Deadline 9.0 is the latest version of Thinkbox Software’s scalable high-volume compute management solution, and introduces new features to strengthen the security of your Deadline render farm. The Deadline Repository installer installs an SSL-enabled version of the MongoDB database, and configures Deadline by default to connect to the database using SSL certificates that can be optionally password protected. In addition, new installation and configuration options have been added to better support distributed deployments.
Improvements have also been made to Deadline’s Remote Command system. Remote Commands are encrypted, and validation checks confirm that the commands originated from the sender, and that the sender is connected to the same Repository. Remote Command redirection is also supported via Deadline Pulse, allowing Remote Commands to be securely sent across different subnets.
A common interface is now included in all submitters for Draft - Deadline’s plug-in for automating deliverables - and for project management applications including Autodesk Shotgun, ftrack and NIM. In addition, support has been added for additional applications and renderers, including Innobright's Altus, Cinebench, Clarisse’s CNode, Composite 2017, Corona 1.4 and 1.5, Episode, KeyShot, Media Encoder 2017, Microstation CONNECT, Redshift for Houdini, Redshift Standalone, Silhouette, SketchUp 2017, V-Ray’s vdenoise, and VRED 2017.1 and 2017.2. V-Ray DBR support has been included for modo and Rhino 5, the 3dsCmd plugin now supports Dynamic V-Ray DBR offloading, and a V-Ray standalone submitter has been added for The Foundry’s NUKE. Jigsaw rendering for Redshift for Maya and Tile rendering for Cinema 4D and VRED are now included in addition to Redshift exporting from Maya, and Renderman exporting from Houdini.
Note that if you’re using traditional floating licenses, a new 9.0 license is required to run this version. However, if you’re using Usage Based Licensing, your existing render time will still be compatible. In addition, the version of Draft that ships with Deadline 9.0 has been upgraded to 1.6, which will require a new license as well. Please contact our Sales department to request updated floating licenses for Deadline and Draft.
These are the highlighted features in Deadline 9.0. See the Deadline 9.0 User Manual for the complete release notes.
SSL-Enabled MongoDB Database
When choosing the option to install a new MongoDB database during the Deadline Repository installation, the installer now downloads and installs an SSL-enabled version of MongoDB. By default, the installer will configure MongoDB to require an SSL certificate to authenticate, and will save out a client certificate that can then be used by the Deadline Client installations to connect. The client certificate can optionally be protected by a password if desired.
When installing the Deadline Client, or when connecting to a Repository that requires SSL certificates to authenticate, simply specify the path to the client certificate that was saved out by the Repository installer, and then specify the password if required.
If security isn’t a concern, it’s still possible to install the MongoDB database without authentication enabled. This allows the Deadline installations to connect to the database like they did in previous versions of Deadline.
New Installation and Configuration Options
New environment options have been added to re-path some of Deadline’s system paths that were previously hard-coded. This includes the location of Logs, System Configuration files, User Configuration files, and the location checked for Custom scripts and plugins. In order to facilitate the consistent setting of these environment variables, the shell scripts responsible for launching the Deadline Client applications on Linux and Mac will now source properly-named *.config files within the bin directory.
The idea behind these new features is to provide more flexibility to clients who wish to have more control of where Deadline stores and looks for its various file-based dependencies. A good example of this would be a centralized installation setup on Linux, in which individual blades do not have a large dedicated hard-drive for persistent storage.
Other smaller additions were made to accommodate this kind of setup, including the “Binaries Only” and “No Binaries” modes that were added to the Deadline Client installer.
Remote Command Improvements
Remote Commands sent between Deadline applications are now encrypted. In addition, validation checks have been added to ensure the commands originated from the sender, and that the sender is connected to the same Repository. This ensures that commands aren’t sent from unauthorized sources.
In addition, an option has been added to send Remote Commands to remote machines indirectly, through Deadline Pulse. The idea behind this new feature is to provide clients who have completely separate subnets for user machines and farm machines a mechanism to provide limited control of those machines to their users. This functions by first sending the commands to Pulse, which should be set up on a machine that can view/access both subnets, which will then forward the command onto the intended recipient.
Finally, improvements have been made to the shutdown/restart machine remote commands, and a new dedicated ‘Check for Upgrade’ command has been added.
Improved Find Options in the User Interface
The “Find” dialog that is utilized in a large number of our text-focused UI panels has been updated to incorporate several features that are typically expected of a modern search interface. This includes toggles for using Regular Expressions, Case-Sensitive, and Whole-Word searching. There are also options to search in the current selection only, and to have the search wrap around the searched text.
As a further attempt to provide a more standard search experience, the Find interface is docked to the text panel when possible. In addition, all search matches are now highlighted, and a count of total matches is now provided (along with the position of the currently selected match).
New Unified Pipeline Tools Interface for Submission Scripts
All submitters now include a common “Pipeline Tools” interface for post processing and project management. All common options have been moved into this interface, and it has been added to many more of our submitters. This new interface includes our Draft post processing tool, as well as project management support for Shotgun, FTrack, and NIM.
Draft support has also been improved. Using “Quick Draft”, the front-end for Draft, you can now specify color space transformation and add annotation text, such as frame number or title directly to your Draft output. Many user experience improvements have also been made to our project management support.
AWS Spot Fleet Support
A new Amazon Spot event plugin is included in this release. It allows you to take advantage of cheaper AWS Spot Fleet instances by automatically scaling the Fleet size based on the jobs in the Deadline render queue, with the trade off that those instances can be terminated at any time. This was implemented as an event plugin because the Deadline Balancer system isn’t currently compatible with the way Spot Fleets operate, and the configuration of this plugin is done via the Event Plugin configuration, and not the Cloud Plugin configuration. As a result, the Spot Fleet instances will not appear in the Cloud panel in the Deadline Monitor.
New Application Support
Support has been added for Altus, Cinebench, Clarisse’s CNode, Composite 2017, Corona 1.4 and 1.5, Episode, KeyShot, Media Encoder 2017, Microstation CONNECT, Redshift for Houdini, Redshift Standalone, Silhouette, SketchUp 2017, and V-Ray’s vdenoise. Draft has also been upgraded to 22.214.171.124.
Many improvements have also been made for V-Ray Distributed Bucket Rendering (DBR), including V-Ray DBR support for modo and Rhino 5. The 3dsCmd plugin now supports Dynamic V-Ray DBR offloading, and a V-Ray standalone submitter has been added for Nuke.
Finally, other key improvements include Path Mapping of 3ds Max scene file contents, Jigsaw rendering for Redshift for Maya, local asset caching for Maya, Tile rendering for Cinema 4D, Tile Rendering for VRED, Redshift exporting from Maya, and Renderman exporting from Houdini. A new Amazon Spot event plugin has also been added that scales the number of instances in a Spot Fleet based on the jobs in the farm.