Render Farm Build 3

DISCLAIMER: This is a continuing series detailing the painful story of a DIY render farm build.  It is terribly technics and
somewhat frustrating.  Those who are unprepared for such “entertainment” are advised to ignore these posts.

While the GTK2 build was happening, I decided to turn my attention to the first worker unit. That first machine I christened “Gog” for reasons I’m not even quite sure (although a perverse familiarity with the crazier portions of the Bible probably had something to do with it.  Orange County is full of religious people, so it’s never far from my mind that naming things “Lucifer” or “Baal” is a way to needle them should they ever discover what I’ve done.)

The slave machine has two drives – a system drive that I removed and a blank “storage” drive.  This particular Mac model is maximized at system 10.7, which means that is the last operating system that is supported on the machine.  So I put a fresh new install of that system on the blank drive.  Then, I pared the OS down to about 6 GB. Basically, I took all the extraneous garbage that I will never use (mail client etc.) and threw it out.  Then I turned my attention to the GTK2 build on the PDC.


It’s not clear why, but GTK2 has failed again.  I’ve tried to compile it a few times, and something always goes wrong.  But this is OK, because it’s about this time I realize that I cannot use my office iMac as a PDC anyway. The office iMac must be on the University network in order for me to use it as an office computer.  But if it is used as a PDC, then it must connect to the render farm, which means I have to operate the farm on the University network as well.  And that probably will never happen. Our IT department is, for some odd reason, veryveryvery concerned about additional machines sharing the network. Thus, there is only one ethernet drop in my office, and only one machine may be on it.

Once I put an ethernet switch on that wall drop in order to run an external ethernet printer. The IT department shut my whole office down until I could contact them so that they could scold me in person. So this is apparently verboten.

That’s okay, I will solve this by establishing a local network that the render farm will use for itself, and I will also not worry overly about security. If that local network is not connected to anything on the outside, then there should not be a problem. In the event that I need to control the render farm remotely, I am quite certain that there are robust ways to involve only the PDC and not the work units.

Thus, I must use another machine for a PDC.  I wish I had figured this out before spending as many hours as I have so far, but that’s OK.  I’ve now learned how to do it better, right?

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