If you’re new to AWS Portal we recommend starting here. If you’re new to Deadline we recommend starting here.

AWS Portal Component Overview

AWS Portal has several components which must be set up and configured before using the service. This section will provide a brief overview of each of these.

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Asset Server

The AWS Portal Asset Server (or simply Asset Server) solves the problem of transferring asset files between your local file server and AWS. It is a piece of server software that must be run on your local network. When an asset file on your file server is needed by a slave running in AWS, the Asset Server will upload that file to a cache in AWS so slaves running in AWS can then easily download it. When a slave in AWS saves an output file, the slave will upload it to the cache, and the Asset Server will download the output file to your local file server. This process happens automatically once you’ve installed the required software, so you will not need to transfer files to and from AWS manually.

Remote Connection Server (RCS)

The Deadline Remote Connection Server allows components of the Deadline Client (Monitor, Slave, etc.) to communicate with a Deadline repository that is not directly accessible by the machine running the client. This is required for components of AWS Portal that run in AWS to access the Deadline Repository on your network. The RCS is installed as part of the Deadline Client. The RCS does not start automatically by default, so it needs to be started before you can use AWS Portal.

More information about the Deadline Remote Connection Server can be found here.

Usage Based Licensing

Thinkbox has established a third-party licensing model with our partners that permits our customers to use their rendering software in AWS. The third-party licensing model is based on usage time. You can use the Thinkbox Marketplace to purchase hourly credits for the various rendering software you use. The first time you purchase credits, a Cloud Licensing server will be created for you which you can connect to Deadline. Once properly configured in Deadline, AWS Portal Slaves can use these licensing credits instead of traditional floating licenses.

Bring Your Own License

You may already have all the licenses you need for the software you’d like to use. If this is the case, AWS Portal has a feature called Bring Your Own License (BYOL) which allows you to use your existing floating licenses from your existing license servers. AWS Portal also supports a dynamic licensing model which allows you to use some of your own licenses through BYOL and some usage based licenses as well.

Infrastructures

An Infrastructure is a set of components that must be launched in AWS through Deadline before any Slave instances can be started. An EC2 instance called a Gateway is the most significant part of the infrastructure. The Gateway supports the Slave instances by receiving and forwarding all communication between the Slave instances and on-premises components of AWS Portal like the Deadline Repository and the Asset Server. The Gateway also keeps track of which Asset Files have already been cached in AWS.

Warning

You will be billed for the time you leave your infrastructure running, even when you are not rendering. If you are not rendering with AWS Portal constantly, you should consider stopping your infrastructure while you are not using it.

Spot Fleets

EC2 Spot is a cheaper way for users to buy compute time in AWS. Users can buy unused AWS compute capacity at a fraction of the cost you would otherwise be paying. One stipulation is that the unused capacity that you are using may later be claimed by other AWS users launching on-demand EC2 instances, and you will be booted off. While this can happen, it’s unlikely.

AWS Portal uses EC2 Spot for all render nodes to take advantage of the work that has been done in Deadline to resume interrupted jobs and renders. When you want to render, you can create a Spot Fleet, which is a request for a specific number of spot instances of a given type, as well as the maximum price you would be willing to pay for an hour of time, per-instance. Once you’ve started an infrastructure, you can easily create spot fleets from within the Deadline Monitor.

More information on EC2 Spot can be found here.

Warning

You will be billed for spot fleets that you leave running, even if the Deadline Slaves running on them are not rendering.

Next: AWS Portal Setup Checklist >>