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DreamWorks Animation Gets ”Extreme” with HP Scale-out Storage


New tailored data storage platform offers extreme scalability while helping keep costs in check

PALO ALTO, Calif., HP today announced DreamWorks Animation SKG, the computer-generated animation company that introduced the world to “Shrek,” selected HP scale-out storage technology to more cost-effectively store and easily access the data behind its cutting-edge visual productions.

According to DreamWorks, animated content for a feature film such as its recent hit “Monsters vs. Aliens” creates nearly 100 terabytes (TB) of files that need to be stored in an easily accessible archive. DreamWorks chose the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System (ExDS9100) to act as an online reference library for previous films such as “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda.” The new platform offers the company’s artists fast, simple access to archived content, saving valuable time and resources when developing future projects.

Before it had incorporated the ExDS9100 into its storage architecture, DreamWorks was required to painstakingly search through backup tapes to find the archived materials needed to start a new project. This process impacted production schedules since many of DreamWorks’ new projects leverage existing animated material.

In addition to using it as an archiving solution, DreamWorks will use the ExDS9100 as an online backup solution for ongoing projects. This provides artists a real-time platform for sharing content and allows them to focus on creating the next DreamWorks hit movie or TV show.

“Our goal of delivering two to three computer-generated animated films per year means that DreamWorks continues to look for ways to streamline the process of creating and delivering great stories for our audience,” said Derek Chan, head of Digital Operations, DreamWorks Animation. ”The HP ExDS9100 facilitates this by providing easier access to archived content in a simple-to-manage, highly scalable storage architecture.”

The ExDS9100 provisions performance and capacity independently, allowing customers to react to changing business needs more quickly than with traditional file-based storage solutions. These capabilities have enabled DreamWorks to create a 170 TB archive – the equivalent of approximately 36,000 DVDs – as an online storage environment that provides fast, easy access to those files. DreamWorks’ goal is to “keep everything,” and with the ExDS9100’s ability to scale to 820 TB, they are well positioned to do this as well as handle future data growth.

On June 17, Skottie Miller, senior technologist at DreamWorks Animation SKG, will discuss this solution as part of a special session titled, “Real World Use Cases: Customers Discuss Extreme Storage for Extreme Content,” being held at the HP Technology Forum and Expo 2009 customer event in Las Vegas.

New ExDS9100 configuration designed for flexible growth

HP also announced a new configuration of the ExDS9100, which starts with an 82 TB capacity, offering customers the same level of scalability, availability and performance in a turnkey solution. This new base configuration is ideally suited for vertical industries such as life sciences, education, government and web service providers.

The HP ExDS9100 is a unified system consisting of three primary components:

* Performance block: An energy-efficient HP BladeSystem chassis with blade servers offers the performance needed to drive extreme capacity requirements. The base solution now starts with two blades, each of which can deliver up to 200 megabytes per second of performance. This can easily scale up to a maximum configuration of 16 blades with up to 12.8 cores per unit for 3.2 gigabyte per second performance.
* Capacity block: The base configuration starts with one high-availability “storage block” and 82 TB of capacity. The maximum configuration supports up to 10 capacity blocks and 820 TB of storage space.
* Software: The system uses HP scalable file-serving software needed in demanding digital content environments. To reduce system complexity and costs, applications can be run directly on the performance block, simplifying the overall application architecture. A single graphical management interface and simple commands allow fewer administrators to manage more storage, more easily.

“Customers – no matter their capacity requirements – demand cost-effective, scalable storage systems that can grow with their businesses,” said Jeff Hausman, vice president, Unified Storage Group, HP. “The new 82 TB configuration of the ExDS9100 allows a broader set of customers to benefit from the extreme scalability the system offers, while keeping costs in check.”

Pricing and availability

The 82 TB configuration of the ExDS9100 continues to be priced at under $2 per GB and is available now.

About HP

HP, the world’s largest technology company, simplifies the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at


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