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Deadline 6 Overview

Deadline 6 is the latest version of Thinkbox Software's render farm management system. It features an incredibly flexible and efficient User Interface across all platforms, combined with a new highly-scalable database backend. The new User Group Management system allows users to be split into groups, with different permissions assigned to each group. Farm administration is made easier with the ability to stream the render log from remote machines.

New Features In Deadline 6.0

New Database Backend

Deadline now uses a highly-scalable MongoDB Database to store data like the jobs, settings, and slave configurations. The new Database vastly improves Deadline's performance, while at the same time allowing it to scale to higher render node counts than ever before.

A trimmed down file-based Repository still stores files for the Deadline plugins, scripts, logs, and any auxiliary files (like scene files) that are submitted with the jobs. However, since the majority of data now lives in the Database, the demand on the file system and the network is significantly reduced.

Running Pulse is no longer required to improve Deadline's performance. Pulse is only required if you wish to make use of the advanced features like Auto Configuration, Power Management, Slave Throttling, Statistics Gathering, and the Web Service.

Redesigned User Interface

All Deadline applications have been rebuilt using Digia’s Qt development framework, giving Deadline a native look and feel across all operating systems. The new user interfaces were designed to provide greater flexibility and improved performance.

The Monitor introduces a wide range of new features:

Delayed data loading allows the Monitor to start up quickly, even with thousands of jobs in the farm.

Data (Jobs, Slaves, etc) is always live. There is no need to manually refresh the data anymore.

Data is split up into separate panels, which can be re-sized, docked, or floated as desired. This allows for a highly customized viewing experience which is adaptable to the needs of different users.

New filters make it fast and easy to filter out unwanted data. Filters can be saved, and different filters on the same panel can be viewed at the same time.

Almost every panel has a graphical representation to visualize the data in a meaningful way.

User Group Permissions

The new User Group Management system allows Administrators to restrict what functionality is available to certain users, as well as make certain features accessible to others without requiring the use of the Super User mode. By default, all users are part of the Everyone group, so default permissions can be set at this level. New groups can be added with different permissions as required.

Slave Log Streaming

Connect directly to the Slave running on a remote machine and view its log in real time. This makes it possible to see what the Slave is doing without having to remote into the machine. The remote log caches the last 500 lines of output, making it possible to see what the Slave did in the past as well.

Slave Licensing

Slaves now only need access to a license when rendering jobs. If the license server goes offline, the Slave will continue to run instead of shutting itself down. However, the Slave won't be able to render another job until the license server comes back online.

Job Environment Variables

Environment variables can now be set for a job, and they will be applied at render time. During submission, the variables can be set individually, or they can automatically be set to match the current environment. The variables can also be modified from the Monitor. At render time, the variables can be used exclusively, or they can be merged with the Slave's current environment.

Customizable Script Menus

Right-click script menus are now available for almost every list in the Monitor. In addition, the text, icons, and display order for all script menu items can now be customized, and they can even be placed in sub-menus.

Basic Cloud Features

Basic Cloud features are now built into the Monitor, allowing it to connect to different cloud providers and provide a way to control existing instances. Start up, shut down, or even clone existing images to scale the farm up and down as necessary. Currently, only Amazon EC2 is supported, but more providers will be added in the future.

New Job Archiving System

Archived jobs are now removed from the Database and saved to a zip file in the Repository. The zip file will contain the job and task information, as well as the job's auxiliary files. Archived jobs can be imported again from the Monitor. A key difference from the old archiving system is that archived jobs are no longer managed by Deadline, so they no longer impact performance.

New Custom Folder in the Repository

A 'custom' folder has been added to the Repository, and it contains sub-folders for events, plugins, and scripts. Custom plugins and scripts can be dropped into this location, and Deadline will automatically append them to the plugins and scripts it finds in its default folders. If a plugin or script exists in both the custom folder and the default folder, the one in the custom folder will be used.

Nothing in the custom folder will be touched when upgrading the Repository, but it will still be backed up by the Repository installer.

Native Python

All of Deadline's plugins and scripts now use the native Python bundle that is shipped with Deadline. The IronPython engine has been removed.

Deadline 6 Monitor from Windows/Mac OS X/Linux


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