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Datacraft’s data storage solution slashes 50% off CG film data throughput and rendering time for Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios

(EMAILWIRE.COM, August 20, 2008 ) Hong Kong - Imagi Studios, Asia’s leading company in computer-generated (CG) animated feature film production, has selected Datacraft to build a highly scaleable film production and data storage solution in order to manage the massive volumes of data required for the next generation of CG animated movies. The new business win reinforces Datacraft’s foothold in the media and communications industry, which is a key market focus.

Renowned for its expertise in the development and production of CG animation, Imagi Studios is bracing itself for an industry-wide storage explosion tied to the launch of new 3D technologies that is revolutionising film-making. Just as movie making is growing more complex, Imagi ‘s Studios needed a more sophisticated rendering solution to match its burgeoning creativity. Currently, Imagi Studios is working on several projects including Astro Boy for release next year and Gatchaman for release in 2010. Looking further into the future, the studio is expecting to have a new film for release every 9 to 12 months.

To address these challenging demands at a critical time, Datacraft was tasked with developing a storage system that could deliver linear performance scalability to handle the anticipated data explosion much more quickly than before. For Imagi’s solution, Datacraft selected specialist storage management software from Ibrix; the leader in scalable file serving solutions. Datacraft is now Ibrix’s sole partner in Asia; and subsequently has become the only IT partner in the region capable of implementing a storage system that can handle any type or size of data processing requirements.

“In CG animation production, additional 3-D renderings and constant adding of objects are always needed and each modification requires a vast amount of data,” said Yan Chen, Visual Effects Supervisor for Imagi. “Even the slightest hitch in the storage system can result in sub-optimal workflow.
As such, having a scalable and efficient data storage system is business critical and can also cut down our capital expenditure cost.”
“We selected Datacraft as our partner to handle this complex task because the company has a deep knowledge of storage systems and the capacity to ensure system scalability to meet current and future needs. It also provides the support services to keep our IT systems operating efficiently over the long term,” added Johnny Mak, Head of Technical Operations for Imagi.

The new storage solution has been designed and implemented by Datacraft at Imagi’s Hong Kong headquarters and features 24 Dell servers and two EMC Clariion CX3-80 storage devices equipped with 486 disks backed by Ibrix Fusion storage software. The new system allows an aggregate throughput of 4GB of ‘read-only’ data and 1GB of ‘writable’ data, easily surpassing competing suppliers that offered no more than 1GB ‘read-only’ and 300MB ‘writable’ data. This increase in I/O throughput means shorter overall rendering time and more room for creativity, whilst simplifying management and reducing the total cost of ownership.

“The Datacraft team focused very specifically on matching Imagi’s exacting specifications for linear scalability so that performance remains high as data volumes increase,” said Francis Pang, General Manager for Datacraft in Hong Kong. “To achieve this, the storage system was designed so that every component has spare capacity and operates within optimum specifications.”

“Our choice of Ibrix software and the effort by my team to establish sole distributorship in Asia for this leading technology is a testimony to Datacraft’s commitment to be a first class technology partner for Imagi. I am very proud of my team,” added Pang.

Following its first theatrical movie TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) released in 2007 which became number one opening at the US box office, Imagi Studios is now producing Astro Boy which is slated for worldwide theatrical release in 2009. To be distributed by Summit Entertainment worldwide (except in Imagi’s reserved territories of Japan, China and Hong Kong), Astro Boy will feature the voices of Academy Award®-winning actor Nicolas Cage, as well as Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and Eugene Levy, along with Freddie Highmore in the title role. David Bowers is directing Astro Boy from a screenplay written by Timothy Harris, with Maryann Garger producing.

Imagi’s contract with Datacraft includes a three year Uptime support and maintenance contract.

About Imagi
Imagi International Holdings Limited (“Imagi”) is a listed company (Stock Code 585) on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Imagi’s principal business is the development and production of computer graphics
(“CG”) animated theatrical feature films. Imagi’s first theatrical movie TMNT was released in March 2007, opening #1 in U.S. box office revenue, only the third time in history that an Asian-made film has achieved that honour. Imagi has development operations in Los Angeles, California, and CG production studios at its Chai Wan (Hong Kong) headquarters.

About Datacraft
Datacraft is the leading independent IT services and solutions company in Asia Pacific. The company helps clients plan, build, support and manage their IT infrastructures. Microsoft solutions, datacenter storage and contact centre technologies, with advanced skills in consulting, training and managed services, to craft IT solutions for businesses.

A member of the Dimension Data Group, Datacraft is listed on the main board of the Singapore Exchange. Headquartered in Singapore, Datacraft operates in more than 50 major offices and has over 1,450 employees across 13 Asia Pacific markets. More information can be found at www.datacraft-asia.com.

Issued on behalf of Datacraft Asia Ltd
By EBA Communications
For further information, please contact:
Emily Cheung (Datacraft): (852) 2513 3168
(Email: emily.cheung@datacraft-asia.com) Cora Yim (Imagi) : (852) 3102 0108
(Email: corayim@imagi.com.hk)
Mark Leeper / Barton Chui (EBA): (852) 2537 8022
(Email: mark.leeper@ebacomms.com / barton.chui@ebacomms.com)

Datacraft Asia Ltd
Emily Cheung
(852) 2513 3168

Source: EmailWire.com

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