KeyShot Forum

Technical discussions => Extending KeyShot => Network Rendering => Topic started by: bshapiro on March 14, 2018, 12:02:15 pm

Title: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: bshapiro on March 14, 2018, 12:02:15 pm
We are look into offloading our rendering to a workstation or server. There would be at least 3 people rendering. So far I configured a
Dell Precision Rack 7920
Dual Xeon 6130's. They are 16C 2.1GHz / 3.7GHz Turbo.
Quadro P2000
32 G ram ( lots of space for more if needed)
256 SSD

This has 2Xs the cores of any of our existing computers currently.

Reason for this is that we might be switching to laptops and possibly accessing everything remotely through a server via VDI such as VMware or Citrix.

I would like to know if anyone has used a set-up like this and if there are any recommendations, pro or cons about moving this direction. Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks, Barry
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: mattjgerard on March 14, 2018, 12:52:48 pm
My IT dept is taking delivery of this machine in a couple weeks-

HP Z8 G4
2x Intel Xeon 6142 2.6 2666MHz 16C CPU
32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 2666 DIMM ECC Registered 2CPU Memory
HP Z8 G4 1125W  PSU

so, similar, i intend to put it through its paces quite thoroughly when it gets powered up, and I'll post the results. Not an apples to apples compare, but might give an idea. Wasn't my choice of machines or setup, but they tagged it onto a rather large order they made for upgrading all the companies servers. So I'm thinking they got a good deal on it, and its from the local HP rep, so I couldn't push for a more economical brand or build.

Anyway, my only concern for you would be switching to laptops. I would hope that the specs for the laptops are quite high, I find that now that we have our network renderer up and running, the bottleneck for me is material and lighting development on my local machine. I would hope that doesn't slow down for you moving to a potentially slower laptop. I would love to have a faster machine for my cloudy plastics to resolve faster on so I can develop materials and lighting solutions faster on.
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: bshapiro on March 14, 2018, 01:39:31 pm
The hope would be for us to be able to work from anywhere through virtual desktop. All the laptop would be doing is displaying the graphics and passing along the input from mouse and keyboard. The actual work would be taking place on another server through VDI (virtual desktop environment ) such as the nVidia GRID server.

Please post your results when you get that up and running.

Thanks, Barry
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: Eric Summers on March 14, 2018, 01:42:15 pm
Hi Barry,

The Precision Rack 7910 we have for rendering is great! I posted the specs in the Benchmark section if you're interested: https://www.keyshot.com/forum/index.php?topic=19887.0
I frequently render images 3000 X 3000 at upwards of 1,000 samples and it handles them quite well, as well as 100 image XRs.

As I'm the only one using the machine, I just remote desktop to it and sometimes when I'm working on complicated materials (like cloudy plastics) I'll just do my work on that machine. Then I'll load up the queue and disconnect from it.
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: mattjgerard on March 14, 2018, 01:55:13 pm
The hope would be for us to be able to work from anywhere through virtual desktop. All the laptop would be doing is displaying the graphics and passing along the input from mouse and keyboard. The actual work would be taking place on another server through VDI (virtual desktop environment ) such as the nVidia GRID server.

Please post your results when you get that up and running.

Thanks, Barry

Ahh, understood. I'm not at that level, that's an interesting way of using the machine. I have used the more plebeian solutions for remote sharing such as gotomypc and such like that, and I don't think I'd be able to work that way. The lag and the resolution drove me nuts. But its been a while since I used one of those solutions, so I'm sure its gotten better.

I will post results when I have them, it might be a couple weeks for it to be delivered.

One of my options for my proposal was a couple of Threadripper machines, headless just sitting on the network. Seemed to be more bang for the buck, but I don't make the purchase decisions unfortunately.
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: Robb63 on March 14, 2018, 02:57:54 pm
I worked with our IT department last year to setup a render farm on our network. We have three designers and we all run Dell M6800 laptops, that were basically useless while they rendered. I only had a small hardware budget (under 2K), and I thought well at least I'll get a desktop that sits remotely, and spend the money on the processor since we can use a cheap video-card.

