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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pixar Releases Tractor 2.0


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+ Pixar Animation Studios today announced that Tractor 2.0, its next generation distributed processing software, will be released in the first week of September 2014. Tractor 2.0 significantly expands the successful Tractor 1.x render farm job queuing system, while also deepening the underlying platform to support new wrangling and management tools, as well as a forward-looking API and data features that address custom pipeline integration requirements and future product objectives. New features include major user interface enhancements, a streamlined installation process, powerful command line and scripting interfaces, and flexible resource-sharing controls for maximizing utilization. Tractor 2.0 is a robust solution in a compact architecture, specifically engineered for scalability and proven in production on a wide variety of rendering and non-rendering applications. 

Tractor 2.0 consists of three primary components: the Engine, the Blade, and the Dashboard. Tractor Engine maintains the central job queue and dispatches tasks. Tractor Blade is the command execution server that runs on each network compute node. Tractor Dashboard is a web app that lets artists see their jobs in progress and allows administrators to manage tasks, Blades, and the Engine itself. Additional query and control tools are available for command-line use, as well as an API for scripting. Tractor 2.0 uses proven open web standards that perform efficiently with typical operating systems and network infrastructure with little overhead or computational load. The system supports a variety of customizations, from job scripting to Python module extensions that allow administrators to easily define per-task environments on a show-by-show basis. Custom Dashboard menu items can be added to integrate Tractor controls into the studio pipeline. 
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