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Digital Dimension Extends Clustered Storage With Isilon IQ

New InfiniBand storage architecture already online (April 14, 2005)

Leading visual effects studio Digital Dimension announced it is taking its production infrastructure to the next generation with 16 terabytes of clustered storage running a new computing industry standard, InfiniBand. Backed by an Isilon IQ 1920i system which is already online and supporting the company’s busy slate of high-end feature film work, the deployment is allowing Digital Dimension to maximize the high performance, scalability and reliability of clustered storage technology to gain a competitive edge.

“With an Isilon IQ system up and running and in use for all projects, Digital Dimension has been the first to harness the power of InfiniBand technology in production,” said Digital Dimension President Ben Girard. “Shifting towards a modular approach to computing and storage is allowing our studio to increase the quality and volume of film and television content while more easily and efficiently scaling up the size and speed of our production and technical pipelines.”

“Digital Dimension is right at the forefront of a broad industry move that we are supporting via our intelligent clustered storage products and new high-performance storage architectures that leverage InfiniBand,” said Brett Goodwin, vice president of marketing and business development for Isilon Systems. “Digital Dimension is among the first media and entertainment companies to bring our recently launched Isilon IQ clustered storage systems fully into production, and, with more than 100 Windows clients, is significantly accelerating its project workflow.”

Isilon IQ is the only clustered storage system to support the low-latency, high-bandwidth InfiniBand cluster interconnect without requiring any changes to a company’s existing IT infrastructure. It is also the first clustered storage system to scale up to more than 150 terabytes of capacity and deliver up to three gigabytes/second throughput from a single file system .

The InfiniBand architecture reduces the total cost of storage ownership by focusing on data center performance, reliability and scalability. Uniquely positioned to become the I/O interconnect of choice clustered computing environments in data center implementations, InfiniBand maps well to dense server deployments such as Digital Dimension's and offers further benefits, including more rapid sharing of data, built-in security and quality of service.

“We wanted an open-ended solution we could expand both in size and aggregate bandwidth more easily than fiber,” said Joe Boswell, systems administrator at Digital Dimension. “The scalability of the Isilon IQ system with InfiniBand is phenomenal it works well for us because it is designed to scale without the latencies some shared bus I/O architectures experience as the job workload increases. Plus, it is intuitive to set up and maintain. Grid computing and cluster computing are the big up-and-comers for our business, so this is a great investment that is going to support us for a very long time.”

Digital Dimension was realizing performance of up to 500MB/second with this setup even before all Isilon IQ nodes were added to the cluster. Features such as the predictive pre-fetch algorithms of Isilon’s SmartRead and new SmartConnect client load balancing technology are providing Digital Dimension with a new set of tools designed specifically for the company’s digital content workflow.

The Isilon family of products include the Isilon IQ 1920, 3000 and 4800, the first clustered storage systems to offer low-latency, high-performance InfiniBand architecture-based communications as an option for intracluster connectivity without requiring any changes to a customer’s existing IT environment. With 1.9 to 4.8 terabytes of self-contained storage per 2U node, the new Isilon IQ products further extend Isilon’s industry-leading storage density, while offering a single level of management for clusters that can seamlessly scale from four to 168 terabytes of capacity in a single file system. All content in an Isilon IQ cluster remains fully available for applications even in the event of multiple failed disks or entire node failures. And systems can be set up in minutes with single-operator plug and play.

Digital Dimension’s visual effects artistry can be seen in upcoming projects including Monster-in-Law with Jennifer Lopez for New Line Cinema and the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-starrer Mr. And Mrs. Smith for 20th Century Fox. Digital Dimension won a 2005 Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for its work on the gripping plane crash sequence in the television hit Lost. The studio also recently completed the CG show opener for the Super Bowl.

About Isilon
Isilon provides intelligent clustered storage systems, including award-winning high-performance clustered storage systems that combine an intelligent distributed file system with modular industry standard hardware to deliver unmatched simplicity and scalability. Isilon IQ systems were designed for digital content and large data-intensive markets, such as media and entertainment, digital imaging, the Federal Government, life sciences and oil and gas.

For more information, visit

About Digital Dimension
Digital Dimension is an award-winning visual effects studio with locations in Burbank, Calif., and Montreal, Canada. The company was founded in 1997 and specializes in 3D animation, motion graphics and visual effects for film, television and interactive media. Digital Dimension has contributed effects to many major feature films, including Blade Trinity, Racing Stripes, Son of the Mask, The Last Samurai and many others. Digital Dimension has garnered two VES Awards and four Emmy Awards.

For more information about the company, please visit


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Related Keywords:Digital Dimension, Isilon, InfiniBand, storage, visual effects, clustered storage, Isilon IQ 1920i, feature film, Ben Girard, Brett Goodwin, Isilon Systems, Joe Boswell,

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