CES 2013: Computer Maker Xi3 Touts Revamped Microserv3r

The server is designed to be low-power, low-heat and extremely compact and can be used even in remote shooting locations.

Compact computer and other hardware maker Xi3 showed a prototype of an upcoming revamp of its Microserv3r product at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The server is designed to be low-power, low-heat and extremely compact. It can be placed in a conventional server rack, but the company also offers a Mobile Data Center, purpose-built for housing up to 224 of its servers in a compact cube configuration.

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"What do you do if you're [Peter Jackson's] WETA?" asked David Politis, Xi3's chief marketing officer. "You're out in the middle of nowhere shooting a CG-heavy movie. Do you really want to move the dailies back and forth to wherever you have your render farm?"

The Mobile Data Center can be airlifted by helicopter, put on wheels and set up on sand, ice, grass or any other place movies are being shot.

The concept is reminiscent of Google's shipping container-housed data centers, something the company was awarded a patent for in 2008.

Politis said that having a render farm on-site when shooting on location could significantly reduce production time for CG-heavy productions. "The more 3D and CG become part of the entertainment world, the more important this product category becomes," he added.

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Politis emphasized the customizable nature of the Mobile Data Center, saying the container could be as easily set up as a Storage Area Network (SAN).

"You can set them up heterogeneously in a single box, or bring two mobile units -- one for storage, one for processing," he said.