Monday, July 12, 2010

Green Screen

I have a small (some of my friends would say big) addiction to movies. And if you have crawled out from under that rock I mentioned in Fish Fry then you've probably noticed that 3D movies are the newest thing in Hollywood (I'll avoid the word 'trend' as they are probably here to stay). Along with 3D comes the computing power necessary to shoot or convert the films. We're not talking just a 3D video camera, we're talking computer servers the size of 4-8 parking spaces. Computers of any size, particularly ones that large, generate a lot of heat. All that heat must be cooled. So now you have all the energy to run the computers and the energy to run the AC units.

Just out in theaters is the movie Despicable Me starring Steve Carell. This new film is an 3D animated movie by Illumination Entertainment. This small company approached IBM to develop a customized server-farm using the iDataPlex system, green technology that allowed them to cut away the AC system and the associated cost. That's a lot of energy, about 40% less energy compared to traditional server farms.

So how does it work? Well, the iDataPlex system is "a flexible configuration that doubles the amount of systems that can run in a single IBM rack and the ability to run an ambient temperature room." This flexible configuration also decreases the space needed for the server farm, using only 4 parking space sized spots rather than 8. And although this system has been available for over a year, Illumination Entertainment is the first studio to use it for an animated film.

Green movies: Good idea.
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