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Shared Storage

Flamenco needs some form of shared storage: a place for files to be stored that can be accessed by all the computers in the farm.

Basically there are three approaches to this:

Approach Simple Efficient Render jobs are isolated
Work directly on the shared storage
Create a copy for each render job
Shaman Storage System

Each is explained below.

On Windows, Flamenco only supports drive letters to indicate locations. Flamenco does not support UNC notation like \\SERVER\share. Mount the network share to a drive letter. The examples below use S: for this.

Work Directly on the Shared Storage

Working directly in the shared storage is the simplest way to work with Flamenco. You can enable this mode by pointing Flamenco at the location of your blend files.

As an example, if S:\WorkArea is where your blend files live (or in a subdirectory thereof), you can update your flamenco-manager.yaml like this:

shared_storage_path: S:\WorkArea
  enabled: false

When you submit a file from the shared storage, say S:\WorkArea\project\scene\shot\anim.blend, Flamenco will detect this and assume the Workers can reach the file there. No copy will be made.

Creating a Copy for Each Render Job

The “work on shared storage” approach has the downside that render jobs are not fully separated from each other. For example, when you change a texture while a render job is running, the subsequently rendered frames will be using that altered texture. If this is an issue for you, and you cannot use the Shaman Storage System, the approach described in this section is for you.

As an example, if C:\WorkArea is where you work on your blend files, and S:\Flamenco is the shared storage for Flamenco, you will automatically use this approach. You can update your flamenco-manager.yaml like this:

shared_storage_path: S:\Flamenco
  enabled: false

As you can see, you do not have to tell Flamenco about C:\WorkArea, it’ll automatically detect which storage approach to use from the path of the blend file you’re submitting.

Shaman Storage System

This requires a bit more to explain. See Shaman Storage System.

Cloud Storage Services

Sharing files using Syncthing, OwnCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive, etc. is not supported by Flamenco.

Flamenco assumes that once a file has been written by one worker, it is immediately available to any other worker, like what you’d get with a NAS. Similarly, it assumes that when a job has been submitted, it can be worked on immediately.

Such assumptions no longer hold true when using an asynchronous service like SyncThing, Dropbox, etc.

Note that this is not just about the initally submitted files. Flamenco creates a video from the rendered images; this also assumes that those images are accessible after they’ve been rendered and saved to the storage.

It might be possible to create a complex custom job type for this, but that’s all untested. The hardest part is to know when all necessary files have arrived on a specific worker, without waiting for all syncing to be completed (as someone may have just submitted another job).