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One Data Center To Rule Them All

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the my-preciousss dept.

Supercomputing 112

1sockchuck writes "Weta Digital, the New Zealand studio that created the visual effects for the 'Lord of the Rings' movie trilogy, has launched a new "extreme density" data center to provide the computing horsepower to power its digital renderings. Weta is running four clusters that are each equipped with 156 of HP's new 2-in-1 blade servers, and use liquid cooling to manage the heat loads. The Weta render farms currently hold spots 219 through 222 on the current Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers."

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Obligatory... (4, Funny)

DamienNightbane (768702) | about 6 years ago | (#24919933)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these...

No, imagine (5, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | about 6 years ago | (#24919949)

a balrog cluster of them!

Re:No, imagine (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920129)

Networked on a Tolkien ring?

Re:No, imagine (2, Funny)

pxlmusic (1147117) | about 6 years ago | (#24920309)

thread fucking over. LOL

Re:No, imagine (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | about 6 years ago | (#24920639)

Yeah, that was quite preciousssssss.

Re:No, imagine (2, Informative)

StarfishOne (756076) | about 6 years ago | (#24925291)

Throughput on a Tolkien ring can reach very high performance levels when the data is encoded in an Elvish Language.

For strange characters support, unicorn encoding is recommended.

Re:No, imagine (1)

Schlage (195535) | about 6 years ago | (#24926397)

You're trying too hard. :-p

Re:No, imagine (2, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 years ago | (#24921695)

a balrog cluster of them!

That would be a daemon of the ancient computers.

Re:No, imagine (2, Funny)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 6 years ago | (#24924453)

So, does Mithrandir then become the code name for the firewall, preventing pre-release leaks of footage?

"You cannot pass!!"

HI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920321)

Hi, I am a DARKIE!! But at least I didn't use the N-word...

Re:Obligatory... (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | about 6 years ago | (#24920363)

You better have a good way to cool that Beowulf cluster! We have several racks of the 460c blades and they crank out the heat! Got 4 Lieberts install to keep up with the heat output, plus the remainder of the hardware in the room!

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920943)

These are no regular clusters! their armor is thick and their sheilds broad!

Releasing the heat? (5, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | about 6 years ago | (#24919983)

How do they release the heat in the hot water?

Two Towers?

Re:Releasing the heat? (2, Funny)

MindKata (957167) | about 6 years ago | (#24920245)

"How do they release the heat in the hot water?"

They don't, the Orc's working there, have been waiting for a hot water bath for years.

Re:Releasing the heat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24922947)

By farting in the bath ?

Did someone say heat loads? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24919995)

I'll show you heat loads [wikipedia.org] .

"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#24920009)

I can't mention who I work for for obvious reasons, but we did some experimenting with "extreme density" computing some time ago as part of a black ops project for the government. We achieved densities previously unheard of by man.

Unfortunately, we got greedy. We increased the density so far that the entire facility ended up collapsing into a black hole, wiping out much of the state of North Dakota. We were able to contain the damage, and we've managed to keep it a secret by replacing the state with a hologram projection, but eventually someone is going to go there and figure out that something is amiss.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

NoisySplatter (847631) | about 6 years ago | (#24920059)

So that's why the homesteading programs i read about in the back of Popular Science all those years ago were shut down.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24920147)

We increased the density so far that the entire facility ended up collapsing into a black hole, wiping out much of the state of North Dakota.

By North Dakota, I assume you mean Idaho [google.com] .

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (0, Offtopic)

DamienNightbane (768702) | about 6 years ago | (#24920197)

That's not funny! My brother died that way!

You forgot to post as AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920229)

That will be your last mistake. Ever.

...and a darkness spread over the land... (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 6 years ago | (#24920291)

Note the vague phonetic similarity between "North Dakota" and "Mordor."

Did this project happen to hand out t-shirts... or, hm, something less obvious like... rings?

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

RobBebop (947356) | about 6 years ago | (#24920319)

wiping out much of the state of North Dakota. We were able to contain the damage, and we've managed to keep it a secret by replacing the state with a hologram projection, but eventually someone is going to go there and figure out that something is amiss.

Wiping out North Dakota [wikipedia.org] shouldn't be too hard. There's only about 600,000 people in the state [wikipedia.org] and half of them live on the eastern border within 4 miles of Minnesota.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 6 years ago | (#24920653)

Doesn't take many people to plant and harvest wheat.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 6 years ago | (#24922835)

That far north, it's amazing they have as many people as they do up there.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 6 years ago | (#24927039)

simple english wikipedia? eww...

