A while ago, two representatives of Reel FX, Ross Moshell, Director of Business Technology, and Scott Correll, Senior Operations Engineer, stopped by to talk about why the company chose systems from Dell. The short answer to the question "Why dell?" is that the supplier was able to help Reel FX build an extensive IT infrastructure that both met the company's need for high performance and business value.
What does Reel FX do?
Reel FX creates animated feature films and advertisements. The company has taken part in the creation of films such as the recent "Free Birds," "Ice Age," and "Despicable Me." The company has also created animated advertisements for Chuck E Cheese's, McDonalds, the Florida State Lottery and Frito-Lay's Cheetos.
The company has facilities in Dallas, TX, and Santa Monica, CA.
As one would expect, the process of creating commercial quality animation is an intense computational task. Creating the artwork requires powerful graphic workstations, high speed networks and extensive storage facilities. Rendering the images for the films or advertisements requires extensive computational resources, high speed networking and even more storage. Reel FX, like any company, only has limited capital and must select systems and software carefully.
Dell offers products, services and expertise in all of those areas and cloud computing which can be used to extend the rendering farm when that approach is needed. Furthermore, Reel FX believes that Dell offered a greater value when it was selecting a system vendor.
The Reel FX representatives pointed out that, like in the implementation of any production system, they needed to carefully forecast their computational, networking and storage requirements before starting the implementation process. They suggest that it would be wise to forecast early and often to keep up with the rapidly changing requires IT faces.
They also pointed out that organizations often need to turn to their suppliers for help and for their broad expertise.
Although it might seem that creating animated films and advertisements is not related to everyday commercial computing, the capabilities used to create animated features are the same features needed for technical computing, high performance transactional processing and high end web services. If anything, the computational requirements are quite extreme when compared to many other workloads.
The fact that Dell plays in this space (along with its competition, HP, IBM and others) is a testiment to the extensibility and scalability.