DreamWorks Animation aims for open-source with SOA project

A dozen core legacy apps are out; Web services are in

As part of a move toward a completely open-source environment, DreamWorks Animation SKG has replaced a dozen of its core legacy applications with Web services that the film company plans to reuse for future development projects.

The company today detailed its service-oriented architecture (SOA) project, which entailed re-engineering 12 legacy applications as business services for tasks such as copyright tracking, accessing human resources data and pulling information from back-end ERP systems. DreamWorks wanted to replace the legacy applications, which ran on servers from Sun Microsystems Inc., with standards-based services that use Hewlett-Packard Co.’s open-source Linux Reference Architecture, said Abe Wong, DreamWorks’ head of IT. The move will free up server space in the company’s data center, he said.

As part of the SOA project, DreamWorks Animation has a new service that authenticates employee roles and responsibilities against company directories to provide access to applications, Wong said. This service will be used to provide authentication for all new application development.

“We look at it as a way to speed the application development life cycle,” Wong added.

In addition, DreamWorks Animation has built a new services-based copyright application that provides authorization and authentication for incoming feature film scripts.

The services have been in production for about six months and utilize the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite, which DreamWorks Animation began using about a year and a half ago.

“Having a Linux operating environment and HP Linux servers in racks saves critical data center space,” Wong said. “In the animation world, data center space is extremely valuable. We’ve freed up space for the animation technology group to put in full racks of render-farms space to focus on films as opposed to running servers.”

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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