Computerworld - The futuristic world and blue creatures in the hit movie Avatar have their roots in an unusual data center situated in Miramar, a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand.
The stunning images in the James Cameron movie were created by Weta Digital Ltd., a visual effects company co-founded by filmmaker Peter Jackson that was also responsible for the computer-rendered scenes in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The company's digital artists transformed the director's vision into screen reality using 3-D imaging software, fine-tuning every frame multiple times. Each minute of Avatar represents 17.28GB of data, according to Weta Digital.
At the heart of the data-intensive process is a 10,000-square-foot server farm that's packed with 34 racks and more than 4,000 Hewlett-Packard blade servers, said Paul Gunn, the data center's systems administrator, in an e-mail. The computing core includes about 35,000 processors and 104TB of RAM, he said.
Because the servers run 24 hours at full capacity when a deadline looms, typical air conditioning techniques couldn't keep up with the heat generated by the servers. So the center uses water-cooled racks from Rittal Corp. and "free cooling" courtesy of the area's chilly climate, Gunn said.
Moreover, "the server farm is only cooled to 25C (77F), which is warmer than many data centers," said Gunn. "By not cooling unnecessarily, we make additional energy efficiency gains."
- Network firewalls aren't dead yet
- Are CIOs losing power?
- As Unix fades away from data centers, it's unclear what's next
- Goldman Sachs, with 10,000 tech workers, embraces open computing
- IT managers are increasingly replacing servers with SaaS
- Microsoft sees huge potential in fuel cells
- Snap, crackle, pop: Electrical troubles shed light on NSA's data center
- Tornadoes and data centers are OK in Oklahoma
- It's twilight for small in-house data centers
- GM CIO calls HP hiring probe a 'fishing expedition'
Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.
- Hadoop for Dummies Today, organizations in every industry are being showered with imposing quantities of new information. Along with traditional sources, many more data channels and...
- The Top Five Ways to Get Started with Big Data Despite the increased focus on big data over the past few years, most organizations are still talking about what big data is rather...
- Data Warehouse Augmentation: The Queryable Data Store While organizations have, to date, been busy exploring and experimenting, they are now beginning to focus on using big data technologies to solve...
- The IBM Big Data Platform IBM is unique in having developed an enterprise class big data platform that allows you to address the full spectrum of big data...
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>> All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts