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Taylor James

Pixel perfect - How hybrid cloud-based workflows kept Taylor James creative and competitive

Taylor James is a full-service, integrated production studio, from concept to completion, across every media channel. Based in London, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico and Buenos Aires, they specialize in translating creative ideas into
high-quality content through concept design, CGI, 2D and 3D animation, live-action, photography, VFX, and              post-production.

“In our 21-year history, we have always had an on-premises infrastructure and have enjoyed the convenience that affords. However, after years of considering the cloud, and with costs being more amenable, we took the leap to move our infrastructure fully remote in April of 2021. The global reach and work-life balance this has afforded our team, also the compute power and scalability of the solution along with the centralized storage access has been truly transformative.”

Endeavouring to remain at the forefront of technology, and as a logical reaction to remote working requirements and collaborative workflows, Daniel Marshall from Konsistent Consulting reached out to pixitmedia to radically overhaul Taylor James’ storage and file access infrastructure.

Daniel Marshall, Solutions Architect and consultant for Taylor James from Konsistent Consulting explains:

‘We’ve had success in the US migrating three studios into one virtual studio, so what we’re now doing in the UK is basically making a European hub.’

‘So, anyone from Germany, or working in Ireland, and in the UK, are collaborating together to create this European operation. As part of this transformation, pixitmedia and I have completely moved Taylor James on from an on-premise, hardware-based business to virtualizing it in the cloud.’

‘Now, we have two totally separate disparate sites, working on the same files, at the same time, seamlessly using pixitmedia’s technology.’

Realizing the vision

Over the past few years, Taylor James has had to scale up both operations and creative staff to meet the demands of their expanding client base across the globe. Moving to cloud-based synchronized digital workflows was uncharted territory for their Americas offices, although it had long been on their roadmap.

Taylor James’ Americas operation has three sites; New York, LA and a team in Mexico, with growth now happening in Buenos Aires. There were two potential options; an on-premise datacenter at all three of their offices in LA, New York and Mexico, or migrating all three to the cloud, consolidating all Taylor James’ existing data, including hundreds of terabytes of archived projects.

Having assessed Taylor James’ potential requirements, Marshall reached out to pixitmedia to figure out how best to transition Taylor James’ three sites seamlessly from on-premise to on-cloud. Thanks to our unrivalled workflow        know-how and recent experience establishing fast, scalable and high-performance storage solutions, we were able to transition Taylor James with zero hours lost.

Marshall conducted a data statistical analysis, which demonstrated that only 10% of their existing 200TB file system was accessed with any regularity (i.e. within the past 90 days). Housing and running a 200TB as a physical data center would be prohibitively expensive.

Marshall explains: ‘We then looked at the storage piece. On-premise, Taylor James had 200 terabytes of Isilon that was due for renewal and refresh, we didn’t want to provision 200 terabytes in the cloud.’

The requirement was a storage solution that delivered seamless performance, instead of simply storage size.

"It’s a credit to the teams that we were able to come together to form a strong partnership between pixitmedia, Daniel and Taylor James to get them fit for the future. Yet again, our wealth of knowledge and understanding of customers’ requirements and the capability of our products made all the difference."

pixitmedia’s AWS/ngenea combination taps into S3’s unlimited cloud-based storage capacity, with a very fast pixstor hot tier on the front. With ngenea in between, the back-and-forth file flow is transparent, robust and very fast.

Once the archive is ported over, ngenea can stub all the required files and the AWS Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class gives unprecedented levels of fast file access. This means clients have the oversight, and control, to handle only the folders and files they specifically need (whereas previously, gigabytes of files would have had to be requested, moved and stored, taking up unnecessary amounts of valuable time).

Instant access. Instant difference

‘We’ve been able to scale up in terms of render and capacity. Instead of shuffling data between different silos in different countries, we bring the artist in Mexico to the data. All artists now access the same environment; they are all working off the same file sets across time zones and physical locations.’ Says Marshall.

Taylor James now has a global view of their data, from any office, no matter what the storage tier. Remote file access now means artists can throw themselves into the parts of their jobs they genuinely love; bringing their creative ideas to life.

This new difference is reflected in the work. Artists can also work smarter, using time that would have previously been spent locating and downloading vast quantities of data, to work across more projects than ever before.

“The good thing is we don't have any vendor lock-in, so you can bring in other technologies to augment things as you need. You can do deliveries directly from s3, because you're just using the right building blocks to bring things together, as opposed to saying, you can only do things one way.”

With ngenea as the engine, a truly collaborative, multi-site workspace is possible.

The cloud-based workflow is good for their creative well-being and fantastic for Taylor James’ reputation, global scalability, output, and integrated future.