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sdarpel
02-15-2005, 07:18 AM
Anyone and everyone, I am at my wits end. I have a major project to render for my animator, and have been working with various network rendering setups.

First, I played with Screamernet II, but was very disappointed with how inefficient it was as a manager. My nodes, anywhere between 6-12, spent most of their time waiting for work, not rendering. This was on an XP Pro box.

Next, I put SN II on a Win 2003 Server box, but the performance was not much better. Plus, setup and running on a pure SN II net was a pain. Specifically, having to go to each machine and launch the nodes was a pain.

Enter Tequila. At first, I was very pleased. The ability to remotely launch, kill, and restart nodes, along with the management functions for the scenes was very nice. I started with a small scale test, including 6-7 processors, all inside my office. It performed fairly well on a 1350 frame animation.

Things began to fall apart once I started up a full scale test. I started to render on about 20-25 machines, mostly all P4, 3.0 GHz HT, 512MB-1GB Ram. My server kept cutting out. Granted, it was an old Dell Poweredge 1300. So, I seconded one of the desktops to a Win 2003 Server machine and ran on it. Same problem. So, I figured, well, desktops arenít meant to run as servers. Finally, I put the whole shebang on a Dell Poweredge 4400, with Dual 1.0 GHz Xeon Processors, and dual 1 gigbit NICís. I set it up to control 16 new (new to me, they are all Athlon 600 MHzís) pc. It ran great from 1:30 to 6:30 pm fine. Then, BANG, same issue, and it essentially took my server down.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, can someone tell me what to use and how to set up a RELIABLE network render farm, where I can render out at night and on weekends on the 30+ pcís I have available???? The whole point is not to have to baby-sit this **** thing. I have a huge render to do in about two weeks that may very well determine our funding situation for the next 10 years.

Thanks,
Scott Darpel
You can reply directly if you wish to [email protected]

Lightwolf
02-15-2005, 07:56 AM
How many client licenses do you have for you Server? Could it be that it refuses network connections because of that?

I've been using SNII, LightNet and Spider here, on up to 12-14 machines, with no major hickups so far (rendered millions of frames).

Can you be more specific as to what exactly is happening? What version of LW are you using?

Cheers,
Mike - screamernetting rendering since 1996 ;)

Tom Wood
02-15-2005, 08:58 AM
I have a huge render to do in about two weeks that may very well determine our funding situation for the next 10 years.

If it's that critical, you might also consider setting up an account at:

http://www.respower.com

Unless your funding is for more hardware.... :p

TW

sdarpel
02-15-2005, 09:13 AM
To answer questions in both posts so far:

Client access licenses shouldn't be an issue. We've got plenty as part of our campus agreement. The server has over 100. Plus, I was only rendering at the time on 15 pcs.

My complaint with SNII was that the nodes spent most of their time waiting for a frame to render. I haven't heard of LightNet or Spider before (I'm not really a lightwave guy, but I am trying to support one who works for me). Can you send me a link and a review?

I have 35+ pc's at my disposal, and feel like we should be able to take advantage of them. I don't have the budget to outsource the work. Plus, folks here would really question why an engineering college can't find a solution for something like this.

Thanks for the help,
Scott

Lightwolf
02-15-2005, 09:26 AM
My complaint with SNII was that the nodes spent most of their time waiting for a frame to render.
This may sound like a dumb question, but... how long do your frames take to render? There is always a delay until the nodes pickup the next frame, and if your frames render really fast, that delay can seem to be too long. Anything up to a couple of seconds is perfectly o.k. though (since renders usually take minutes per frame).

I haven't heard of LightNet or Spider before (I'm not really a lightwave guy, but I am trying to support one who works for me). Can you send me a link and a review?
LightNet: http://www.joejustice.org/lightwave/lightnet/
Spider: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SXSpider/
Bot are freeware. Spider is much more comfortableto use, but requires you to free a port on your local firewalls (if you have any installed), as well as wanting a special user group and user accounts. It does run as a service though which is nice.


Plus, folks here would really question why an engineering college can't find a solution for something like this.
...Especially if some small shops and boutiques manage just fine ;) Right you are! :D

Cheers,
Mike

Tom Wood
02-15-2005, 09:30 AM
Plus, folks here would really question why an engineering college can't find a solution for something like this.

Yeah, I can see how that would be tough. I didn't know you were at a school. I used this tutorial to set up my SN2, but I'm on a single machine so it wasn't that hard:

http://www.newtek-europe.com/Stuff/LightWave/Misc/MattGorner_ScreamerNet_Tutorial.pdf

I'll bow out now to the experts.

TW