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Pascoea (968200) | about 6 years ago | (#24920341)

I could only have hoped for such a thing this morning. I really didn't want to get up for work this morning. Getting rid of my whole state would have solved that problem quite sufficiently.

It does kind of remind me of Austin Powers though:
(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145660/quotes)
Commander Gilmour: Are you suggesting that we blow up the moon?
The President: Would you miss it?
[looks around the table]
The President: Would you miss it?

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 6 years ago | (#24922851)

There's an 'e' on the end of Gilmoure.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Pascoea (968200) | about 6 years ago | (#24923841)

hey, I just shamelessly stole it. Blame the man.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 6 years ago | (#24923937)

Heh. Always makes me laugh, hearing the name. I've been using Gilmoure since I started gaming, in late '70's. Means 'dark star' in Elvish.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920359)

Dammit, I grew up in North Dakota. This explains the horrible, crushing feelings of despair and loneliness throughout the years. You bastards!

Wow--So What Was It Like? (1)

severoon (536737) | about 6 years ago | (#24921379)

Amazing! So what was North Dakota like before it became the vast, desolate wasteland devoid of any trace of humanity it is now?

Re:Wow--So What Was It Like? (1)

bursch-X (458146) | about 6 years ago | (#24927749)

It was a vast, desolate wasteland with some traces of humanity.

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24922687)

Didn't that create a wormhole back in time to 1944, and a certain ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard?

Why a hologram? (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 6 years ago | (#24926555)

North Dakota is 2-dimensional, you insensitive clod!

Re:"Extreme Density" computing can be hazardous (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | about 6 years ago | (#24928315)

And here I always thought the Eureka Advanced Research Facility was in Oregon! I am gonna go waaay out on a limb here and guess your name "eln" is a clever reference to either VAXeln or electronic lab notebooks, either one suggests you are in fact Henry Deacon.....

Just a sec, someone's landing a unmarked chopper in my back-----------------

>>>connection reset by peer

John McCain's One Word Platform: POW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920141)

Vote For Flight Safety - Vote Against John McCain [vietnamvet...mccain.com]

Water-cooled datacenters (4, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24920205)

I'm of a mixed mindset when it comes to water-cooled datacenters.

On one hand, you've got the makings of a biblical scale disaster with all that water and electricity mixing.

On the other hand, you can't argue with it's effectiveness.

I'll stick to non-catastrophic issues when my
air conditioner breaks down.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | about 6 years ago | (#24920253)

I agree. Plus, even though they mention the Rittal units [rittal.com] , no one seems to be able to answer how the water cooled units plan for redundancy. It might not be pretty, but at least in a "traditional" raised floor/forced air solution, you can deploy spot coolers and/or fans as you need to mitigate an outage or allow for maintenance. What do you do when you burst a cooling water pipe as it distributes to a row of equipment?

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24921717)

Think about the application a bit though. This is for rendering movies, not any kind of continuously-available interactive processing. If you lose cooling for a rack or a row, maybe you just have to shut down those sections of the cluster and your rendering will be delayed. Delays certainly cost money, but if you size your compute capacity to allow for that eventuality, then you're ok...

Your concern is certainly one that needs to be considered for many data center applications, but Weta Digital may be in a position to handle the backup/redundancy issues in a different way.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (4, Informative)

davesag (140186) | about 6 years ago | (#24920421)

Liquid cooled, not water cooled. They cool it in an inert liquid, rather than water.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24920781)

Ouch. I've seen the prices of some of the 3M inert liquids, and those are incredibly expensive. I can't imagine buying the hundreds of gallons it would take to cool an entire datacenter.

Also, like Critical Facilities above mentioned, what do you do for heat dissipation in the event of a leak?

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920925)

I can't speak for anyone else, but in our data center we have two sets of chilled water pipes and two sets of return pipes, in case one does break. They are valved all over the place so any one set of pipe can go down and the others continue working.

As well, the chilled water never enters the data center. Our CRAC units sit outside of the data center and are ducted in overhead (because we can reach higher space velocities than with a raised floor). Thus, no chilled water ever gets inside of hte data center rooms.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24922135)

Last time I worked on a data center with direct water cooled equipment was in the '80s. It was IBM mainframes piped up directly to a Chilled Water system. Never had a leak.

