Whiskytree Selects Avere and Arista to Dramatically Improve Rendering Performance and Simplify Management

PITTSBURGH – June 28, 2011Avere Systems today announced that Whiskytree Inc, a Northern California-based visual effects provider, has implemented a clustered solution of Avere FXT 2300 appliances to scale its rendering performance by 700 percent, while reliably consolidating SAN and NAS data into a single storage pool and simplifying management. The storage fabric selected for the render farm is based on Arista Networks high performance 10 GbE switches and Arista EOS™ switch software that provides exceptional reliability and unique features for provisioning, scaling and managing networks.

Whiskytree offers visual effects, post-production, concept art and design services. With an emphasis on creating visual effects for major feature film projects, Whiskytree delivers the final shots that moviegoers see in theaters and often helps filmmakers design the content of their films. Its projects include work on blockbuster films such as Thor, Tron: Legacy and Terminator Salvation, among others.

The company uses fibre-attached workstations and NAS-based rendering as part of its workflow, building, rendering and compositing final shots. With a growing render farm and the need to scale data fast and easily, Whiskytree sought out a solution that could support its existing Xsan environment and allow for a seamless transition from SAN to NAS. The company turned to Avere and its FXT 2300 high performance scale-out NAS systems to provide the performance that supports their growth.

Whiskytree also selected Arista for its 7124SX 10Gb Ethernet switch, providing a non-blocking backbone connecting the SAN to the render servers that more than quadruples performance and scales the amount of render nodes needed to process increasingly sophisticated effects within the shortest possible time frames.

"The Avere solution made a profound difference for Whiskytree," said Jonathan Harb, CEO of Whiskytree. "With Avere we were able to improve rendering performance by a factor of seven, which means more efficient job processing and faster turnaround for our clients. Xsan has proven to be bulletproof high-performance storage, but we faced special challenges when attempting to connect more than a hundred render nodes in addition to all of our fibre channel workstations. The traditional method of re-sharing the Xsan for use as NAS simply did not work. Since adding our Avere FXT cluster into the mix, we are able to fully leverage our existing Xsan environment, increase the performance of our fibre-attached workstations, completely stabilize our rendering pipeline, and provide a path for a future transition to an all-NAS 10GbE environment -- all without breaking the bank."

"On the networking front, we needed to increase performance to optimize the render farm's utilization. The Arista installation was straightforward and the performance exceeded our expectations. We're now looking to extend 10GbE to our production workstations to further improve artist productivity while using standard twisted pair cabling," said Harb.

"The need for cost-effective, high performance render farms that are compatible with Xsan can be a challenge for VFX providers such as Whiskytree," said Rebecca Thompson, VP Marketing of Avere Systems. "By implementing scale-out NAS appliances like the FXT 2300, Whiskytree was able to solve its near-term limitations regarding scalability while paving the way to achieving its vision of consolidation onto an IP based NAS infrastructure that will grow with the company."

"The paradigms of high performance computing combining server clusters, large file systems and high speed networks are proving their usefulness in media and entertainment. It affordably expands a company's throughput and capacity to deliver increased productivity and higher quality content to their customers," said Doug Gourlay, VP Marketing of Arista Networks.

The Avere FXT Series of high-performance, scale-out NAS appliances is the first-ever solution to deliver the benefits of performance tiering and scale-out clustering to any NAS environment. Avere FXT appliances define a new NAS services product offering, providing value-add NAS functionality to both existing and new NAS deployments and both single-vendor and heterogeneous NAS environments.

About Avere Systems

Avere Systems provides NAS solutions that deliver breakthrough results for accelerating scale-out performance, reducing storage infrastructure costs, minimizing remote application latency and lowering overall operating costs. The company's innovative A-3 product architecture solves the typical NAS challenges of too many disks, poor scaling and global file access. Learn more at www.averesystems.com, and you can follow the company on Twitter.com/averesystems.

About Arista Networks

Arista Networks was founded to deliver Cloud Networking Solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning best-of-breed 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches redefine scalability, robustness, and price–performance. At the core of Arista's platform is EOS a ground-breaking new software architecture. Arista Networks markets its products worldwide through distribution partners, systems integrators and resellers.

Additional information and resources on today’s announcement can be found at: https://www.arista.com

Arista CloudVision is a registered trademark and Arista EOS is a trademark of Arista Networks.

Press Contact:
Brooke Decker
Arista Networks, Inc.
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