What my IT guy recommended (and what we did) was buy some older Xeon rack mounted servers on eBay. I was able to buy four of them to use, and a fifth one for spares. They were about $350 each. We ended up with 96 cores on our server all dedicated to us for rendering. Spent the first few days throwing renders that had taken a long time on our laptops at it to see how it performed. What a difference! Renders that were taking 45-60 minutes on our laptops, took about about 6-10 minutes on the farm.

We haven't had to use the fifth server for parts yet, although the IT team had to replace the hard drives in all four servers during the first couple of months. But because they were older, the same hard drives were only $26 new, and they've been bulletproof since.

We have even introduced animations to our marketing team now which we use on our website, and to highlight our products features when they were on HSN.

Having access to a network render solution is awesome!!
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: bshapiro on March 15, 2018, 06:03:10 am
Thanks for all of the replies. Robb, I really like the concept of the used servers. It's a great way to add additional cores a minimal cost.

If anyone has experience working through VDI I would like to here your feedback.

Thanks, Barry
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: Robb63 on March 15, 2018, 06:21:14 am
One of the hidden benefits was that since I worked closely with our IT guys to get this setup it isn't thought of as some random box sitting in my department's closet. It sits in a rack with the companies main servers right in the IT area. Our IT guys are right there and invested in the project (since they spec'd it), so any slight hiccups, they are on it immediately.
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: mattjgerard on March 15, 2018, 06:46:18 am
One of the hidden benefits was that since I worked closely with our IT guys to get this setup it isn't thought of as some random box sitting in my department's closet. It sits in a rack with the companies main servers right in the IT area. Our IT guys are right there and invested in the project (since they spec'd it), so any slight hiccups, they are on it immediately.

And that is very helpful. I can say the same with my IT person that I'm working with. Oddly, our whole IT dept has mostly been on board (except for the one that must have a lot of stock in HP at the moment) with helping us get some good stuff. Interestingly, the hardest thing to convince them of is that its actually ok to have the network renderer to be faster than our desktop machines. They think that just offloading the rendering to the NR is the main goal, and no matter how that is accomplished or how fast or slow it is,  then tick that box off and we are done.

I have that one guy that is helping me out, and I think its just because he's bored and keeps moving things around looking for faster hardware. At some point we will have to upgrade our license to a 64 or 96 core license. Then we can look at speedier desktop machines.

Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: Mario Stockinger on March 16, 2018, 02:25:28 am
We use serveral old ESX Servers for NW Rendering.

I did some testing :

https://www.keyshot.com/forum/index.php?topic=20760.0
Title: Re: Questions about network rendering set up and hardware
Post by: Gordon on May 08, 2018, 03:38:55 pm
bshapiro, just to be clear.  You are talking about option (b) below right:
a. Run Keyshot on laptop to set up the job, then use the server as a Network rendering machine.
b. Use the laptops to do a VDI session on the server.  The server runs the Keyshot software and pipes the graphics back to the laptop.

Choice (a) means your Keyshot client is slower but rendering large jobs is pretty fast.  Choice (b) depends heavily on your configuration and user base.  By doing the VDI and 'chopping up' the server resources into discreet pools you are going to cripple its performance and lose much of the multi-CPU advantage you are after in the first place with this machine.  If your VDI software can dynamically allocate CPU cores then performance would scale based on users (would be great if you were the only VDI user, but your laptop would be faster after just a few users hit the server).
 You also need to hold back some of the cores (at least 1 per user) just for the VDI to function (software compression).  Citrix or VMWare level of complexity/cost just might not be worth the headache depending on the number of users. 

If I had 5 or so users and they had to have laptops, I'd go with choice (a) if they were heavy users and give them each a MSI Titan (6 core 12 thread) laptops and throw a few Ryzen machines online as a network rendering server.  If they were occasional users of Keyshot (only 1 or 2 users on the server at any given time) then choice (b) might give better user performance, but you also lose Network Rendering ability for big jobs.