But the latest "state of the art"+/- high density cooling equipment for racks pumps around regular refrigerants - in their liquid state, not a compressorized phase-change system. This is more expensive than water, but less expensive than some of the other specialized "inert liquids". The good thing about it, is, that if there's a leak, it harmlessly evporates, keeping the servers safe, though it may displace the breathable air and suffocate you.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24922979)

Yeah, but that can't be your only cooling system, as you have to run it 4 degrees above the dew point or you get condensation and water drips down onto your racks.

It's only supplemental to your regular CRACs that still do the majority of the cooling and humidity control.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

mowall (865642) | about 6 years ago | (#24920857)

Liquid cooled, not water cooled. They cool it in an inert liquid, rather than water.

No. From TFA: "One of our most important decisions was to invest in water-cooled racks from Rittal, which allows us to precisely control the amount of cooling that a specific rack requires," said Shand.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 6 years ago | (#24921133)

From the fine article:

"That kind of density creates a cooling challenge. âoeOne of our most important decisions was to invest in water-cooled racks from Rittal, which allows us to precisely control the amount of cooling that a specific rack requires,â said Shand."

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#24921211)

Pure water is electrically inert. Though given how dusty servers tend to get, I doubt it really matters.

Regardless, I've never had a watercooling leak that wasn't my own fault (not connecting the fitting properly), and obviously in this kind of scenario you test things first. Then again, I'm talking about a couple of boxes, not a datacenter.

Fluorinert or something similar would be very effective and a whole hell of a lot safer for this. It's certainly not cheap, but given the fact that you can effectively use it to replace your HVACs (or at least move them to somewhere more efficient), the cost may be worth it.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 years ago | (#24928165)

Pure water is pretty hard to achieve and manage - check out the water treatment areas at any thermal power station. Boiler water is pretty close to pure with often some fairly nasty additives to get the dissolved oxygen out.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Brigadier (12956) | about 6 years ago | (#24922219)

it's only inert until it is mixed with some dirt/dust/grime/paint. :(

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (3, Informative)

MrMunkey (1039894) | about 6 years ago | (#24920463)

Would it be a good idea to replace the water with mineral oil? I'm sure a lot of you have seen the computers submerged in mineral oil, so it would probably just cause a mess if there was a leak. The problem with mineral oil (based on my limited knowledge from searching just now) is that it's not as efficient at removing heat as water, and after time the oil breaks down and needs replacing to remain at its most efficient. I'm not sure if the heat levels from a server would be high enough to degrade the oil though. I'm also uncertain if the oil would cause any damage to the pumps (or whatever pushes the liquid around) in the water cooling system.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

funaho (42567) | about 6 years ago | (#24920555)

Throw in some bikini-clad babes and you've got a supercomputer cluster that makes its own porn!

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 6 years ago | (#24924533)

One other problem, if I'm not mistaken, is that it has a way of chemically altering the materials used in electrical insulation and rubber. Meaning, increased chances of shorts in cables that contain the stuff.

Another that the potting/submerging discussion touched on not long ago is the fact that mineral oil climbs anything and everything when in motion, leaching out of even the tightest seals, which is the biggest cause of the "big mess" you mentioned.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24925845)

Why not motor oil?

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 6 years ago | (#24920775)

I'm of a mixed mindset when it comes to water-cooled datacenters.

On one hand, you've got the makings of a biblical scale disaster with all that water and electricity mixing.

We had such a disaster many years ago.

The coolant lines themselves circled the walls near the ceiling of the dinosaur pen. Beneath each line was a drip tray that was alarmed to sound in case moisture was detected. These drip trays ran the entire length of the coolant lines. That is, the entire length except for about six inches in the very corner, where it was too hard for the tray installers to get to because they were behind the conduit leading down to the main power transformer. I can only assume that all that conduit also made it difficult for the plumbers to properly solder the elbow in the cooling line as well.

Of course there was only one place for the pipe to leak. The version of the tale I heard implies an impressive display of fireworks was seen by all present as the coolant entered the transformer.

Fortunately, the loss of power did not damage the mainframes (except for their ability to run.) The rooftop generator was fired up, and in short order the mainframes were back on line.

And in short order the generator engines stopped because the fuel tanks were kept almost empty, the plan being to fully fuel them only in case of need.

Once the replacement fuel was delivered, the generators ran for only a few minutes before dying again, this time for good. The ancient fuel had congealed in the injectors once the engines had stopped running.

We ran our data center for two weeks powered from a truck-based generator parked in the street while the electricians replaced the transformers and repaired the generators.

