I use Apple’s Xgrid at home to render stuff between my PowerMac and old iMac, and (before it crapped out) my iBook as well. At work we use it for a couple applications as well, but we also have several shiny G5 Powermacs and Xserve units with OS 10.4-Server on them.
Distributed computing and renderfarms have been a hobby since college days when I used to help the architecture students with their 3D Studio and Lightwave projects in the computer labs…(you can do a lot with 100 PC’s between the hours of 1AM and 6AM) . Enough about me though.
I want to know if there would be enough interest from Blender users out there to create a community based network system based around the Xgrid technology?
Why Xgrid and not Boinic? Personally I have nothing against Boinic or the BURP project, the more power to them, but Apple has neatly intergrated Xgrid into OS 10.4 and those with OS 10.3 can download the software to connect.
That is great news for those of us who have macs, but what about everyone else? Well, like many other core OSX technologies, Xgrid is based on an open protocol and it is possible to get FreeBSD (and I am assuming Linux as well) boxes to connect and be used as agents. There is also now a JAVA based API at sourceforge that should allow any platform that can run Blender to connect to an Xgrid. Also, I wrote a simple PERL script for work that allowed jobs to be submitted via a web-based form to the Grid so that the few non mac machines could submit jobs. I am not sure if I would want to use that off the bat, since it was developed in 15 minutes for internal use. Security was…not even addressed.
So what is needed? Technically, any Mac with OS 10.3+ with Xgrid installed can be used as a controller. However, from experience, Xgrid Admin coupled with OS 10.4 server offers a lot more options and does make the task of administrating projects far easier.
A Mac with OS 10.4 Server with unlimited clients and lots of bandwidth.
Now my pipedream would be to raise enough money around a project to create a self-sustaining system. You can read more on that at my website: http://macminigrid.astahost.com
Thought/comments/suggestions/and even complaints welcome.