Animal Logic keeps Linux on edge

Big projects mean few upgrades

The movie industry may be accustomed to using Linux for creative design and high-powered clustering but Happy Feet creator Animal Logic is content to have the penguin run the bulk of its corporate services.

Following speculation Animal Logic was running legacy Windows NT and Linux on its 2000 node render farm, the company's IT manager, Alex Timbs, told Computerworld it uses both Windows and Linux, but in distinctly different ways.

Timbs said Animal Logic is always actively assessing new versions of operating systems, and upgrading, meaning the render farm is now "almost entirely" Windows Server 2003.

"In our particular vertical we are the odd one out," Timbs said. "But we are vendor agnostic and will look for the solution closest to our needs."

Animal Logic has finished upgrading its workstations to Windows XP earlier this year, which was impossible to do during Happy Feet because of the demands of such a large project.

As for Vista, a migration won't happen this year.

"We won't look at Vista this year," Timbs said. "It's something we are considering but not something we will review until mid-next year at the earliest."

With the bulk of its infrastructure on Windows, Animal Logic has a number of servers and workstations running Linux.

"We do have a number of Linux servers used for running NIS, proprietary tools, and a mail server," Timbs said. "The bulk of the core services run on Linux but we also use Actively Directory."

On the desktop, some R&D and system administration staff use Linux. Animal Logic does some in-house software development in addition to using off-the-shelf tools like Maya and XSI.

There is nothing on Animal Logic's server road map this year, but Timbs said it will look at Windows Server 2008 when it arrives next year and upgrades could go hand in hand with any Vista migrations.

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