Thinkbox Deadline 9 Support and Maintenance

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Scalable High-Volume Compute Management System

Deadline is a hassle-free administration and compute management toolkit for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX based render farms. It offers a world of flexibility and a wide-range of management options for render farms and compute clusters of all sizes, and supports over 70 different content creation applications out of the box.

Version 9 Features

  • 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

    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.

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System Requirements

Deadline® uses MongoDB for the Database, and requires MongoDB 2.6.1 or later. The Repository installer can install the MongoDB database for you, or you can use an existing MongoDB installation providing that it is running MongoDB 2.6.1 or later.

The following operating systems are supported for the Database:

  • Windows Server 2003 and later (64-bit)
  • Linux (64-bit)
  • Mac OS X 10.7 and later (64-bit)

These are the minimum recommended hardware requirements for a production Database:

  • 64-bit Architecture
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 Cores
  • RAID or SSD disks
  • 20GB disk space

Note that MongoDB performs best if all the data fits into RAM, and it has fast disk write speeds. In addition, larger farms may have to scale up on RAM and Cores as necessary, or even look at Sharding their database. Finally, while you can install MongoDB to a 32-bit system for testing, it has limitations and is not recommended for production. For example, the database size will be limited to 2 gigabytes, and Journaling will be disabled. Without Journaling, it will not be possible to repair the database if a crash corrupts the data. See the MongoDB FAQ for more information.

If you choose a non-Server Windows Operating System (Vista, 7, or 8) to host the database, you should be aware that these operating systems have a TCP/IP connection limitation of 10 new connections per second. If your render farm consists of more than 10 machines, it is very likely that you'll hit this limitation every now and then (and the odds continue to increase as the number of machines increase). This is a limitation of the operating systems, and isn't something that Thinkbox can workaround, so they recommend using a Server edition of Windows, or a different operating system like Linux.

If you choose a Linux system to host the database, you will need to make sure the system resource limits are configured properly to avoid connection issues. More details can be found in the Database and Repository Installation Guide.

Other Linux recommendations include:

  • Do not run MongoDB on systems with Non-Uniform Access Memory (NUMA). It can cause a number of operational problems, including slow performance or high system process usage.
  • Install on a system with a minimum Linux kernel version of 2.6.36.
  • Install on a system with Ext4 or XFS file systems.
  • Turn off atime or relatime for the storage volume containing the database files, as it can impact performance.
  • Do not use hugepages virtual memory pages as MongoDB performs better with normal virtual memory pages.

Mac OS X
If you choose a Mac OS X system to host the database, you will need to make sure the system resource limits are configured properly to avoid connection issues. More details can be found in the Database and Repository Installation Guide.

More Info

For complete Deadline system requirements, includes those of the Repository, Client, and License Server, and for the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Deadline System Requirements page.

Hassle Free Returns

At Motion Media, our goal is to ensure your complete satisfaction with your purchase. If, for whatever reason, you are dissatisfied with your purchase, you may return it to Motion Media within 30 days. Claims for missing items or items damaged in transit must be received within three business days of receipt of merchandise.

Refunds on returned items will be issued in the same payment form as tendered at the time of purchase. If payment was made by credit card, once we receive the product we will credit your account. Please allow 7-10 days for a credit to appear on your credit card statement. If payment was made by check, please allow 10 business days for a refund check to be issued.

Please read all conditions below. If conditions are not met, Motion Media reserves the right to refuse the return or to charge a restocking fee of up to 25%.

How to return or exchange an item:

  • In order to return an item you need to first obtain an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) number.
  • To request an RMA number, please visit our contact page and send us an email with the request.
  • To request an RMA number by phone, call Customer Service at 310-450-4000.
  • Place the original package into a shipping carton.
  • Include the invoice and the reason for the return. If defective, please specify the defect.
  • Please do not place stickers or shipping labels on the original manufacturer's package.
  • The RMA number must be clearly written on the outer box. If you received a label in the email, print the label and tape it to the carton.
  • Ship via insured ground service with a tracking number. Return shipping charges are the responsibility of the customer. We are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
  • Send pre-authorized returns to:

    Motion Media, LLC
    Attn: RMA#XXXXX
    709 N. Douglas St.
    El Segundo, CA 90245

  • Alternatively, you may return an item at our office at the above location, with an approved RMA.


  • All returned or exchanged items must be in new condition, in the original box, and must include all packing material, blank warranty cards, manuals, and all accessories.
  • Motion Media is not responsible for personal data or items left in returned merchandise.
  • Defective items may be repaired or exchanged at our discretion for the same model or manufacturer's equivalent model.
  • RMA numbers are valid for 10 days.
  • Motion Media is not responsible for any consequential or incidental damage resulting from the sale or use of any merchandise bought from us. We are responsible for the monetary value of the merchandise only.

No Return/Exchange On:

  • Any Electronically Delivered Software*
  • 3D Printers & Accessories
  • Custom systems built or modified by Motion Media to customer's specifications
  • Educational dvd's and books once unwrapped
  • Motion Media Gift Cards are redeemable for merchandise only and may not be redeemed for cash.

*We offer 30 day returns on Autodesk licenses, excluding monthly terms.