10,000 Square Feet Data Center Behind the Success of the Movie ‘Avatar’

If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie Avatar crams a ton of special effects in a futuristic landscape and I think that the CGI in the film was amazingly done. This is what is called as true Photo-realistic CGI. CGI in general has come a LONG way since the days of Tron and The Last Starfighter (who here remembers that movie? You win a cookie if you do! :P). Eventually we’ll get to the point where actors are simply guys wearing greenscreen motion tracking suits, and everything is all done in a computer. Or even sans motion capture, and 100% CGI! The awesome special effects in the movie Avatar were magical and it owes some of that magic to a data center nestled in Miramar, New Zealand.

10,000 Square Foot Data Center Behind the Success of the Movie 'Avatar'

According to Weta Digital, the visual effects company tasked with creating the images in James Cameron’s flick, each minute of Avatar consumed some 17.28GB of data.

For that kind of processing power, Weta Digital tapped into a 10,000 sq. ft. server farm filled with 34 racks and over 4,000 Hewlett-Packard blade servers. According to Paul Gunn, the data center’s system admin, the computing core includes about 35,000 processors and 104TB of RAM.

However, to be honest a couple gigs for an entire minute of film doesnt sound all too special. 60 high resolution images are in a single second and probably double that amount for 3D. I’m more impressed with how and what the effects were rendered with than how much space it took up. What did you like the most about Avatar? 🙂


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