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Remote working: What can Dell workstations offer the media industries?

As hi-res content becomes more demanding, the media industries need to find more efficient ways toproducehigh quality content cost effectively. One way to achieve this is by investing in an agile, scalable, efficient, and cost-effective IT infrastructure that helps your end users work in smarter ways, while making the best use of remote technology.

 

Conal Siddall

Typically, editors, colourists and effects teams work on powerful physical workstations for creating, editing, animating, and rendering 3D modelling workflows. But with remote working offering a much more flexible approach to editing (further highlighted by the recent pandemic and lockdown), is it time to consider it for yourself?

 

The case for remote working

Powerful workstations are at the core of most editing facilities, with users typically working on a 1:1 basis. But they’re not without their downsides. For starters, buying and maintaining many physical workstations can cost a lot of money, this means scaling your facility up or down is not easy or cost-effective. The intensive tasks done by workstations also mean that users need their machine with them in order to work remotely – they can’t edit 4K footage using a £300 laptop at home. And in an increasingly global industry, where post teams in different countries need to find ways to collaborate regardless of time differences and other potential obstacles, that’s a problem.

Even when they’re using their workstations at your facility, working with massive 3D sets puts pressure on the network as large files are moved across it. So how can you deploy Dell workstations to make your on-premise and remote teams more efficient?

 

What are some of the solutions Dell offer?

Dell offer a wide range of Precision workstations, from standalone units to rackmount ones. This means you can choose the hardware and infrastructure that suits your needs. Dell workstations also integrate with key technologies, so there’s no worry about their hardware fitting into your environment. Many of Dell’s Precision workstations are Avid-qualified, and optimised and certified for Adobe After Effects, Premier Pro and Photoshop, as well as working perfectly with Microsoft 365’s cloud services for team admin.

 

Mobile workstations

Dell’s mobile workstations can support a simple remote working setup. Dell mobile workstations, such as the Dell Precision 7750, have a crazy amount of onboard computing power and are still portable enough to carry around with you. With a reliable connection to your facility’s server, these can be a simple and cost effective choice for remote working.

 

Point to point solution

Point to point is a common remote working solution.This involves using Amulet Hotkey’s PC over IP hardware to remotely connect to a desktop workstation in the office, so they can access the power of that workstation on their home device. We can provide you with Dell workstations and Amulet Hotkey clients and host cards, as well as connection broker software to let you mange the remote users in the same way you manage your existing estate.

Dell Precision workstations would be a great choice for this. Precision workstations come in multiple form factors (including rack mounted options) and are massively customisable to offer tremendous flexibility and scalability. The Precision 7920 tower has up to two Intel Xeon processors, professional NVIDIA graphics and up to 3TB of memory, which is more than enough for most intensive workflows. Or you could pick the more affordable 3640 tower, which features Intel Core and Xeon processors, professional graphics and up to 128GB of memory.

 

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

If you were looking for one of the best remote solutions you can buy,you want a VDI solution –Amulet Graphics accelerated VDI from Dell to be specific. It’s a fully virtualised environment for distributing computing power to clients as and when they need it. This computing power can be shared amongst multiple clients and is much more easily scalable than a point to point or mobile workstation setup.

VDI presents an opportunity for the media industries to increase mobility and collaboration among creative professionals. By using Dell’s NVIDIA Quadro vDWS enabled virtual workstations in a VDI environment, you get performance that equals that of physical workstations. IT teams can also use their budget better, as they don’t need to purchase separate workstations for remote users, and computing power is constantly available for allocation.

In addition to the productivity gains for creative professionals, IT teams benefit from the following VDI capabilities:

• Easy onboarding of partners and contractors.

• Centralised management of workstations.

• Improved security controls.

• Live migration capabilities of workstations, which eliminates business disruption during maintenance activities.

 

What technology would be deployed in a typical Dell VDI setup?

Dell PowerEdge servers

Dell PowerEdge servers provide a scalable business architecture, intelligent automation and integrated security for your workloads from traditional applications and virtualisation to cloud-native workloads. A Dell PowerEdge server offers real flexibility by providing compute, storage, and networking fabric resources into shared pools that can be available for on-demand allocation and re-allocation.

 

Amulet Hotkey CoreModule
Amulet Hotkey CoreModules enable GPU acceleration in a PowerEdge MX modular environment, meaning you can run visualisations faster and accelerate demanding workloads.This means your user experience will be improved while you run visualisations faster and accelerate demanding workloads. These modules fit perfectly into a PowerEdge MX environment, so you can add these modules to scale up your capability and power virtual workloads better.

 

Teradici PCoIP software.

The Teradici PCoIP virtual workspace architecture delivers a secure, high definition, highly responsive remote computing experience, giving your users access to virtualised GPUs to speed up graphics-intensive tasks when you need. Teradici’s standard works with a range of cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud, as well as your own hardware.

 

How does this help your facility?

It means you can distribute computing power as you need it. One day you could be doing offline editing with ten users, the next you could have 40 or 50 people working off the server at once – VDI allows you to adapt. And if you have a particularly bandwidth-hungry job, you can even ‘build’ one or two finishing suites with lots of GPU and CPU power in order to blast through the project before your deadline.

This also means you can manage projects better. While you may start a project with 25 offline users, towards the end you can wind down the resources dedicated to one project and redeploy your virtual desktops to incoming jobs.

And having yourfacility’scomputing power available from one source means you can leave the server running to tackle particularly big rendering jobs overnight, so everything is ready in the morning when you return.

 

How our team will support you

Choosing the right solution is important, and our team are ready to ensure choose the right hardware, deploy the solution and scale it to your needs. And if you need ongoing support, we can also help maintain the server and scale up or down as you need over time.

 

If you want to chat to our team about setting up a remote working environment with Dell technology, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 409 888 or emailing broadcast@jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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