Animal Logic

Postgres-bdr Is Chosen, with 2ndQuadrant Support, by Global Award-winning Digital Creative Studio

Animal Logic is one of the world’s most creative digital studios producing award winning, groundbreaking animation, visual effects and design. With studios in Sydney, Vancouver and Los Angeles, Animal Logic has been the creative force behind many box office successes including creating the dancing animated penguins in Happy Feet, the formidable fighting owls in Legend of the Guardians, BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, and the hugely successful LEGO® Movie franchise.

Animal Logic runs a custom production workflow system across two studios on two continents, supporting nearly 700 collaborating specialist artists who produce tens of thousands of digital components per day. A PostgreSQL database forms the backbone of this system, and Postgres-BDR (Bi-Directional Replication) allows the studios to work closely while still being able to operate independently – should the need arise.

The Challenge

Animal Logic has been using PostgreSQL as a core database technology for many years. Visual effects and computer-based animation are data-intensive crafts, with a critical dependency on data storage, access, and management.

With an established studio in Sydney and a new studio in Vancouver coming on stream in 2015, the team started to investigate the options available to them to establish a globally distributed database infrastructure.

Although total faith remained in PostgreSQL, the core product did not offer the replication functionality the team required. With a number of alternative add-on solutions available, the team had to find a solution that could provide the best outcome, with the right support.

Getting someone in to fill in the knowledge gaps was needed and having one of 2ndQuadrant’s replication experts to visit us on-site was excellent.

Justen Marshall, Software Development Manager, Animal Logic

The Solution

Animal Logic identified Postgres-BDR as a candidate solution. Postgres-BDR is specifically designed for use in geographically distributed clusters, using highly efficient asynchronous logical replication, supporting anything from 2 to more than 48 nodes in a distributed database.

The team approached 2ndQuadrant, as authors of Postgres-BDR, late in 2015, initially seeking advice. Confident they had found the right solution – and confident they could implement Postgres-BDR using in-house skills – the team proceeded with a project to evaluate BDR.

After 6 months of evaluation, the team was impressed with Postgres-BDR but had reached the boundaries of their knowledge. They concluded that whilst problem solving was at the heart of what this highly competent technical team does, the logical next step was to bring in the experts.

With the previous engagement positive, and indirect support (whilst testing) coming from some of 2ndQuadrant’s experts – who contribute to various resources like community forums – 2ndQuadrant was the obvious choice to assist.

A lead 2ndQuadrant Consultant was invited to visit the Sydney studios to evaluate Animal Logic’s implementation of BDR – as a prerequisite to performing an architectural health check and ensuring supportability for a Gold Production Support contract to commence.

The consultant chosen for the project happened to be one of the lead developers of BDR, which allowed him to make highly informed suggestions and decisions, leaving a strong impact on the team.

We had a BDR-related production outage whilst the engineer was on site. He was able to step in to assist and not only resolve the problem but provide us with a solution that took 15-20 minutes. Had we gone with the fall-back approach of rebuilding the cluster, the outage for our Vancouver studio would been more like 15 hours!

Justen Marshall, Software Development Manager, Animal Logic

2ndQuadrant’s expert was able to boost the confidence in the team’s ability and also ensure that expertise was available when needed.

Following the consultancy work, the Animal Logic team was equally impressed with the architectural health check 2ndQuadrant performed; revealing some interesting issues that were quickly resolved and provided some very obvious performance improvements.

When we applied the suggested parameters we saw a massive productivity increase in server utilisation. This had a very real and positive impact on overall production productivity too Things that you get wrong might not hurt you but correcting it can make a big difference – that’s why you phone the experts.

Justen Marshall, Software Development Manager, Animal Logic

Animal Logic recently delivered work on The LEGO® Batman Movie, The Great Wall and The Master: A LEGO® Ninjago Short and is currently in production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant, The LEGO® Ninjago Movie, Peter Rabbit and The LEGO® Movie Sequel. With a strong slate of productions, Animal Logic continues to grow its global success. This will no doubt bring more attention and more business to this successful organization – and with more business comes more demands on the company and the technology infrastructure.

Now that Postgres-BDR has moved into a critical production environment, Animal Logic has secured one part of their business; opting for 2ndQuadrant’s , providing 24/7, 365 days-a-year access to the PostgreSQL experts.

The cost of downtime can be significant for any business and in the case of Animal Logic, they are not taking any chances.

Just like being able to phone a friend, it’s reassuring to know we can put a ticket into 2ndQuadrant at any time. Depending on where we are in the production cycle, one day of outage could cost us $0.5million. That simply can’t happen.

Justen Marshall, Software Development Manager, Animal Logic

2ndQuadrant Services Provided

  • On-site Consultancy
  • PostgreSQL Health Check
  • Gold Production Support

About 2ndQuadrant

2ndQuadrant provides PostgreSQL solutions for the Enterprise. Our support engineers have over 100 years of combined code contributions to the PostgreSQL project, making us the only company to contribute enterprise features to all of the last 13 releases.

This is paired with 17+ years of hands-on experience through client engagements and allows us to integrate customized solutions with our customers – making 2ndQuadrant the Gold Standard for PostgreSQL products & services.