Pixar Animation Studios plans to release Tractor 2.0, its next-gen distributed processing software, early this month.
Version 2.0 expands the Tractor renderfarm job queuing system while 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 comprises three primary components: Engine, Blade and Dashboard. Tractor Engine maintains central job queue and dispatches tasks. Blade is the command execution server that runs on each network computer node. 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 open Web standards to perform efficiently with typical operating systems and network infrastructure with little computational load. The system supports a variety of customizations, and custom Dashboard menu items can be added to integrate Tractor controls into the studio pipeline.
The Engine is compatible with 64-bit Mac OS X and Linux. Blade is also compatible with Windows 7 and 8. Dashboard works with popular HTML4-compliant Web browsers. The license model pricing is $100 for each concurrent task, $20 for annual maintenance. A Tractor Starter Motor package of an initial 25 licenses, including first year maintenance, will be available for $495.