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Getting down to (data) business with ‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’

Boss Baby screenshot
James Whitemore
James Whitemore

“Cookies are for closers!”

One my favorite lines from the 2017 DreamWorks Animation blockbuster comedy, The Boss Baby, voiced by none other than Alec Baldwin, is, of course, a play on his now-famous line from 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, “Coffee is for closers!” Brilliant!

Before diving in to the formula-gulping sequel, The Boss Baby: Family Business, and how NetApp technology played a key role in DreamWorks delivering their longest animated film to date in the middle of a global pandemic, let’s run through a quick refresher on the Oscar®-nominated original from 2017.

Seven-year-old Tim Templeton is one happy kid. That is, until his new suit-wearing, briefcase-toting baby brother arrives on the scene to steal all his parents’ attention. One night, Tim hears a voice coming from inside his brother's bedroom and discovers... his baby brother can talk. Many a battle ensue before the dust finally settles and their brotherly love bubbles to the surface. Not a second too soon, of course, because they must work side by side to stop a dastardly plot hatched by Puppy Co.’s evil CEO (Steve Buscemi). Spoiler alert: they do.

Enter The Boss Baby: Family Business, arriving in U.S. theaters today, and streaming on Peacock for 60 days.

The Templeton brothers—Tim (James Marsden) and his Boss Baby little bro, Ted (once again, Alec Baldwin)—have become adults and drifted apart. Tim is a stay-at-home dad, while Ted is a hedge fund CEO. When uncle Ted stops by for a visit, Tim’s newborn daughter, Tina, reveals that she’s—ta-da!—a top secret agent for BabyCorp, whose new baby formula can turn adults back into babies for 48 hours. Once she convinces the brothers to drink up, they launch a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind her older sister’s school and its mysterious founder.

Boss Baby screenshot

What I adore most about this lovable franchise is how closely Tim and Ted’s teamwork and ability to pivot quickly as new challenges arise, mimics the partnership of NetApp and DreamWorks.

On every one of its CG films produced in the last 20 years, DreamWorks has made heavy use of NetApp technologies, including cloud data services, storage systems, data and virtualization software, and tools that simplify management of applications and data. Not unlike The Boss Baby brothers, together we’ve battled plot twists every step of the way. You know—latency, downtime, capacity limits, dreadful management tasks, unplanned events, security risks, etc., etc., etc.

With The Boss Baby: Family Business, an entirely new villain appeared in the form of a pandemic that forced everyone on the production to work from home. A monumental inconvenience for any animated film, this happened to be DreamWorks Animation’s longest to date, consisting of 140,712 frames compared to the before-times-produced The Boss Baby’s 125,474. Like with another DreamWorks Animation film released during this trying time, we were able to pivot quickly and deliver the solutions they needed to keep productivity high and moving positively toward completion.

Incredibly, 99% of the film’s lighting, 85% of the rendering, and 95% of the FX shots were completed in a work from home environment. And while we’re talking numbers, on average, 60,241 jobs were rendered daily, 300 million core render hours were required to complete the film, and The Boss Baby: Family Business is comprised of over 268 million digital files utilizing an estimated 955 terabytes of data. Astounding!

Boss Baby screenshot

In 2018, DreamWorks and NetApp entered into a multiyear strategic alliance to advance the studio’s hybrid cloud data management environment in support of their creative and business objectives.

As Kate Swanborg, DreamWorks Senior VP of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances, puts it, “NetApp creates an infrastructure for us that is robust and stable. We trust NetApp’s people. They work side by side with our engineers to future-proof our strategies.”

We’re incredibly proud that our technology played such a key role in pulling off the impossible to bring The Boss Baby: Family Business across the finish line. We think the Boss Baby would agree that everyone involved has definitely earned their cookies.

Learn more about how NetApp supports DreamWorks.

James Whitemore

As Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp, James is responsible for advancing the company’s global marketing strategy and strengthening its market recognition to accelerate growth. He has been central to the development and execution of NetApp’s digital-first, modern marketing strategy transforming NetApp from a traditional storage vendor to a cloud-led, data-centric software company. James joined NetApp via the SolidFire acquisition in early 2016 bringing with him more than 25 years of experience in the cloud computing, networking, and storage industry. A true lover of music, art, yoga, and laugher, James lives just north of Boulder, Colorado, and never misses an opportunity to head up to the mountains to unwind with his family.  

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