GPU-Accelerated Virtual Graphics Workstations: 5 Ways itopia + Google Cloud-Based VDI Benefit Media & Entertainment Production

Written by Alexander Shapero on Oct 02, 2018

Both 2D and 3D graphics applications require a massive amount of infrastructure resources. In the past, media and entertainment companies have invested millions of dollars in on-premises rendering farms to enable the artists and engineers that work with these resource-hungry applications on a daily basis. These farms are incredibly expensive to procure and maintain, not to mention to power and cool. In the age of hyperscale clouds and VDI, however, visual effects and animation companies within the industry now have more cost-effective and flexible options. After all, they are in the business of content creation, not infrastructure procurement and management.

By leveraging the high-performance computing capabilities in the cloud and GPU-accelerated virtual graphics workstations, media and entertainment production companies can not only cut costs on expensive on-premises infrastructure, but scale environments up or down on-the-fly to enable a global workforce of artists, architects and engineers. The one thing that has been missing up until now, however, was a seamless way to centrally manage such complex and dispersed environments. Enter itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS), which was purpose-built for deploying and managing core IT infrastructure on Google Cloud.

Why M&E needs to deploy GPU-accelerated virtual workstations on the cloud

To address this market, we’ve added new capabilities to itopia to enable IT administrators to deploy and manage GPU-accelerated virtual graphics workstations on Google Cloud. By leveraging the comprehensive IT management capabilities of itopia CAS and NVIDIA P100 GPU accelerators on GCP, media and entertainment production companies can benefit in several ways.

  • Lowering costs By deploying virtual graphics workstations on Google Cloud, CapEx for an on-premises rendering farm is eliminated, not to mention OpEx on power, HVAC and maintenance costs.  Companies can also leverage Google’s per-second pricing and Custom Machine Types (easily configured through the CAS portal) to truly pay only for the resources they use or need. In addition, itopia’s Server Uptime Scheduling feature enables organizations to automatically spin servers up or down based on actual demand to further reduce GCP costs.
  • Enabling a global/remote workforce Because virtual graphics workstations can be securely accessed from anywhere and any device, media and entertainment companies can tap into artistic and engineering talent literally anywhere in the world. itopia enables organizations to deploy and manage the required IT resources to run virtual graphics workstations on Google Cloud’s global network of data centers from a single interface. Through itopia’s hybrid Active Directory extension capabilities, IT pros can easily deploy secure workstations to the GCP data center closest to the end user for the lowest latency and maximum performance. That means your creative and technical professionals can be more productive.
  • Creating elasticity — On premises rendering farms have limited capacity. For instance, there are only so many CPUs that can be installed on physical workstations, and only so many workstations that can fit on the production floor. Add to that network, power, HVAC and file system performance limitations. By deploying Google Cloud-based virtual graphics workstations with itopia, media production companies can spin resources up or down on demand, and even create custom VMs to handle jobs of any size. Once the job is complete, companies can simply shut the VM down and get on to the next creative project with new VMs.
  • Ensuring security & compliance The security of intellectual property is a critical concern in the media and entertainment industry. itopia enables IT pros to apply and manage security policies in hybrid environments and across Google Cloud’s global data centers. In addition, Google Cloud provides top-of-the-line security throughout the entire IT stack including: identity management, network security, and threat detection and response. Google Cloud also undergoes regular third-party audits, and is highly compliant with global regulatory standards, including specific requirements from the MPAA.
  • Meeting consumer demand Digital consumers expect a lot more from media and entertainment providers than ever before. Traditional M&E production models were linear in nature, meaning that consumers were content to wait for content to be released whenever companies decided to. In the age of streaming and “binge watching”, not so much. Deploying Google Cloud-based virtual graphics workstations with itopia infrastructure automation and orchestration capabilities enables companies to produce the high-quality content consumers expect much faster and for less money. This is critical for companies that want to thrive in today’s hypercompetitive market.

While deploying GPU-accelerated virtual graphics workstations on a hyperscale cloud may seem like a no-brainer to tech-savvy media and entertainment companies, making the environments run smoothly can be a huge challenge. That’s why an IT infrastructure management solution is the best bet when it comes to managing such environments. itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS) enables organizations to easily leverage the economies of scale the cloud offers for the lowest cost possible. In addition, itopia’s deep integration with Google Cloud gives administrators complete control over their GCP environment through a single interface. More importantly, perhaps, itopia + Google Cloud + NVIDIA enables media and entertainment companies to produce the high quality digital content consumers demand quickly and inexpensively.

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