VARs Help Businesses Build 'Smarter Planet'VARs Help Businesses Build 'Smarter Planet'
Perhaps you've heard that most of the box-office buzz this past weekend was around a 3-D animated film from Universal Studios called "Despicable Me," the tale of Gru and his planned ascent to super-villainy. You're probably thinking this is just another kids' film that's going to rake in a lot of cash. No big whoop, right? But this one's different.
July 14, 2010
Perhaps you've heard that most of the box-office buzz this past weekend was around a 3-D animated film from Universal Studios called "Despicable Me," the tale of Gru and his planned ascent to super-villainy. You're probably thinking this is just another kids' film that's going to rake in a lot of cash. No big whoop, right? But this one's different.The movie brought in $60.1 million between Saturday and Sunday, and that's only about $9 million shy of what it cost to make. The budget for "Finding Nemo" was more than double that number, at $128 million, and "Avatar" cost a cool half billion. So, what was the studio's secret? And what does this have to do with a blog about SMBs?
Most of us probably don't think too much about what goes on behind the silver-screen scenes. But the "Despicable Me" back story warrants a closer look, and not just for us technology types. Thanks to IBM and its VAR partner Serviware, the movie was rendered in 9 months (instead of 3 to 5 years), and at a fraction of the cost of typical Hollywood productions. "The traditional way of making these kinds of movies is in a big studio -- a "glass house" -- where the hundreds of people involved collaborate at the same site," says Ed Abrams, vice president of midmarket offerings at IBM. "As far as the technology, we're usually talking about huge, air-conditioned server rooms that take up a lot of room and consume a lot of energy." For this project, Serviware deployed a server farm that took up only four parking spots' worth of space and reduced power usage by about 40%. The VAR used IBM's iDataPlex systems, which Abrams says are noteworthy for their efficient design and flexible configuration. A Rear Door Heat eXchanger, a water-cooled door, eliminated the need for air conditioning. Chris Meledandri, the producer of "Despicable Me" and the founder of production company Illumination Entertainment, says the film represents a "breakthrough in the emerging model of collaborative, geographically distributed movie making." The people involved with "Despicable Me" weren't working together at one glitzy, super-sized Hollywood facility. They were all over the globe -- Paris, New Jersey, and California. The film is a shining example of what IBM and its technology partners are accomplishing under the Smarter Planet umbrella. For the past nine months or so, IBM has been shedding the spotlight on its Smarter Planet initiative, whose aim is to use technology to live, work, and play more intelligently. The underlying three-pronged plan: 1) Instrument the world's systems; 2) Interconnect them; and 3) Make them intelligent. "Despicable Me" represents Smarter Planet in action in the entertainment industry. Right now, across the globe, solution providers are helping businesses differentiate themselves in every arena -- from agriculture, energy, education, and finance to infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and government. And this initiative doesn't focus on just the big industry players. "The great thing about Smarter Planet is that it levels the playing field. You don't have to be a big company with deep pockets to succeed at re-inventing yourself," says Abrams. "In fact, it's the midsize companies that are leading the way here right now." Stay tuned for case studies; find out how VARs around the world are helping companies operate more effectively and efficiently.
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