Major Enhancements to Pixar’s Scalable Render Farm Distribution Software
Press Release / Aug 12, 2014
EMERYVILLE, CA – (August 11th, 2014) Pixar Animation Studios today announced that Tractor 2.0, its next generation distributed processing software, will be released in the first week of September 2014. Tractor 2.0 significantly expands the successful Tractor 1.x render farm job queuing system, while also deepening the underlying platform to support new wrangling and management tools, as well as a forward-looking API and data features that address custom pipeline integration requirements and future product objectives. New features include major user interface enhancements, a streamlined installation process, powerful command line and scripting interfaces, and flexible resource-sharing controls for maximizing utilization. Tractor 2.0 is a robust solution in a compact architecture, specifically engineered for scalability and proven in production on a wide variety of rendering and non-rendering applications.
Tractor 2.0 consists of three primary components: the Engine, the Blade, and the Dashboard. Tractor Engine maintains the central job queue and dispatches tasks. Tractor Blade is the command execution server that runs on each network compute node. Tractor Dashboard is a web app that lets artists see their jobs in progress and allows administrators to manage tasks, Blades, and the Engine itself. Additional query and control tools are available for command-line use, as well as an API for scripting. Tractor 2.0 uses proven open web standards that perform efficiently with typical operating systems and network infrastructure with little overhead or computational load. The system supports a variety of customizations, from job scripting to Python module extensions that allow administrators to easily define per-task environments on a show-by-show basis. Custom Dashboard menu items can be added to integrate Tractor controls into the studio pipeline.
The Tractor 2.0 Engine is compatible with 64-bit Mac OS X and Linux. The Tractor Blade is compatible with 64-bit Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 7 and 8. Tractor Dashboard is compatible with popular HTML5-compliant web browsers.
Tractor 2.0 has a simple to understand license model priced at $100 for each concurrent task. Annual maintenance is $20 per license. In addition, a “Tractor Starter Motor” package of an initial 25 licenses is available for $495 including year-1 maintenance. Maintenance on all 25 licenses is charged from year-2 onwards, plus any additional individual licenses purchased. Purchasers of up to 25 commercial RenderMan licenses are also entitled to 1 complimentary Tractor license for each RenderMan license purchased on a one-for-one basis. For more information on Tractor purchases and upgrades, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.