I now hear the diesel generator being started every month or two, and run for a few hours.

Rather than a biblical disaster, I'd say it was more like a Marx Brothers' movie.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24920861)

wow, that's rough, but thanks for sharing!

Our generator test-runs every Thursday for a few minutes to make sure everything will be ok. You know, theoretically

It doesn't always work out like that [blogspot.com]

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | about 6 years ago | (#24922855)

Reminds me of those pressure valves on water heaters. Periodically, one turns it on to check the line still flows. But, I've never met anybody that does. Not that it's likely to come up in a conversation.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 years ago | (#24923035)

Now that you mention it, I've actually done that. I discovered (the hard way) that mineral deposits built up inside the valve get dislodged when it's triggered, and sometimes those chunks then get in the way of sealing the valve again. Which meant a stream of hot water that couldn't be shut off until I shut off the house valve and couldn't be turned on again until I bought a new pressure relief valve.

So now I don't do that anymore.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

philipmather (864521) | about 6 years ago | (#24921051)

On one hand, you've got the makings of a biblical scale disaster with all that water and electricity mixing.

You've never seen the London Unground Network have you? Standing answer as to why they pay £40,000+ for even junior engineers is because it's one of the few places you get to work with high voltage and water at the same time.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

felipekk (1007591) | about 6 years ago | (#24921113)

On one hand, you've got the makings of a biblical scale disaster (...)

On the other hand, you can't argue with it's effectiveness.

Sounds like commercial aviation. It's very effective and considered one of the safest means of transportation. Yet, every once in a while you have a "biblical" disaster...

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24921349)

Well they may be using a different liquid than water. Mainframes have been using water cooling for years.
But even if they are using water we are talking about professionals here. They have been water cooling electrical devices that are far more dangerous than CPUs for many years.
http://www.cobermuegge.com/details.asp?id=90 [cobermuegge.com]
And here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube#Cooling [wikipedia.org]

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24921407)

Those are cool links, thanks. I hadn't seen them before.

Re:Water-cooled datacenters (1)

zx-15 (926808) | about 6 years ago | (#24923377)

And the liquid is usually glycol, not water.

Liquid Cooled! Awesome (4, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 6 years ago | (#24920237)

I think it's great that they are using liquid coolants for their system. Whenever I see a traditional server farm, I just can't help but think that air conditioners are so inefficient for the task of cooling computers. Not only do you have to cool the air, you also have to blow it around. The floors in some data centers are raised just to allow better airflow. And if you think about it, only the insides of the computers have to be cooled, not the entire freaking room. I hope this ushers in a new age of more power-efficient computing.

I also think it's pretty funny that a supercomputer is used to make movies.

Re:Liquid Cooled! Awesome (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24920281)

I know what you mean, but I get nervous about that much water around my computers. A leak would be catastrophic.

When my air conditioner breaks down [blogspot.com] , I don't have a life threatening situation.

That darn Vinge... (4, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 6 years ago | (#24921037)

I also think it's pretty funny that a supercomputer is used to make movies.

It was pretty funny forty years ago [wikipedia.org] , too.

Re:Liquid Cooled! Awesome (1)

Kingrames (858416) | about 6 years ago | (#24921479)

"Not only do you have to cool the air, you also have to blow it around." It should be noted, air is a fluid that is more fluid than water. blowing it around isn't the problem. it's that the air doesn't carry heat away from the computer as fast, because liquids have more substance and can absorb more heat in the process. at least that would be my guess, I'm sure there are far more qualified quantum fluidicists in the discussion.

Re:Liquid Cooled! Awesome (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 6 years ago | (#24924587)

The Rittal racks just have a coil in them; the servers are cooled with air.

On a power basis, there isn't much of an efficiency improvement. Your biggest gain is if you take the filters out since the cabinet is sealed.

As for a leak hitting the computers, the coil is in a sidecar which is designed pretty well to segregate leaks. Biggest concern is usually what happens when you lose water or fans. Most of the cabinets open the doors automatically.

Re:Liquid Cooled! Awesome (1)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | about 6 years ago | (#24925397)

What I don't get is why they cool the entire room. Why not have duct work leading from the AC to the bottom of a server shelving unit, with duct work on the top leading outside, and sucking the hot air out, then pulling cool air in.

Re:Liquid Cooled! Awesome (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24925923)

So how much more efficient is it? The heat of the processors still needs to be removed.

one dream, one goal.... one vision? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920265)

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(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

A rendering farm on the top 500 list? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920303)

If their rendering farm has enough network bandwidth to be on the top 500 list, then they're not doing it right.

