Using Backburner with x64 based render farm

July 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm 4 comments

This topic is about the problem I ran into when I’ve tried to install and setup Backburner on Windows Vista Business x64: Backburner will not work properly as a x64 based render node in a render farm.
I figured out a workaround because I couldn’t find any solution or explaination on the web to solve this problem. Or it could be that there is a total other way how to setup a render farm with Backburner which I’ve overlooked. If so, please let me know.

I’m not going to explain how to setup Backburner here, because there is lots of documentation to find on the internet.
For more explaination and in-depth detail about installing and configurating Backburner to setup a render farm use the Autodesk documentation found here.

Some Backburner terms you need to know to understand this blog:

  • Render Node = the host, PC or workstation that will be used for rendering a portion or a part of the complete render image or animation.
  • Backburner Server = the Backburner application running on the Render Node.
  • Backburner Manager = the host which runs the Render Manager application for managing all the render nodes which are linked to this host.
  • Backburner Monitor = the host which runs the Monitor application for scheduling the render nodes which together do the actual render job.

Problem:
When installing 3ds Max Design 2010/2011 on a Windows x64 platform and configurating the associated Backburner Server as a service for rendering in a render farm purpose, this render node will not be recognized by the Render Manager application.

Cause:
When configurating the Backburner server (server.exe) from the C:\Program Files (x86)\Autodesk\Backburner\ folder, it will create and place a configuration file, the Backburner.xml file, in the User’s local AppData folder.
With this configuration file you setup a Render Manager host name, so this Backburner Server will be recognized by the Render Manager application running on that host. This Render Manager application will be installed in most cases on to another machine that isn’t configured as a Render Node.

But setting up the Backburner server as a service (serversvc.exe) and running this service as a particulary domain user or Local System account, it will not be recognized by the Render Manager.

It appears that the Backburner server (serversvc.exe) expects the configuration (backburner.xml) file to be in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Backburner\Network\ folder!

This is strange, because the installation forces the Backburner folder to the C:\Program Files (86)\Autodesk\Backburner\ folder. This is because the Backburner application is a 32 bit (x86) application and must therefor reside in the C:\Program Files (x86)\ folder.

Resolution:
To prevent the Backburner.xml configuration file to be installed in the User’s folder, use the Backburner version (2008.1.0) delivered with 3ds Max Design 2009. After you’ve setup the Backburner server, this version will place the Backburner.xml file in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Autodesk\Backburner\Network\ folder. This is better then when setup places the file in the User’s folder. But unfortunately the Backburner server service (serversvc.exe) will not look for this file in this location. It will look though for this file in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Backburner\Network\ folder which does not exist or is not created right now.

So here’s what you need to do to have the right Backburner version installed:
  1. If installed, use the Backburner version (2008.1.0) which comes with 3ds Max Design 2009.
    You can not install the Backburner client from the standard wizard setup without installing 3ds Max Design 2009.
    You can though install it from a created network deployment Admin image of 3ds Max Design 2009: \\server\share\AdminImage\support\backburner\
  2. When installed, copy the Backburner folders and files from the C:\Program Files (x86)\Autodesk\ folder to the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ folder.
  3. Configure the Backburner server (server.exe) with a corresponding Render Manager. Then shut it down. This will create the Backburner.xml configuration file in the Network sub folder.
  4. Configure the Backburner server as a service (serversvc.exe) and apply a (domain) user as a logon account for running this service with sufficient and proper rights on the network shares.
  5. Start this service from the Control Panel, Administration Tools, Services window.

You could also do the following:

  1. If installed, use the Backburner version (2008.1.0) which comes with 3ds Max Design 2009.
    Go to step 5.
  2. If 3ds Max Design 2009 with Backburner 2008.1.0 is not installed, but 3ds Max Design 2010/2011 is installed, remove any 3ds Max Design 2010/2011 x64 installation first.
  3. Install 3ds Max Design 2009 with Backburner 2008.1.0.
    Make sure to install both 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) versions.
  4. Install 3ds Max Design 2010/2011 without Backburner 2008.1.1.
  5. Configure Backburner 2008.1.0 on the Render Node as above following steps 2. till 5.

If you have any questions about this topic please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you a.s.a.p.

Update:

I’ve found a resolution how I can integrate the Backburner Server application of the 2009 deployment to be deployed with 3ds Max Design 2010:

  1. Create a deployment of 3ds Max Design 2009.
  2. Create a deployment of 3ds Max Design 2010.
  3. Go to the AdminImage folder of the 2010 deployment and go to the sub folder ..\x86(/x64)\Support\
  4. Replace the 2010 Backburner folder with the one from the 2009 deployment. For back up reasons I’ve renamed the folder to “Backburner2010”.
  5. Open the created ‘Admin image’ ini file in the AdminImage folder of the 2010 deployment and find the following text part:
    • [Backburner]
  6. Now open the created ‘Admin image’ ini file in the AdminImage folder of the 2009 deployment and find the same text part:
    • [Backburner]
  7. Replace the text part from the 2010 deployment with the text part from the 2009 deployment.
  8. Now install the altered 3ds Max Design 2010 deployment on to a PC (Render Node) and you’ll get the right Backburner installation.
  9. Follow the above steps 2. till 5. where you have to make a copy of the Backburner folder to the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ folder.
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Entry filed under: 3ds Max Design, Backburner. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 2010 in review « Civil 3D Peanuts  |  January 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

    […] The busiest day of the year was October 27th with 69
    views. The most popular post that day was Using Backburner with x64
    based render farm. […]

    Reply
  • 2. Topher Cavanaugh (@TopherCavan)  |  February 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Excellent Info… Planning to give this a try with BB 2012, just to see if it works. But I suspected something of this nature to be at the root of the services absolute refusal to play nice. 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. jose  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Great info, but my problem is that when I submit a job I obtain this message: Cmdjob adapter : Process exit abnormaly, Exit code is 211
    any help?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • 4. landwirtschafts simulator download  |  June 24, 2012 at 3:12 am

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