September 14, 2009 12:48 ET

BlueArc Storage Solution Stars in "District 9"

Unbeatable Storage Performance and Reliability Behind Image Engine's Stunning Visual Effects

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - September 14, 2009) - BlueArc® Corporation, a leader in scalable, high-performance unified network storage, today announced that Canada's award-winning visual effects firm Image Engine depended on a BlueArc storage solution in developing animation for the science fiction thriller "District 9." Now in theaters, the film debuted at number one in the box office last month, and chronicles alien refugees sent to reside in South Africa's District 9.

"During the development of 'District 9,' we were up against a tight production cycle, and creating 50 unique alien creatures that were 100 percent digital placed extreme demands on our storage system," said Terry Bates, head of systems, Image Engine. "We looked at three different storage solutions when preparing for the project. BlueArc Titan's world-record-holding performance and capacity made it the obvious choice."

"District 9" is the latest of Image Engine's projects to demand complex creature animation. The firm produced the three main alien characters for the film, in addition to a general population of alien creatures, each with their own unique characteristics. BlueArc Titan was indispensable during production, allowing Image Engine to create more revisions and dramatically speed render farm output. As a result, the firm's assignment was expanded to include 311 visual effects shots, nearly double the original request from the director to deliver 160 shots for the film.

Managing multiple projects alongside their work on "District 9" added increased pressure and left no room for downtime. Storage reliability and performance were critical for Image Engine to complete the project on time and on budget. BlueArc's Titan 3000 stored 92 terabytes of data for "District 9" and allowed Image Engine to maximize data access and user loads with low latency, dramatically increasing the process of digital image creation and rendering.

"During production, we had 90 artists on our file system and 172 dedicated rendering systems working around the clock," said Bates. "Our artists never felt the strains of aborted rendering jobs and downtime, and Titan's quick response time kept our team on schedule and the director happy with high quality work."

The Titan storage system is backed by BlueArc's unique filesystem, Silicon FS, which drives the entire architectural platform forward. The filesystem is the foundation that enables greater performance and scalability for the entire platform. Harnessing the power of SiliconFS, Titan allows a single file system to grow up to 256 terabytes and delivers throughput of up to 20 gigabits per second. The architecture adapts to changing application or capacity needs, thus simplifying management, accelerating productivity and protecting a customer's long-term investment.

About BlueArc

BlueArc partners with customers to solve their storage and data management-related business challenges. BlueArc's best-of-breed, high-performance, highly scalable and cost-effective storage solutions help to accelerate our customers' success. Information about BlueArc solutions and services can be found at

About Image Engine

Image Engine, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was formed in 1994 with the express purpose of providing outstanding computer-generated visual effects. The company has evolved into an award-winning visual effects studio, working successfully in the complex production environments of television series, movies of the week and feature films. Image Engine is staffed by international visual effects talent and an R&D department of the highest caliber. Film projects are completed using state-of-the-art hardware, software and proprietary tools.

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