BlueArc Helps Bring Zombies to Life

If not for BlueArc, zombies might have had a tougher time wreaking havoc in the box office hit “Dawn of the Dead.”

Toronto-based digital film studio Mr. X used BlueArc’s storage solutions to reduce project times and meet deadlines for the visual effects in Universal Studio’s film, which debuted March 19 and grossed an estimated $27.3 million in its opening weekend.

Last fall, Mr. X purchased a BlueArc SiliconServer with six terabytes of capacity in a multi-tiered storage configuration for work on “Dawn of the Dead,” utilizing the system for storage and real-time rendering of high-resolution video files.

Mr. X designed more than 100 digital shots that appear in the movie. To accomplish that, the studio used between four and five terabytes of capacity, at times using the maximum capacity available from the BlueArc system, says David Singer, Mr. X’s operations manager.

BlueArc’s technology served as the central storage for the entire project lifecycle for “Dawn of the Dead,” from 3D modeling to compositing to the final product. Everything was contained within the BlueArc system, says Singer.

“Considering the demands of our production schedule and the sheer volume of data that needed to be accessible to our artists at any given moment, BlueArc was absolutely critical to the successful delivery of ‘Dawn of the Dead,'” says Mr. X CEO Dennis Berardi. “Without BlueArc, we would have been in a non-delivery situation. We can honestly say that BlueArc saved the day for Mr. X.”

At the time of the BlueArc purchase, Mr. X was looking primarily for storage performance, but the studio says it was also looking for a system that offered flexibility and scalability for growth.

Before settling on BlueArc, Mr. X considered SGI’s InfiniteStorage, Maximum Throughput’s Sledgehammer and Network Appliance’s FAS 940, says Singer. The studio concluded that BlueArc’s performance “far exceeded any of the other storage solutions tested.”

Since installation, the BlueArc system has met the company’s expectations for performance and scalability, and exceeded expectations for stability, which includes the ability to handle high traffic volume without any disruptions or downtime.

All that, and it can help raise the dead too.

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