Avere helps ToonBox Entertainment launch its first feature-length film

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Avere Systems, provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, has announced that ToonBox Entertainment, the Canadian animation studio, is using Avere FXT Series Edge filers to speed up workflow performance and enable fast, cost-effective scaling to meet their production demands. ToonBox looked to Avere to help solve its storage-performance slowdown issues during production of "The Nut Job," the studio's first feature-length animated film that features the voice talents of Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser.

"Before Avere, we were experiencing a delay in the delivery of fast storage media from our storage vendor," explained Greg Whynott, manager of Systems and IT at ToonBox. "Although the components were not critical during the early stages of production, we knew our existing configuration could not support late-stage workloads."

In the animation world, every project eventually leads to "crunch time," that point in a production where artists and systems are working in overdrive to run final renders, polish shots and adjust scenes for final review. To solve this issue, ToonBox deployed an Avere FXT Edge filer cluster in front of the studio's existing storage array.

"Deploying an Avere cluster into our production environment more than doubled throughput," explained Whynott. "We had been implementing QoS procedures on our network switches to manage bandwidth allocation, but with the Avere cluster in place, we were able to stop those processes and simply let jobs run – there was sufficient bandwidth for all workflows.

"With the Avere solution in place, productivity shot through the roof. Jobs that previously took hours to run were completed in 20 minutes, responsiveness to workstations dramatically improved and we were able to scale storage non-disruptively," said Whynott. "Furthermore, the Avere system paid for itself. When you consider how quickly costs accelerate if artists can't work or we miss deadlines, it's a very real return. Avere gives us tremendous flexibility to meet the performance demands of the business."

"Fast, cost-effective and non-disruptive storage scaling is crucial for companies like ToonBox Entertainment. In the end, artists want to be able to focus on rendering and not worry about load times or IT maintenance," said Ron Bianchini, president and CEO of Avere Systems.

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