The True Cost of Cloud Computing for the Studio

thunderCloudNightCloud computing is far more expensive than buying your own in-house equipment, and analysis shows studios recover the cost of purchasing dedicated equipment in a matter of only a few days or weeks.
Cloud computing has been one of the most anticipated, yet most misunderstood techniologies in the film and TV production market.   Lightbeam worked with one of the largest film studios to design a cost analysis, and we made some discoveries that even surprised us.
At first, the pitch sounds very attractive from cloud rendering providers; Anywhere from approximately 50 Cents to $1.00 per hour per core, depending on how large of a package you purchase. 
If you purchase the same number of cores(from a cloud rendering provider) per hour that equalled a higher-end Lightbeam quad-node product, the costs of purchasing the same number of cores through a cloud rendering service would easily exceed the costs of purchasing our products in a matter of days.  You would completely have covered the cost of buying an in-house solution in a matter of only 9 to 32 days!!
The math works like this:  Take the cost of the number of cores with our higher-end our E5 rendering product and calculate the cost per hour for a cloud based solution to match the core count.  Our higher-end E5-6450R Quad Render Nodes have in total 64 physical cores, and 128 logical cores, say for this example with 2-4 GB per core (depending of you are using hyperthreading). If you took the price of the cheapest hourly cost per core of (say) fifty cents per hour, your cost would be $32.00-$64.00/hour.  If you ran hyperthreading (which most cloud rendering services count as a pay-for core), it would cost $64.00-$128.00/hour.
If you used our dedicated render product, you could recover the cost of purchasing (for example) a Lightbeam E5-6450R Quad-Node solution in anywhere between 9 and 32 days.  Even if you ran it at 75% capacity, our system would pay for itself in only 12 to 40 days.
Cloud rendering can only do some of the processes that a dedicated rendering solution can do.  Many types of render passes simply cannot be done in the cloud environment.  Also, bandwith and time to upload and download large textures makes a dedicated rendering solution simply the best option.
Think about that; you can own a piece of equipment that only takes a few days to pay for itself that will give you years of service.  I wonder what the cloud computing companies would say if you offered them use of your cores for say, fifty cents an hour per core, do you think they would do it? :)
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