IBM Servers Created Despicable Me - InformationWeek
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7/23/2010
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Lamont Wood
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IBM Servers Created Despicable Me

A hurriedly assembled data center, based on the IBM iDataPlex rack server, rendered 142 terabytes of data in 12 months to create a CGI movie that's currently showing in US theaters.

A hurriedly assembled data center, based on the IBM iDataPlex rack server, rendered 142 terabytes of data in 12 months to create a CGI movie that's currently showing in US theaters.Many movies are made in Hollywood, but the recently released "Despicable Me" CGI movie was made in a data center that took up four parking spaces in the garage of the production facility of Illumination Entertainment.

The IBM iDataPlex rack server, touted as a unit that can optimize data centers, allowed the ad hoc facility with 6,500 cores to run without air conditioning, achieving a 40 percent power savings. The racks did, however, have water-cooled back doors, each supposedly capable of removing 50,000 BTUs, or the equivalent of a five-ton air conditioner. The doors make the racks about four inches deeper.

The server uses one or two two-socket Xeon 5500 or 5600 processors running about 3 gigahertz, supporting up to 128 gigabytes of RAM.

Production of the 3D animated full-length film required rendering about 500,000 frames per week over a 12-month period, with the data center running 24/7.

Starring Steve Carell in voice-over, the firm is about a villain named Gru who hatches a plot to become the world's greatest super villain. Reportedly, production continues for the French-language version.

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