Latest Workshop: Hosting your VFX Workstation in the Cloud

Last Tuesday marked the first of a series of workshops Sohonet will be hosting with our partner AWS. This session: How to Host your VFX Workstation in the Cloud. 

We were joined by our technology partner and one of the leading cloud providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as Escape Technology and a whole host of VFX Studios based around Soho. (Thanks to all for coming along!)

Workshop 1: Hosting your VFX Workstation in the Cloud

The team from Escape joined up with Teradici to introduce the range of Teradici PCoIP products and Teradici’s roadmap for 2018. Briefly, Teradici PCoIP allows users to easily manage and secure endpoints in their virtual desktop or cloud environment. PCoIP Zero Clients are ultra-secure endpoints that use a highly integrated, purpose-built processor to transmit pixels instead of data to the user’s desktop, with the end goal of providing a lag-free experience that gives the benefits of using a high-powered VFX workstation from anywhere.

The focus of this workshop and demo was to apply Teradici Thin client and Zero Client over Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) using Sohonet’s FastLane direct connection to AWS.

Escape proved the efficiency of the solution by showing the use of Wacom pro tablets over a remote and cloud-hosted solution and allowing participants to try it themselves on both Linux and Windows PCs. 

Why host your VFX Workstation in the Cloud?

The use case for a virtual desktop is similar to the benefits from rendering VFX frames in the cloud: So they can bid on more jobs and produce their work within tight deadlines and budget without the massive CAPEX required to run a local render farm. But the direct result of winning more work is overlapping projects and the need to facilitate more artists onsite.

In the past, the answer was to purchase additional hardware to deal with this peak demand in order to deliver the content successfully. The big challenge is that VFX projects come in a cycle of peaks and troughs: This means that the extra (and expensive) hardware and software bought for a ‘peak’ will likely sit idle during a ‘trough’ time.

This method of infrastructure scaling has not proved cost-efficient, which has led VFX studios to invest and capitalise on the benefits of public cloud. VFX studios can now choose to consume additional compute resources or ‘hire’ virtual workstations in the cloud for as little or as long as they need. This can be used as a method to get past a bottleneck in a project or as a way to increase capacity for the lifetime of a project. Since you only pay for what you use, the costs can easily be modeled and incorporated into pricing models for downstream clients which allow both small and large facilities to bid on the same business.

Sohonet is with you all the way to the cloud

Sohonet FastLane allows our customers to connect directly from their offices worldwide to the Public Cloud, granting increased flexibility, sustained/guaranteed throughput and a reliable high-speed conduit to multiple cloud providers’ range of remote storage and compute solutions.  Sohonet’s FastLane moves data separately from internet bandwidth, removing network congestion and decreasing the time it for data transfer. With a direct link to the Cloud, customers are in control of how their data is routed, leading to a more consistent network experience for the entire business. This London workshop was the first to showcase a new, faster way to provision services onto AWS from the Sohonet Media Network.  You can learn more about FastLane here.

We’re taking these workshops on the road. If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch