Animal Logic is one of the world’s most accomplished digital studios producing and developing ground breaking animation, visual effects and design. The studios are based in Sydney with its film development arm onsite at Warner Brothers Studios in Los Angeles. Established in 1991, the company has worked on some of the most recognisable films of the past quarter-century, including The Matrix, Moulin Rouge!, Happy Feet, 300, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Walking with Dinosaurs The Movie and The LEGO® Movie. Animal Logic is currently in production on Unbroken due for release in 2014.
Business and context
Animal Logic’s workforce fluctuates from 200 to 600 users at a time depending on the number and size of the projects underway. The company runs a Local Area Network (LAN) at its Sydney and Los Angeles sites.
Due to the nature of Animal Logic’s business, users produce and send commercially sensitive, very high bandwidth and high quality audio, animation and visual effects content. The network was therefore designed to scale up and down as needed.
Eugene Purugganan, Systems Engineer, Animal Logic, says, “If we are working on a film then each image file can reach up to 30MB and if we’re working in 3D you would have two image files per frame, one for the left eye and right eye. These files need to flow back and forth through the network and there could be hundreds each day, depending on the current workload. So reliability and scalability are absolutely essential.
Animal Logic began experiencing internet availability issues and reduced security as a result of inadequate firewalls and increasing user demand for bandwidth.
Eugene says, “The rise of Web 2.0 meant applications and other web-based information were coming through the standard firewalls undetected. Our previous firewall needed to be upgraded because it didn’t show IT staff what type of data was going through the firewall. A basic AV check doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to preventing threats. Meanwhile users were going around the firewall to get things through, by using proxies and tunnelling applications or services that ran over the standard port 80 or 443.
“The result was that our internet connection was maxing out because it was clogged with activity we could not identify as being work-related or not. It was affecting the company’s ability to get work done and was causing extra work for the IT staff as we tried to discover what was happening on the network.
“We needed to take measures to get the bandwidth back to delivering what we needed.”
Animal Logic considered various firewall solutions before selecting Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall.
The company chose Palo Alto Networks because its next-generation firewall can identify a lot of traffic that traverses the network and its ‘User ID™’ and ‘App ID™’ functionality lets the IT staff control access to applications and services to users who are authorised to do so.
Eugene says, “We considered buying three separate products from another vendor to do the same thing but that still wouldn’t have been as effective as the single solution from Palo Alto Networks.
“When you buy a firewall you expect it to have all the features that you want. Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls have all of these features and are superior to traditional firewalls.”
Since implementing Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall, Animal Logic has been able to manage its network and security much more effectively, resulting in a more stable user experience.
Eugene says, “The old firewall was missing a lot of the functionality we needed and Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall has delivered that functionality. Now we have the ability to allow or deny the type of traffic we want, as well as detect and stop threats in real time.
“We have also used the Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall to better manage excessive audio and video streaming, since that was consuming a lot of bandwidth and was not always required for work purposes.”