Author Topic: Creating a render farm  (Read 15826 times)

2016-06-02, 12:42:20

julecocq

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Hi Corona Community,

Just would like to talk about setting up a mini render farm, with Corona.

Right now I have the 3ds Max: FairSaaS licence, with 3 render nodes included.

I don't have much knowledges about hardware. So my first question would be, what would you suggest in terms of hardware, to be able to use these 3 render nodes ? Do I need 3 complete machines (with graphic cards, RAM and everything) ? or is there other solutions, like having 3 CPU somehow ?

Then, I know there is a topic about it at coronarenderer.freshdesk.com, but we don't really need to get 3dsMax installed on each node right ?

Also, we need a Operating System on each node ?

You see I'm really dummy regarding this topic...

Thx for your help guys !
« Last Edit: 2016-06-02, 15:35:07 by maru »

2016-06-02, 13:41:23
Reply #1

Juraj

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- Any hardware you can get :- )
- Every node needs to be a complete PC, with exception being rackmount with shared PSU. Not very common thing.
- There are dual and quad-socket server PCs utilizing multiple CPUs, if you want to cram as much performance into as little space as possible. A lot has been written about in HW section.
- Each PC needs Windows (because 3dsMax), 3dsMax (because Autodesk) and Corona. In future, there is possibility of 3dMax-less network rendering using Standalone Corona version.
  You don't need to licence the 3dsMax for network rendering (it can stay in trial mode, you won't be able to use it to work, but for DR and Backburner yes), but you do need Corona licence of which you have 3 for this.
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2016-06-02, 14:50:47
Reply #2

SairesArt

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I'd like to add, that you do not need a graphics card, just an integrated GPU will do it.
Also you can totally cheap out on storage.
You only need to start Max and backburner from the Hard drive. All textures are being downloaded into ram.
So technically you can use a USB drive if you are very short on money. It won't matter for performance.

2016-06-02, 15:04:26
Reply #3

Juraj

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So technically you can use a USB drive if you are very short on money. It won't matter for performance.

Let's not get carried away ;- )
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2016-06-02, 15:12:24
Reply #4

TomG

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I'd suggest using some form of remote desktop to control the other PCs, then you don't need monitors and keyboards and can have access to them all from one central machine. "Pro" versions of Windows feature this built in if you enable it, but there are alternatives, e.g. Google has a free remote desktop system. You can move your one main monitor / keyboard / mouse to the machine for initial set up, then just leave it as a box on its own after that :)

For nodes, any hardware will do, personally I find refurbished dual Xeons to be good for price / performance, I went for older ones due to budget, but even a $500 machine can perform well. Graphics card is irrelevant, so you can go without if you get the option in the system you are buying, or go for the cheapest, as it has no role to play.

You will need Max installed on each node, but it doesn't have to be licensed - this means you can't run Max on the node (ie open it as a program and use it) but you won't need to. As noted, you will need an OS for each machine too of course.

Hope this helps!

2016-06-02, 15:39:14
Reply #5

maru

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I have added a link to this thread to the general DR guide in our helpdesk. There are some basic facts listed here using plain words, so why not.

I would also add that you can network-render using:
a) Corona's DR only - this can be used for "all PCs are rendering one frame" scenario. Apart from 3ds Max, Autodesk Backburner is also required for this to work.
b) Backburner - this can be used for "each single PC is rendering one single frame" scenario, or for rendering one image as strips.
c) Other software


2016-06-02, 15:43:40
Reply #6

julecocq

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Thx a lot guys !

Just one thing I don't understand.

How can I use Max if I don't have any licence (except one on my main workstation) ?

2016-06-02, 16:01:21
Reply #7

TomG

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Just run the installer and there you go. If you run it, it will ask to be activated, but you never need to run it.

I usually download the installer on my main machine, then just copy it over to the other machines, run it, never run Max, and presto!

2016-06-02, 16:09:19
Reply #8

julecocq

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aaaah ok !

:)

really nice

What about having Corona Stand Alone instead of Max ?

2016-06-02, 16:26:04
Reply #9

maru

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Corona Standalone cannot open .max files and that is required. You are basically rendering with Max. You need Max. (or any other supported application in the future)
More specifically it's 3dsmaxcmd.exe - command line version of 3ds Max.

2016-06-02, 16:28:19
Reply #10

TomG

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Never tried it myself - you would of course then have no access to any plugins that you used in Max for one thing. Beyond that, not sure what the difference would be. Harmless enough installing Max, and it is intended to be used that way by Autodesk (which is why they include Backburner with Max) so I never looked into any alternative approaches myself. Maybe someone else can add more on that.

EDIT - someone else has added more info just as I was posted, brilliant!

2016-06-02, 16:30:14
Reply #11

julecocq

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thumb up guys

2016-06-02, 16:40:58
Reply #12

jasond

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Great timing on this as we're looking to set up a farm as well!

What's your take on having many fast i7 nodes compared to a few nice Xeons? Our Autodesk reseller suggested this along with possibly using blade servers. We're currently running 10 Xeon E5-2620 machines but can only use them 5pm - 7am which isn't ideal.

2016-06-02, 17:51:33
Reply #13

TomG

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Blade servers could be interesting, but I got cold feet when looking into the option as I wasn't sure of the technical aspects involved in setting that up.

For the i7 solution, just my take. I find that the i7s would be great if you are using the machine for something else too, so as a workstation and then a render node in its downtime. If the machine is only to be used for rendering, I suspect the dual Xeons are the way to go.

As a 'for example' my 3 year old workstation is an i7 3930K overclocked from 3.2 to 4.2, pricing on that processor still seems to be around $500 to $700 on its own (not looked into systems). I bought an older refurbished dual Xeon system (X5650s)for that price, about $550, and it is 1.5 times faster at rendering. Not sure if the same holds up on more recent i7s and Xeons, but I suspect so - a dual Xeon system if it is just a render node is most likely going to give better price / performance ratio.

Hope this helps some!

2016-06-02, 17:51:42
Reply #14

maru

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What's your take on having many fast i7 nodes compared to a few nice Xeons? Our Autodesk reseller suggested this along with possibly using blade servers. We're currently running 10 Xeon E5-2620 machines but can only use them 5pm - 7am which isn't ideal.
This: https://forum.corona-renderer.com/index.php/topic,7722.0.html
Or start a new thread in that section. :)