Network Connectivity

The Mill: Completing time and resource-intensive VFX rendering with The Mill

Introduction

Leading VFX and content creation studio, The Mill have been collaborating on award-winning projects for the film, advertising, gaming and music industries since the early nineties, regularly partnering with the world’s leading agencies, groundbreaking directors, creative firms and visionary brands. Client-wise, Pepsi, Super Bowl, Lady Gaga, Audi, Nike, EA Games, Guiness, Netflix, John Legend, Facebook and Playstation just scratch the surface. They have consistently been recognised by peers and clients for delivering outstanding work and has earned the most prestigious industry awards for craft, creativity and innovation.

Products

Sohonet Media Network, Sohonet FastLane

Overview

Quick, secure AND cost-effective access to the AWS and Google Cloud’s with Sohonet FastLane

“It was apparent that this way of working was going to radically change the way we dealt with burst rendering requirements”

Jonathan Brazier, Group Computer Systems Manager
  • 80% Major VFX houses benefit from Sohonet
  • 25+ Years serving the VFX Industry

Challenge

The Mill was looking at the use of cloud service providers such as Google and Amazon to complete time and resource-intensive 3D rendering. Without cloud connectivity, the ability to burst capacity for rendering as needed was only possible by renting hardware and shoe-horning it in wherever space could be found in their offices. It was a constant challenge, with many companies competitively chasing the same hardware rental pool. Finding the right hardware to ramp up capacity as needed could often take up to 24 hours or more. And once hardware was finally acquired, there was still the hurdles of finding space, power and cooling to install the kit into office. The cloud provided the solution, but the question remained: how do would The Mill reach it securely and quickly without blowing their budget?

Solution

As a longstanding customer of Sohonet’s, with existing SMN (Sohonet Media Network) connections to their offices in London, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, The Mill turned to Sohonet, to provide a solution which could bring both the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud’s computer power right to their corporate networks quickly and without blowing the budget. Sohonet FastLane gave them the capability to quickly, securely AND cost-effectively access cloud resources. With FastLane they could accelerate their bandwidth as and when needed and take advantage of the pay-as-you-go pricing model so their costs did not skyrocket.

Result

After only a couple of days of using FastLane and running an initial batch of cloud nodes, it was apparent to the Mill Team that “this way of working was going to radically change the way we dealt with burst rendering requirements,” said Johnathan Brazier (Group Systems Manager at The Mill).

Since gaining the ability instead burst to the cloud over FastLane for extra capacity when needed, The Mill no longer need to rent hardware for the rendering operations across all their offices around the world. Brazier added, that the combined Fastlane/Cloud solution is cheaper and more efficient than renting hardware” and means that they can now “provide extra capacity in minutes whereas before it could take at least 24hrs to obtain extra hardware”.