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Basic network versus local software deployment questions
posted by Saham Ali  on Sept. 4, 2018, 10:20 a.m. (2 months, 16 days ago)
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Hey Conor,Hit me up off list and maybe we can chat.-Saham


On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 10:03 AM conomara <content@studiosysadmins.com> wrote:

Hello,

I have been working at large companies for the past decade ++ as an artist/some pipeline work, and have since moved to a small one. They are running software locally....houdini, maya etc

and are having predicatable trouble, having to run around to each machine when updates are needed, individual machines running problematic versions etc.

In larger companies we had a disk image that we pushed out on boot to the artists local machines and render farm (linux).

However Im pretty sure the application binaries were central on a server ,and not pushed out locally with the image, I dont think the image contained much in the way of the actual applications, more env, linux distro maybe.

If I remember right we would source server based binaries such as houdini, maya, katana etc and then I guess we were running an instance of houdini locally.

Does this sounds correct/possible

Also, is there a significant hit on the network (i dont remember there ever being) from sourcing binaries from a server. we have 1 Gig switches I tink.

Im sure this was never an issue, eg compared with render farm blades requesting textures acorss a network.

Also, new studio is (shudder) windows, is this setup possible on windows.

And i guess we need a licence server as well, with floating licences?

All in all we need at least a sys admin to come in part time/consultant, then full time, but I want to know that this is a practical acheivable thing first based on a pretty basic network. I remember being able to do this no worries in the larger companies 12 years ago.

Final question, is what if any are the downsides of mainting image and software centrally

big thanks in advance

Conor

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Response from Julian Firminger @ Sept. 5, 2018, 4:55 a.m.
Hey Conor,
Shoot me your email address. It's not listed in the thread.

Julian Firminger

Senior Systems AdministratorUnited Broadcast FacilitiesAmsterdam, The Netherlands

On Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 10:04 AM, conomara <content@studiosysadmins.com> wrote:

Hi Guys, this thread sort of split into a few threads when I look a thte forum, sorry about that.....to reply to them all, the big thanks for the all the posts. The big take away is we can and maybe should look into changing out setup. We need a sys-admin.

First I think we will get a consultant in to see where we are, and spec a solution and maybe help us then with the hire of a sys admin person.

Ideally I would chew off my right arm to go linux. There were some positive noises made about that but we'll see how that goes.

thanks again for the help. Ill post up any jobs we might have when we work out budget and requirements.


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Response from conomara @ Sept. 5, 2018, 4:03 a.m.

Hi Guys, big thanks for the all the posts. The big take away is we can and maybe should look into changing out setup. We need a sys-admin.

First I think we will get a consultant in to see where we are, and spec a solution and maybe help us then with the hire of a sys admin person.

Ideally I would chew off my right arm to go linux. There were some positive noises made about that but we'll see how that goes.

thanks again for the help. Ill post up any jobs we might have when we work out budget and requirements.


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Response from conomara @ Sept. 5, 2018, 4:02 a.m.

Hi Guys, big thanks for the all the posts. The big take away is we can and maybe should look into changing out setup. We need a sys-admin.

First I think we will get a consultant in to see where we are, and spec a solution and maybe help us then with the hire of a sys admin person.

Ideally I would chew off my right arm to go linux. There were some positive noises made about that but we'll see how that goes.

thanks again for the help. Ill post up any jobs we might have when we work out budget and requirements.


0 Plus One's     0 Comments  
   

Response from conomara @ Sept. 5, 2018, 4:02 a.m.

Hi Guys, big thanks for the all the posts. The big take away is we can and maybe should look into changing out setup. We need a sys-admin.

First I think we will get a consultant in to see where we are, and spec a solution and maybe help us then with the hire of a sys admin person.

Ideally I would chew off my right arm to go linux. There were some positive noises made about that but we'll see how that goes.

thanks again for the help. Ill post up any jobs we might have when we work out budget and requirements.


