Qube ! is the ultimate render farm management system for film studios and game teams. Built on a client-server architecture, Qube! generates, prioritizes, dispatches and oversees render and build jobs. Key features include:
At the heart of Qube! is a multi-threaded Supervisor with the ability to manage thousands of jobs simultaneously. The multi-threaded architecture is highly-available, low-maintenance, and extremely stable. Adding more threads to the Supervisor not only improves performance, but makes Qube! scalable to virtually any size production.
Event-driven queuing is the patent-pending technology underlying the Qube! Supervisor. This event-driven architecture provides instantaneous response to job submission and dispatch to workers. In addition, the event-model supports the attachment of arbitrary callbacks via the Qube! API for unlimited customization options. Events can then trigger other events or external interactions with applications.
Custom job types
Qube! comes with a number of custom application pipelines, including Maya®, SOFTIMAGE®|XSI®, 3ds Max®, and Nuke™. Each pipeline contains a submission form for the Qubic GUI, a command line submission tool, a submission GUI integrated into the application itself, and a backend execution module specifically developed to interface directly with the application. The custom pipelines reduce the time for integrating internal production pipelines with Qube! by including ready-made interfaces and execution backends. Since these job types are mostly constructed as open architecture scripts, they can be further customized, on-site. The direct application interface enables the backend to best utilize Qube! features like the work agenda and to optimize performance by not reopening files any more than necessary.
Jobs can be assigned a numeric priority. Jobs with the higher priority will run ahead of jobs with lower priority, which minimizes production bottlenecks and ensures that the system handles the important jobs first.
Host clustering priority
Hosts can be grouped into hierarchies called "clusters." Jobs that are submitted to a particular level of the hierarchy will have higher priority than jobs submitted to a different level, thereby maximizing the efficiency of the farm while maintaining host allocations between departments or projects.
Jobs running at low priority can be preempted by jobs with higher priority. Depending upon configuration, jobs will be placed back into the queue for later dispatch immediately or when they finish the frame they were working on. This ensures that only the highest priority jobs are running. Additionally, this enables Qube! to quickly adjust when work priorities change.
Centralized worker configuration
The Supervisor controls the configuration of each worker via a single freeform configuration file that enables workers to be updated with a single administrative command. This saves time and effort and makes the modification of worker configuration much easier to maintain.
Calendar- and screen saver-based worker locking enables users to add desktop hosts to the farm when they are needed. Worker locking provides a mechanism by which those desktops can be added to the farm at a moments notice, or by a set schedule, or even when they're not in use.
Global resources keep track of arbitrary resources across entire systems. By configuring the system to monitor and allocate a global resource, jobs can be constrained without the loss of rendering due to application failure.
Customizable GUI application
The Qubic GUI interface is a powerful, customizable multi-purpose tool for users and administrators. It is used to monitor and control jobs, and (for administrators) to lock and unlock render farm hosts. Operating Qube! from a common GUI helps creative teams stay productive as users do not have to learn command line tools to use the system.
Each worker automatically pings the Supervisor at regular intervals in order to report status. The Supervisor uses this information to keep a list of "live" hosts to which it can send jobs. Administrators do not need to configure the Supervisor with explicit lists of hosts. The Supervisor can also report hosts as "down" when it misses a worker heartbeat. This makes it easier for administrators to keep up-to-the-minute tabs on the state of the farm.
Offline host reacquisition
The Supervisor will periodically update the state of all hosts automatically, and re-acquire hosts that have not checked in for some time. This saves time for busy administrators.
Individual users can be granted or denied the various Qube! capabilities, such as job manipulation. This important security feature prevents users from manipulating or even killing other users' jobs.
Windows drive mapping
Qube! analyzes the drive mappings at submit time, stores them with the job, and when the job executes, automatically creates the same mappings. This feature is useful to sites that establish different drive maps for each user. Files don't need to be copied to specific file systems available to the render farm - they can remain on the file system mapped to each user instead.