And mega bill for bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

saikou (211301) | about 6 years ago | (#24920391)

I wonder how much they have to pay for external bandwidth. I always thought that "super data centers" are used to help split the job between multiple special effects studios, so, say, group in London can work on part of the shot and still have all data in the same place.
Except in New Zealand there are no "unlimited" plans, and there are severe bandwidth caps in place.

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (4, Insightful)

OttoM (467655) | about 6 years ago | (#24920767)

As if a datacenter like this would use a capped ADSL line... You do not have to use the public internet. At some point, it becomes cheaper to use dedicated connections between your offices and datacenters.

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24920873)

Leased OC192 lines are probably available there. I'm willing to bet they're not on "broadband" too.

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (1)

jggimi (1279324) | about 6 years ago | (#24921139)

Yes, they were using "fat pipe" connections between Wellington and London during ROTK post-processing.

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#24921457)

I'm kind of surprised. It doesn't look [cnet.com] like NZ has any major bandwidth, compared to the rest of the world. Maybe they can get Google to hook them up [blogspot.com] to the pan-Asian cable going in soon. ;-)

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (1)

felipekk (1007591) | about 6 years ago | (#24921141)

With all those tubes around you still think they are going to have bandwidth problems?

Re:And mega bill for bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24924193)

Never underestimate the bandwith of a truck full of tapes.

Scope isn't just a mouthwash. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920467)

"Weta Digital, the New Zealand studio that created the visual effects for the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy, has launched a new "extreme density" data center to provide the computing horsepower to power its digital renderings. Weta is running four clusters that are each equipped with 156 of HP's new 2-in-1 blade servers, and use liquid cooling to manage the heat loads. The Weta render farms currently hold spots 219 through 222 on the current Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers."

I think people should keep the above in mind next time they talk about GPUs being a replacement.

Yet the quality of their work... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 6 years ago | (#24920695)

...will still pale in comparison to ILM. LOTR had some of the worst compositing I had ever seen. The fact that ROTK won an Oscar for Visual Effects only further illustrates the irrelevance of the politics behind the Oscars.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 years ago | (#24920927)

...will still pale in comparison to ILM. LOTR had some of the worst compositing I had ever seen. The fact that ROTK won an Oscar for Visual Effects only further illustrates the irrelevance of the politics behind the Oscars.

I don't know, I don't think ILM did a great job with Naboo or Tattooine in episodes 1-3, either. The battle of the Gungans vs the robots was a giant load of CGI all around. And that was released in 2005, while ROTK was released in 2003.

But yeah, Gollum was too aggressive for Weta, at least when they filmed it. And although the character was certainly more repulsive, Jar-jar was better done than Gollum (slightly.)

Maybe the new render farm will let them try some better algorithms or more complex models, rather than just speed up the process. We can hope.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 6 years ago | (#24928249)

From what I can see The Matrix and LOTR were the peak of CG animation.

These days they arent pushing the boundaries because thats expensive and people are more than happy to pay the same price for something which takes half the time to make.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (2, Insightful)

Jearil (154455) | about 6 years ago | (#24920957)

Or you're just a film snob that disagrees with the majority of normal people who actually liked the movie because it looked good and was entertaining.

And why is it that people always have to look down their noses at various items that do well in the general public? It's like if it's popular and the unwashed masses salivate over it, some jackass has to show how superior they are by being different and telling the world that those unwashed masses really are in fact, unwashed. And probably drooling or something.

Get over yourself.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (2, Insightful)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 6 years ago | (#24921455)

I never once commented on the overall quality of the movie...reading comprehension goes a long way. How ironic that you posted "get over yourself". Take a dose of your own advice and spare me the unwarranted, fanboy rant.

FAIL

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (2, Interesting)

gaspyy (514539) | about 6 years ago | (#24922349)

You're either a true expert in the field, who does film-grade compositing every day, or you're a troll.

I've done some chroma-key compositing over background plates myself, albeit for TV. I can honestly say I did not see any artifacts in LoTR - although I admit I haven't checked frame-by-frame.

Either way, show some examples if you want to be taken seriously.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 6 years ago | (#24922485)

The fact that you resorted to calling me a troll simply because I was critical of something tells me it's a waste of time trying to discuss this with you. There are countless scenes from the trilogy that exhibited poor compositing.

