How Athera provides both control and security over your data in the cloud
Ready or not, moving to the cloud is an inevitable consideration for many future VFX pipelines. The well-established film giants may be taking the transition at a more cautious pace, but we’re already seeing scores of individuals and smaller creative teams in the industry carving out their own niche in the cloud and reaping the benefits in the process.
As the industry continues to pivot in this bold new direction, the need for enhanced security, speed, and scalability with cloud-based data storage remains vital to the success of tomorrow’s productions. While many of today’s cloud-based solutions are hard to secure and can be risky for large-scale film projects, Athera delivers a unique approach to cloud-based storage that’s both secure and affords complete control over your data at all times.
Here’s a closer look at how this dynamic cloud-based VFX platform goes above and beyond to give you the perfect balance of data security, speed, and control you need to excel.
A growing need for VFX cloud storage security
For a long time now, cloud-based storage has largely been used as an extension of your hard drive. If you’re a freelancer, for example, you’ve probably used a service like Dropbox or Google Drive to pass copies of files from your hard drive to another collaborator or client. The core files remain on your machine, and other users can have access to download a copy if you invite them to, but when a project is done you might still have copies of the project data out there in the nether on other machines. Without more direct control, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether or not those file copies are deleted or what could happen to them.
Assuming nothing goes horribly wrong, copies of your data lingering on other collaborators machines should remain safe — at least in-theory. That may work fine for less sensitive projects, but this lack of data storage control can be a security nightmare for VFX teams looking to keep their secret data secure while also tapping into the power and scalability of the cloud.
As more creatives in the VFX industry turn to distributed teams and cloud-based pipelines, there’s never been a greater need for data security — or at least the piece of mind that comes from knowing your sensitive project files for high-profile clients are safe.
Athera’s unique, effective approach to cloud storage
In an ideal world, project data would live in one place — a virtual locked box in the cloud, where only ephemeral cloud-connected things could access that data. Simply put: it’s risky to have people working on a given project pulling down copies of sensitive project files to different local machines where it can sit in an insecure environment and potentially be compromised. This is where Athera handles data access differently than other cloud-based VFX solutions.
Rather than talking to your desktop machine, Athera connects to your cloud storage and treats that data as the one true data source. When approved team members launch an Athera session and work on your project, it reads and writes the files in and out of that cloud storage directly, and individual collaborators never need to have a local copy on their desktop. Then, once that cloud storage is removed or disconnected, Athera forgets about it completely, so there’s no lingering file copies or security risks to worry about after the work is done.
Having better control over your data is the bottom line here, and Athera is designed to deliver maximum data security for cloud-based VFX pipelines.
Atlas maps the way to faster data access
Speed often remains one of the bigger challenges for VFX teams looking to collaborate long distance and work securely in the cloud. Many of the current storage solutions out there are designed to hold massive amounts of data, but they aren’t crafted with an eye towards delivering quick access.
Cloud data can be stored and accessed anywhere around the world, and speed can be more of an issue when the data you’re trying to access isn’t stored close to the location where you’re trying to retrieve it from. Fortunately, Athera’s built-in Atlas system provides an effective workaround to counteract this problem and deliver a significant boost to VFX workflows in the cloud.
Atlas works as a virtual file cache system that sits between your cloud storage and an Athera session. When an Athera session needs to access a file in your cloud storage, it’ll will first check to see if a fast high-speed cached copy of that file is available in Atlas. If that isn’t available, it’ll grab a copy from cloud storage and place it in a super fast and secure cache. This file is then available to anyone within the Org who has permission to access it- allowing multiple collaborators to access the same file across sessions without needing to pay the cost of re-caching it for each individual. While the initial access to fast cache a file can be slow, subsequent accesses are very fast once it’s placed in Atlas’ high-speed storage cluster. Unlike a local hard drive copy, these fast cached file in Atlas are encrypted, isolated for that one Athera project, and are ephemeral, so they go away after a certain period of time when not in use.
Athera gives you a lot of control over the Atlas cache itself, too. When it fills up it starts to flush out older files as new ones are brought in, though you can set the cache size to be as large as you need it to be. The cache can also be manually set to refresh, flush files, or (coming soon) have specific files set to be cached based on the needs of your project and particular work session. Atlas essentially makes your cloud storage extremely fast without having to have a local copy on a workstation, which is essential for maximum security when working on VFX projects in the cloud.
Staying ahead of the curve
When you’re looking for greater control and stronger security with your cloud-based VFX pipeline, Athera’s unique approach and scalability deliver the next-level speed and productivity you need to stay competitive in an ever-evolving industry.
As cloud adoption continues to grow among creatives in the VFX world, it’s important to consider what role this vital technology will play in your own professional routine. Whether you’re in a position to dive right in with a cloud-based VFX workflow right now or are building a battle plan to pivot and adapt to future cloud-driven technologies, there’s never been a better time to start the conversation and avoid the risk of falling behind in the years to come.
Curious about what Athera can do for your VFX workflows in the cloud? Request a free trial today!