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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Doremi server on a virtual machine dilemma

   
Author Topic: Doremi server on a virtual machine dilemma
Polona Van Langen
Film Handler

Posts: 3
From: Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted 11-03-2017 03:53 AM      Profile for Polona Van Langen   Author's Homepage   Email Polona Van Langen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi,
I work a mostly for film festivals in the technical department dealing with quality check and logistics of the DCPs. I would like to share some thoughts on the workflow.

Due to slow ingest during playout on the Doremi server it's common practice at festivals to ingest the films on a raidset using a separate Doremi machine and then replace the raidset of the playout machine and have the DCP's ready to play. The extra Doremi's are usually rented for the time of the festival.

It's possible to install Doremi software on a virtual machine and it works. With some tweaking even the ingesting to a physical raidset goes well. The raidset can afterwards be put in the playout server and it works just like if it was done on a original Doremiserver.

I think it's interesting to test this kind of things out and it's fun when it works. But I have second thoughts about it when it's used commercially. For example if a company builds such machine and offers it to a major film festival as a cheap and quick replacement for real Doremi servers. The festivals are always interested in solutions which can bring down the costs ... but is such a solution legal?

I wonder if there are more people around the world experimenting with virtual machines and looking for new solutions ... and or whether Dolby/Doremi is aware of this possibility.

Also any thoughts about alternatives for handling films at festivals would be appreciated.

Kind regards,
Polona
www.greendcp.nl

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2610
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 11-03-2017 04:14 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Keep in mind that this creates a licensing issue. It might be interesting as a hobby project, but as soon as you're going to use this for commercial purposes, you're out there in the dark, without actual permission from Dolby/Doremi.

I think, in the future it should be possible to create playlists based on "externally" hosted content, like content on a network share (NFS or maybe even SMB). Ingesting a DCP would then be nothing more than scanning the metadata in the DCP and adding it to the content library.

This should also solve the problem of film festivals, where you can just preload a bunch of movies on a performant NAS and hook it onto your server or IMS.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3775
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 11-03-2017 09:29 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's interesting to hear that this works at all. I would have thought that the Doremi software would simply not start on non-genuine hardware.

Have you thought about using PlayWhileIngest instead for festival purposes? I know it's not the same as a RAID swap, and I know other festivals use the RAID swap approach as well.

I guess one would need to read the license terms for the Doremi servers. I never bothered looking at them, as I never saw much sense in using the software on anything else than an original Doremi machine. I don't think Dolby/Doremi allows this. Would be easier if Dolby finally enabled larger discs for their Doremi server line. Can't be so complicated. It's strange that all server manufacturers go the IMS way which means even more limited storage options. At least some support DirectPlay from ingest media. Playing from a NAS is a solution, but as long as that isn't a common feature for most server types, it seems you are stuck with the likes of the Christie IMS, and that wasn't Christies most lucky throw as far as reliability goes. And then manufacturers very often only allow their own IMS to be used in their projectors.

- Carsten

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2545
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 11-04-2017 07:53 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What about configure both server to work with the projector and just swap the network/SDI/AES connections every time they need to play? This way you would not need to shutdown, no RAID failure risk, no tinkering with VM's. One server ingests while the other one plays.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3775
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 11-04-2017 10:11 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess the idea with the VM is to get rid of the need/cost for a second Doremi.
And there's the reason why Dolby doesn't like the idea of running their software on a VM.
Also, with a second Doremi and switching not just the RAID, but the whole machine, one would also need two sets of KDMs for encrypted content. The idea of an ingest station is not so bad.

- Carsten

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2545
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 11-04-2017 12:05 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
if it's an IMB then there is no need for the second KDM - but I guess you need to reboot everything every time as PCIex cannot be hotplugged.
Indeed you need two sets of KDMs (well, you need the correct KDM for each clip) but I wouldn't like the idea of swapping physical HDD's every time. If you lose the HDD's you lose everything while two connected servers sound like a safer solution to me.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3775
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 11-04-2017 03:02 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With the Doremi drive carriers, no big deal.

- Carsten

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Polona Van Langen
Film Handler

Posts: 3
From: Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted 11-05-2017 06:28 AM      Profile for Polona Van Langen   Author's Homepage   Email Polona Van Langen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi,

There is for example a gala location for premieres where there is a spare server and spare projector, but at big festivals it's impossible to have a spare doremi at each room.

The raid swap is necessary when you have 25+ screening locations. Most of them are running their own shows until the day when the festival starts so the storage is full of their films. Other locations are built just for the festival period. That makes the screening rooms pretty much unavailable during the preparation weeks before the festival.

Therefore the raidsets with festival films are prepared at one central location by using rented Doremi servers (those are later installed at the locations built specially for the festival).
On the raidsets the films for the first few days are ingested, the rest is done later via network or with cru drives for external locations.

The Doremi will instal on a VM or with a bit of luck even on an old PC tower that you wanted to throw away. With the new software version there is a chance of adding USB3 or a faster ethernet card.

This are hobby experiments and due to licence and legal rights issues not suitable for professional use at festivals.

Would there be a chance to get a legal Dolby/Doremi software licence one can install on a non server computer or VM for ingesting purposes?

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3775
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 11-05-2017 10:59 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In fact you are lucky that all/most screening locations are equipped with the same server supporting the drive carriers. Many festivals use a wild mix of servers.

You may of course ask Dolby for a license - but I assume it's more likely that they donate a server for the festival than they allow the use of their software on VMs or other hardware.

- Carsten

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2610
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 11-07-2017 02:38 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I also highly doubt Dolby would provide such a license, it could create some precedences they're most likely not entirely comfortable with.

I guess Doremi/Dolby never envisioned their software being used outside of the context of their servers. The use is also pretty limited, so I guess that's why they never really bothered to do some thorough hardware checks. For us it's good to know the Linux kernel is a pretty standard kernel that also boots in VM Ware. It only enlarges the pool of possible spare parts like motherboards.

I've seen some festivals exclusively relying on live-play features for certain locations. The biggest downside is obviously the lack of automation, then again, it's often not such a big deal to have someone present on the location to push the right buttons.

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