NetApp and DreamWorks Animation extend multi-year strategic alliance

NetApp and DreamWorks Animation extend multi-year strategic alliance

Partnership agreement maintains NetApp as the preferred cloud data services provider for the studio as its hybrid cloud environment evolves.

NetApp and DreamWorks Animation have renewed their strategic alliance and co-engineering partnership.

NetApp will remain DreamWorks’ preferred cloud data services provider and with the support of NetApp solutions, both on-premises and in the cloud, the studio will continue to evolve its hybrid cloud environment to ensure enhanced productivity, flexibility and agility.

With the 2023 release of the animated feature Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, DreamWorks marked more than 25 years pushing the boundaries of both animation and the technologies they use to bring innovative films to global audiences.

From the very beginning, NetApp has provided the studio with cutting-edge solutions to manage its ever-increasing production demands and data complexity.

Additionally, NetApp’s co-engineering partnership with DreamWorks brings together engineers from both organizations to solve real-world engineering problems focused on optimizing workflows in a hybrid cloud environment while decreasing latency.

“We’ve worked in lockstep with DreamWorks Animation to enable the studio’s Digital Transformation journey and accelerate its growth with NetApp’s product portfolio and the innovations resulting from our co-engineering efforts,” said Gabrielle Boko, CMO, NetApp.

“NetApp’s All Flash Array solutions were the foundation of the hybrid storage required to manage the production’s complex data requirements and it simplified the workflows for the giant character model of Ruby Gillman, so that the animators were focused on creativity – not capacity management.”

The technological advancements resulting from the NetApp and DreamWorks alliance include:

  • Improved performance using NetApp AFF in DreamWorks’ high-performance computing environment and the ability to tier data more efficiently to NetApp StorageGrid.
  • Increased agility by extending applications to the cloud using Azure NetApp Files and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, while extending geographic reach to support distributed resources.
  • Decreased latency and a reduced datacenter footprint with NetApp ONTAP systems utilizing NetApp All Flash Arrays for energy and rackspace efficiency.

“In 2018, we moved from being a NetApp customer to engaging with them as a valued partner that brought the best of both companies’ resources together to accelerate our Digital Transformation,” said Bill Ballew, Chief Technology Officer, DreamWorks Animation.

“Unlike many other businesses that simply rely on data, DreamWorks’ actual end product is completely composed of data. In fact, we generate up to a petabyte of data for each film and we couldn’t bring the imaginative storytelling of our animated films to life without the world-class data management services that NetApp provides.”

Together, NetApp and DreamWorks Animation work to continually evolve the tools and techniques needed to raise the bar of visual storytelling for each film at the studio.

NetApp provides DreamWorks Animation with innovative technologies to manage the massive amount of data generated in production, while balancing data storage performance, flexibility and cost.

NetApp hybrid cloud technology supports production agility.

DreamWorks Animation has transformed the animation and entertainment industry by creating some of the most beloved family films of the last 25 years.

As DreamWorks constantly pushes the boundaries of animation, they also push the boundaries of technology.

Each film is an entirely new world created from evolving tools and techniques that bring the story to life with richer textures, depth, and emotion.

This evolving complexity in the production process, coupled with explosive changes in the entertainment industry and the increasing demands of content, means that DreamWorks must actively engage in innovation.

For every one of DreamWorks’ CG films produced in the last 20 years, NetApp solutions have played an integral role in supporting the studio’s data management strategy.

From a solid onpremises foundation to a rapidly evolving hybrid cloud, NetApp provides the studio with innovative technology to help manage the massive amount of data generated by production, while balancing data storage performance, flexibility, and cost.

Digital storage and data management are vital to DreamWorks’ production workflow.

Hundreds of artists at a time work on each feature film in production. Billions of files and petabytes of data must be efficiently managed and accessible across various data locations, including on premises, private cloud and public cloud.

Availability of data is crucial to keep production on schedule and to enable artists to respond quickly to creative direction and business demands.

NetApp technology at DreamWorks includes a myriad of hybrid cloud, storage, data and virtualization solutions that streamline the management of applications and data.

By providing hybrid solutions that enable artists and engineers to access, protect and store critical data, NetApp is accelerating the studio’s focus on what matters most – creativity.

Skottie Miller, Technology Fellow for Systems Architecture at DreamWorks, said: “NetApp ONTAP being ‘always-on’ with our data was a critical business multiplier—it was ahead of the curve.

“When we found ourselves wanting to move into the hybrid cloud, again NetApp was ahead of the curve – they had already started investing in cloud enablement solutions.”

The integration of a hybrid cloud environment is enabling DreamWorks to scale their infrastructure without having to build new data centers.

The studio is currently in the process of implementing several new NetApp cloud offerings in the process, including Cloud Data Services, Astra and Azure NetApp Files.

To fill out its data management environment, DreamWorks also relies on FlexCache to accelerate their data and StorageGRID for tiering data, short term archiving and long-term asset preservation.

“Hybrid cloud will be the best option when we want to achieve a new business ambition – or take advantage of an opportunity – without significantly changing pipelines or workflows,” said Kate Swanborg, Senior VP of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances, DreamWorks

As DreamWorks continues to respond to and engage with the ever-changing CG animation landscape, the ability to manage data quickly and efficiently continues to be mission critical.

“We have identified and started work on a robust hybrid cloud roadmap that integrates into the DreamWorks business,” said Swanborg.

“As that roadmap comes to full fruition, a truly robust, always-on hybrid cloud infrastructure allows us to produce any piece of content that DreamWorks needs, in the most agile way possible.”

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO North America

View Magazine Archive