You didn't see any artifacts? That's hilarious because you can see a clear progression of quality through out the entire trilogy as WETA improved their craft. Despite that they still aren't at the same level as say ILM. Seriously, zero artifacts? Even the best compositing from any company has artifacting.

Spare me the cheap insults...it's hard to justify committing any time to a response when you resorted to such childish nonsense within your first sentence.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (2, Insightful)

CaptPungent (265721) | about 6 years ago | (#24925449)

Wow. So what you're saying then is that you don't do film-grade compositing for a living and are thus a troll?

Here's a hint: It's not what you said, but how you said it.

Re:Yet the quality of their work... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 6 years ago | (#24925571)

Yeah, because only people who do that for a living can comment on its quality. (rolls eyes)

Think you before you post.

Compared with ILM (1)

Rabbi Shmabbi (1311483) | about 6 years ago | (#24920745)

Just curious, but what does ILM run?

Re:Compared with ILM (3, Funny)

Supercrunch (797557) | about 6 years ago | (#24920933)

Good ideas into the ground?

Re:Compared with ILM (1)

Mr_Magick (996141) | about 6 years ago | (#24921347)

oh, and here are two more from last year or so:

Link [bbc.co.uk] (some on the "Deathstar" but not the main focus of the article.)

Link [popularmechanics.com] (Almost nothing on the hardware specs.)

That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24920755)

I'm from 2053 and my watch would hold today's 1st to 16th spots . Only 16 cores, I know it's lame but then again I only paid 25 EuroYens. Damn cheap piece of crap made in the United States of Canaxico, you know how it is.

Water cooling at CERN (2, Informative)

invisiblerhino (1224028) | about 6 years ago | (#24921047)

The LHCb experiment has a large processor farm for their online data analysis, all water cooled. Apparently it makes the computer scientists very nervous. OTOH, the main computing centre just uses air cooling, so we've got a real mix of technology.

Yeah, but... (1)

SarumanBr (1006909) | about 6 years ago | (#24921403)

Does it run chrome [slashdot.org] ?

Same as the SGI ones? (1)

collywally (1223456) | about 6 years ago | (#24922155)

I was working on a show which had a bunch of SGI Boxes similar to this. Two servers (2 dual core processors per server) in a 1U case. Only problem with it was that if something went wrong with one of two servers in the box you had to send the whole box back to SGI to get fixed.

Now you would think that normally it wouldn't be a problem if 8 CPUs out of 200 go down on a farm but the way they usually set up the farm (in my experience) is by assigning some processors to each department using a priority structure. So lets say the simulation department had sent some stuff to the farm. 20 min later the stuff finishes. Now lighting can get those CPUs at a low priority until the sim guys send another job to the farm. Problem is if your have a small section of the farm and one of those machines in that small section broke (which happens a lot when the farm starts to get flooded near the end of a show) your stuck not being able to do work for a while until IT gives you priority on some other machines (which at the end of a production can take a ling time).

What I would love to see is the farm software seperating the job by CPU cycles so that when I come in early and there nobody's around I could get the full processing power of the farm to my self.

Hold's spots 219-222... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 6 years ago | (#24922873)

The Weta render farms currently hold spots 219 through 222 on the current Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers.

That's a lot of orcs.

After I virtualized I discovered ... (1)

harrie_o (1350423) | about 6 years ago | (#24924809)

After I virtualized way back in 2003 I discovered ... that if I built my own "sky" each "cloud" I deployed in its own virtual machine was very simple and easy to understand and maintain.

Just like Unix itself, which takes small working units and connects them together to make a complex whole, the "sky" is complex but each "cloud" is simple.

And makes it easy to deploy and move "clouds" to super-centers like the New Zealand data-center as it makes sense (speed, location, power, price) to do so.

Today Fedora Core + VMware's GNU solution (aka Vmware Server 1.x, formerly VMware GSX). Both are free. Virtual machines can run anything. No connectivity to the host, even put the firewall in a v.m. Runs fine on a dual Xeon P3 / 1.2GB ram and easy disk management using LVM. A backup (duplicate machine) gives me twelve clouds in my current sky playground.

Richard Taylor (1)

certsoft (442059) | about 6 years ago | (#24926519)

Richard showed up a couple years ago at the Wairarapa Railway Modellers annual BBQ with a 7 1/2" scale locomotive that was built at Weta Workshops for a film. In the photo located at http://www.certsoft.com/NZ2/richard_taylor.jpg [certsoft.com] Richard is the one in the middle.
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