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Response from Julian Firminger @ Sept. 5, 2018, 3:30 a.m.
Everything JF said plus:You can do 97% of application deployment and config with PDQ Deploy (Specifically for Windows). App config is always a conf file or more likely a set of reg keys. Our entire deployment stack is modular, written as 100s of single purpose, single reg-key, Powershell snippets. And the whole thing is run by PDQ. (Hat-tip to one of our systems engineers, Maarten Pols (on this list) who actually wrote 99% of this.)
For OS deployment, if you're using PDQ to do like, absolutely EVERYTHING, then the OS can be really easy. We use WDS+MDT to throw a base, updated, image with a domain join and as soon as it turns up in a specific OU, PDQ is triggered.
Yes, floating licenses are a must. And you might find you end up with many license servers so manage. So if you have not already, look at deploying some sort of virtualization host(s). VMware is free for a single server (and cheap for a set of 3). Then you can spin up as many Linux/Windows license servers and all the other nonsense you need without scratching for more kit.
Also, I know a guy in Cork. Will send him your email. :)

Julian Firminger

Senior Systems AdministratorUnited Broadcast FacilitiesAmsterdam, The Netherlands

On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 8:40 PM, Jean-Francois Panisset <panisset@gmail.com> wrote:
There are lots of studios that manage local app installs, but
personally I feel that as soon as you have more than a few machines,
running apps off a server is the way to go, in particular in an
environment where you have multiple long running projects that need to
stay on specific software versions, or if you like to keep up to date
with apps that have frequent releases (Houdini daily builds...).

Of course there are tons of variables involved (file server, network,
client OS version, tons of tuning variables), but the experience I've
had is that whereas loading applications off a NFS share on Linux
seems almost as fast as loading from local disk, that's definitely not
the case for Windows apps off a SMB share, where loading larger apps
such as Maya or Houdini can be quite painful. We ended writing a
caching mechanism which would copy apps locally the first time you run
them, and keeps track of how much local disk space is used by the
application cache and gets rid of older versions as needed to make
room.

Windows versions of DCC apps tend to assume a local install,
harvesting them and relocating them to a file server can be as trivial
as just copying the installation directory to the server (after
renaming it to something that actually includes the version number,
sigh...), or can be pretty much impossible (Adobe apps).

You will likely end up developing some kind of "app launcher" to set
environment variables, pick software versions, lock software versions
for specific projects... This could just be some simple wrapper
scripts, or some kind of fancy GUI.

Floating licenses are pretty much a must, getting the Autodesk
licensing system (AdLM) to run off a network share is tricky but
doable (start your googling with AdlmThinClientCustomEnv.xml). Apps
that use RLM licensing are trivial to deal with, typically you just
need to set an environment variable to point to the license server
(which you could do in your facility "app launcher").

JF
On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 9:02 AM Zorion Terrell
<Zorion.Terrell@dhxmedia.com> wrote:
>
> Tom, loading Maya from the network on Windows is totally doable and load times are not as brutal as you might think.
>
>
>
> Conor, how big is your studio? You can easily maintain installed versions of packages with a tool like PDQ Deploy and Inventory.
>
> That being said many apps can be run off the network as well.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Zorion Terrell
>
> Director of IT | DHX Media
>
> e: zorion.terrell@dhxmedia.com
>
> t: 604-684-2363 | m: 604-562-5148
>
> 380 West 5th Ave
>
> Vancouver, BC Canada V5Y 1J5
>
>
>
>
>
> From: studiosysadmins-discuss-bounces@studiosysadmins.com <studiosysadmins-discuss-bounces@studiosysadmins.com> On Behalf Of Tom S.
> Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 8:37 AM
> To: studiosysadmins-discuss@studiosysadmins.com
> Subject: Re: [SSA-Discuss] Basic network versus local software deployment questions
>
>
>
> Conor, it sounds like you're in a bit over your head. You do need to get someone in with enough experience to guide you.
>
> You are approaching your questions backward - how much can we cram into our current setup. You should start from what you need to be able to do and what you need to put into place to support that. What is causing inefficiencies? How much time is being spent on various activities?
>
> The answer to your basic question about whether "this is a practical achievable thing" would be hard to answer. First, you aren't very specific in your questions. Second, it would require more in depth knowledge of your setup.
>
> Whether or not software can be run from the network or locally is wholly dependent on the Operating System of the workstation and the requirements of the application. You won't be able to run Windows Maya from the network. Even if you could, I'm not sure you would want to. Your load times would be awful.
>
> For reference, 1 Gb switches are now more "quaint" than cutting edge.
>
> For your concern about a licensing question, that's a decision that needs to be made on the cost of the licenses, the ability to share them, the need for flexibility, cost, etc. It's easier to manage floating licenses. But this will also depend on the size of the company, the sophistication of the IT staff, and the financial resources available.
>
> Find a good local consultant who can point you in the right direction. There's lots of people on this forum who consult.
>
>
>
>
>
> To unsubscribe from the list send a blank e-mail to mailto:studiosysadmins-discuss-request@studiosysadmins.com?subject=unsubscribe
To unsubscribe from the list send a blank e-mail to mailto:studiosysadmins-discuss-request@studiosysadmins.com?subject=unsubscribe


