Render farm automation

I’m happy to say I just discovered Loki Render and successfully created a render farm of 130 cores at my school. Most of the machines are dual core 2.4 ghz, with 2gb of RAM, Windows XP.

The only problem: I had to log onto every computer manually and start the program. This didn’t take too long with a few people helping out, but it’s not ideal. So what’s the best way to automate the process?

I can launch a computer in grunt mode without a GUI with this command:

java -jar G:\MyPortfolio\Loki\lokiRender_062\lokiRender_062\lokiRender_062.jar G:\MyPortfolio\246\Blender\blender.exe

But the computers must be logged on to my account. I have discovered psexec, and it looks like it might help, but I don’t really know what I’m doing with Wwindows. Any ideas?

Anyone? It takes 45 minutes just to set this thing up. (Not that I’m complaining about having a render farm!)

Put your command in a batch file, may loki.bat and put this file in autostart folder of allusers. Your folder MyPortfolio must be read/writeable by all users of your network.

You have a look to batch programming on windows, because your command syntax should not work in a batch file.
More like:
cd g:\MyPortfolio…lokiRender
java -jar lokiRender_062.jar G:\MyPortfolio\246\Blender\blender.exe

Or something like this.
I try with psexec by myself to start lokirender as system service but i cant get to work.
Or try to connect the guys from lokirender, may you get help there.

Cheers mib

Good idea, thanks. I don’t have the admin password, but if I can get it I’ll try this out.

I actually did that at my school to, but with luxrender. I had a bat file to

  1. copy all neccesary files to computer
  2. add an autostart shortcut for all users
  3. start the service

I just put this on my flashdrive, had an autorun.inf file, and i just went around, plugged in, pressed enter, and moved on.

Hmm… could you elaborate on step 2?

just a shortcut in the C:\Documents and Users\startup\all users directory (not 100% on dir location)

Hi blenditall,
Don’t know if you’ve resolved this, but…
My understanding is that for Windows you have to run the process as a Windows service if you want it running without a login, so I don’t think the above suggestions for placing a bat file in startup folders will help if the computers aren’t logged in. Windows services are different then applications started in user space, in that they’re all started on Windows startup, independent of logins so that they’re always available; they’re not associated with a particular user.

I did a quick google on the string “windows how jar service” and it looks like it came up with some promising leads for you. Basically it looks like you need to use a program to ‘register’ loki render as a Windows service, then you can just tell Windows to automatically start up the loki service like you would any other service. I didn’t look into it more, but it seems fairly straightforward.

Let me know how it goes, or if you need more help with it. I’m in another project right now, but I’ll be happy to help as time allows. If all goes well we can add a quick howto on the loki website:)


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