Massive Storage Arrays Help DreamWorks Make Digital Movie Magic

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Massive Storage Arrays Help DreamWorks Make Digital Movie Magic

Where Many Famous Film Characters Live One of the studio's three data storage centers is located in an attractive new building at the Pacific Shores Center on the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Redwood City, Calif.(Photo by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK)

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The Data Is in this Rack of Boxes In April 2009, the studio added Hewlett-Packard's newest package, the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System. This scale-out system acts as an online reference library for "Monsters vs. Aliens" and previous films, such as "Madagascar," "Bee Movie" and "Kung Fu Panda."(Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard)

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DreamWorks' Derek Chan, head of digital operations "Not only are we making more 3D-type movies, but we're ramping up our production schedule from four movies every two years to five movies in two years," Chan said.(Photo courtesy of DreamWorks)

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"Monsters vs. Aliens": 93TBs Worth of Entertainment When DreamWorks' first "Shrek" movie debuted in May 2001, it required about 6TB of capacity in its data centers. Eight years later, the studio's most recent release, "Monsters vs. Aliens," requires a bit more elbow room: a whopping 93TB.(Photo courtesy of DreamWorks)

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Closing in on $200 Million at Box Office As of June 15, "Monsters vs. Aliens" had banked $195,246,609, according to industry researcher Box Office Mojo.(Photo courtesy of DreamWorks)

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It makes sense for a director to re-use footage-such as a background, a particular attribute of a character, or some other element-whenever possible. Using the ExDS system, DreamWorks' artists now have much faster access to archived content, because it's all available in a fast virtualized storage system-not stored on tape or on a disconnected disk somewhere.

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Before adding the ExDS9100 into its existing storage architecture, DreamWorks staff artists were forced to search through backup tapes one-by-one to find the archived materials needed to start a new project. This slowed up production schedules, causing additional expense.

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DreamWorks has produced or distributed more than 10 films with box-office grosses totaling more than $100 million each. Its most successful title to date is "Shrek 2." The studio was founded 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. In December 2005, the founders sold it to Viacom.

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