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Response from Jean-Francois Panisset @ Sept. 4, 2018, 2:45 p.m.
There are lots of studios that manage local app installs, but personally I feel that as soon as you have more than a few machines, running apps off a server is the way to go, in particular in an environment where you have multiple long running projects that need to stay on specific software versions, or if you like to keep up to date with apps that have frequent releases (Houdini daily builds...). Of course there are tons of variables involved (file server, network, client OS version, tons of tuning variables), but the experience I've had is that whereas loading applications off a NFS share on Linux seems almost as fast as loading from local disk, that's definitely not the case for Windows apps off a SMB share, where loading larger apps such as Maya or Houdini can be quite painful. We ended writing a caching mechanism which would copy apps locally the first time you run them, and keeps track of how much local disk space is used by the application cache and gets rid of older versions as needed to make room. Windows versions of DCC apps tend to assume a local install, harvesting them and relocating them to a file server can be as trivial as just copying the installation directory to the server (after renaming it to something that actually includes the version number, sigh...), or can be pretty much impossible (Adobe apps). You will likely end up developing some kind of "app launcher" to set environment variables, pick software versions, lock software versions for specific projects... This could just be some simple wrapper scripts, or some kind of fancy GUI. Floating licenses are pretty much a must, getting the Autodesk licensing system (AdLM) to run off a network share is tricky but doable (start your googling with AdlmThinClientCustomEnv.xml). Apps that use RLM licensing are trivial to deal with, typically you just need to set an environment variable to point to the license server (which you could do in your facility "app launcher"). JF On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 9:02 AM Zorion Terrell wrote: > > Tom, loading Maya from the network on Windows is totally doable and load times are not as brutal as you might think. > > > > Conor, how big is your studio? You can easily maintain installed versions of packages with a tool like PDQ Deploy and Inventory. > > That being said many apps can be run off the network as well. > > > > > > > > > > Zorion Terrell > > Director of IT | DHX Media > > e: zorion.terrell@dhxmedia.com > > t: 604-684-2363 | m: 604-562-5148 > > 380 West 5th Ave > > Vancouver, BC Canada V5Y 1J5 > > > > > > From: studiosysadmins-discuss-bounces@studiosysadmins.com On Behalf Of Tom S. > Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 8:37 AM > To: studiosysadmins-discuss@studiosysadmins.com > Subject: Re: [SSA-Discuss] Basic network versus local software deployment questions > > > > Conor, it sounds like you're in a bit over your head. You do need to get someone in with enough experience to guide you. > > You are approaching your questions backward - how much can we cram into our current setup. You should start from what you need to be able to do and what you need to put into place to support that. What is causing inefficiencies? How much time is being spent on various activities? > > The answer to your basic question about whether "this is a practical achievable thing" would be hard to answer. First, you aren't very specific in your questions. Second, it would require more in depth knowledge of your setup. > > Whether or not software can be run from the network or locally is wholly dependent on the Operating System of the workstation and the requirements of the application. You won't be able to run Windows Maya from the network. Even if you could, I'm not sure you would want to. Your load times would be awful. > > For reference, 1 Gb switches are now more "quaint" than cutting edge. > > For your concern about a licensing question, that's a decision that needs to be made on the cost of the licenses, the ability to share them, the need for flexibility, cost, etc. It's easier to manage floating licenses. But this will also depend on the size of the company, the sophistication of the IT staff, and the financial resources available. > > Find a good local consultant who can point you in the right direction. There's lots of people on this forum who consult. > > > > > > To unsubscribe from the list send a blank e-mail to mailto:studiosysadmins-discuss-request@studiosysadmins.com?subject=unsubscribe To unsubscribe from the list send a blank e-mail to mailto:studiosysadmins-discuss-request@studiosysadmins.com?subject=unsubscribe

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