silicon Graphics/SGI) dominated early productions with proprietary options and instruments, the shift towards industry-standard parts and techniques sparked elementary adjustments. That was due largely to synergies between graphics rendering processes and high-performance computing (HPC) applied sciences, the tip end result being the emergence of Intel-based techniques distributors as main gamers and companions in CGI and CAPS manufacturing.
These included the 2002 strategic alliance between HP (now HPE and HP Inc.) and DreamWorks, which adopted the businesses’ collaboration on DreamWorks’ Shrek and continued by means of different DreamWorks franchises, together with Kung Fu Panda, Tips on how to Practice Your Dragon, Trolls and The Croods. The alliance survived HP’s 2015 break up into separate shopper/printing and knowledge heart firms. Whereas remaining partnered with HP Inc., when DreamWorks started planning to improve its rendering knowledge heart, it turned to Lenovo DCG.
Why DreamWorks selected Lenovo
What led to the deal? Whereas few particulars concerning the mission’s dimension and scope can be found, it’s cheap to imagine that DreamWorks was drawn to Lenovo’s deep expertise in high-performance computing (HPC), the corporate’s progressive system designs and applied sciences and its international provide chain prowess.
As was famous within the story detailing the settlement, HPC is vitally essential in digital content material creation the place “producing a computer-generated animated characteristic sometimes takes 4 years with a whole lot of artists and engineers working in tandem to create half a billion digital information that require 200 million compute hours (22,000 compute years) to render.”
Lenovo is deeply skilled in all phases of HPC each on the highest ranges of supercomputing-assisted analysis and in a broad vary of business and industrial purposes. The corporate has earned extra locations on the Top500.org record of greatest performing supercomputers than some other vendor since pushing HPE out of the highest spot in June 2018.
In different phrases, it’s onerous to think about a greater associate to assist develop and deploy a world-class HPC cluster. Moreover, the expertise Lenovo gained working with high-end supercomputing prospects, together with the Leibniz Computing Heart, Cineca and the Barcelona Supercomputing Heart, has knowledgeable and impressed Lenovo’s industrial HPC options, together with the ThinkSystem SR670, ThinkSystem SD530 and ThinkSystem SD650.
The ThinkSystem SD650 additionally options Lenovo Neptune, a notable liquid-cooling expertise that the corporate says can ship as much as a 40% financial savings in knowledge heart power bills or assist prospects pack considerably extra compute energy right into a smaller house. These factors had been particularly essential to DreamWorks, which runs its knowledge heart at a excessive utilization charge (at present 98%) and wished to keep away from increasing the footprint of its rendering facility.
Lastly, the complexities of the DreamWorks mission, together with challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, required excessive ranges of design, improvement and deployment experience. Lenovo labored with DreamWorks contractors to combine the plumbing and cooling techniques so the techniques might rapidly go dwell and begin including worth. Lenovo’s logistics staff leveraged the corporate’s international provide chain, pre-ordering parts with lengthy lead occasions, staging them in Europe so they might be out there as wanted, and dealing with international suppliers to ship the techniques and synchronize their arrival.
Based on Skottie Miller, a Expertise Fellow at DreamWorks Animation: “It was a superbly orchestrated logistical masterpiece. I used to be joking that I couldn’t purchase a roll of bathroom paper throughout the pandemic, however I might purchase and set up a supercomputer.”
IT distributors prefer to deal with the worth of marketing-leading efficiency and new technological improvements. Nevertheless, having the expertise to know a buyer’s enterprise wants and the flexibleness to ship and deploy new options as they’re required are equally essential. DreamWorks Animation’s effort to replace its rendering knowledge heart is an instance of how, with a associate similar to Lenovo DCG, a corporation can take pleasure in or deal with all these points and be able to pursue ever-greater achievements.
Charles King is a principal analyst at PUND-IT and a daily contributor to eWEEK. © 2020 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.