Set Up Lightwave Render Farm on Amazon EC2 in 7 Critical Steps

in Lightwave, Training

I have finally succeeded in installing a Lightwave render farm using Amleto  on Amazon cloud. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Sign up to Amazon EC2 service and launch an instance.

The video below should give a step by step guide:


Step 2: Launch an instance.

  • An instance is a fully configured computer on the Amazon server farm.
  • You access the instance through remote desktop software. If you don’t have the software installed on your computer, you can download a version from Amazon. Make sure to go through the video above to ensure you have the username, ip address and password to access your instance.
  • To launch an instance you need to choose an AMI and instance type
  • AMI is basically a preconfigured operating system. You have the option of Linux, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008. To run Lightwave and lwsn, basically you need to choose Windows Server 2012.
  • Make sure you check the rates properly. Different OSes are priced differently.
  • Instance type is basically the type of hardware to run the AMI.  Check out the instance types and rates here
  • Basically I chose a really cheap micro instance for the Render Server. I do not run any Render Client on this server except for tests.

Step 3: Transfer files to your instance.

  • The first thing that I did was to install Chrome browser using the preinstalled Internet Explorer. You may stick with IE if you want but I am just more comfortable using Chrome.
  • Using Chrome, install a Dropbox client.
  • If you don’t want to use Dropbox, you may install a SFTP server software, so you can use FileZilla or the like to connect from your home computer. I have not done this myself but I understand you need to use SFTP instead of the basic FTP
  • Use Dropbox to transfer files from your computer.

Step 4: Install Lightwave and Amleto on your Render Server (ver 3.2).

  • Install it normally. You don’t need the Lightwave license to run Amleto Render Server.
  • Configure Amleto Render Server as per usual.
  • NOW, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. When you try to run Lightwave or even a Render Client, your instance will return an error asking for bthprops.cpl file.
  • I have found only one way to solve this issue and I have no idea how safe it is. So, follow the next steps in bold AT YOUR OWN RISK.
  • Go to a Windows 7 computer.
  • Go to C:\Windows\System32
  • Copy all the BlueTooth files which begin with BT so bt*.* to a USB drive.
  • Copy all the file from the USB drive to C:\Windows\System32 on your Server 2008 computer.
  • If you are copying a file that already exist, click DO NOT COPY.
  • Log off the computer and log back on.
  • The error message should no longer appear.
  • Run the Amleto Server and Client.
  • Please take note of ip for the Render Server as this is not the same ip as the one you use to access the instance. Amleto has a function to search for the render server automatically but I find it much easier and more stable to enter the ip manually.
  • Close down the Render Client.

 Step 5: Launch the instance for Render Client.

  • Follow the same steps as above (Step 4)  including solving the bthprops.cpl issue.
  • You only need to install Amleto Client on this instance.
  • Install Amleto Client as service as well.
  • Enter the ip address that you get from Step 4 into Amleto Client options.

Step6: Set up security group.

  • In order for the instances to communicate to one another, you need to put them in the same security group.
  • Use your Amazon EC2 panel for this. Just right click on the relevant instance and choose change security group from the drop down panel.
  • Set the security group to enable free access between all computers in the group. I am no network administrator so please read the instructions on Amazon website on how to do this.
  • Once the security group is set correctly, your Render Client should show up in the Render Server.

Now basically you are all set up. The only problem is that you need do Step 5 and 6 for every time you launch a new Render Client.

Step 7: Set up custom AMI.

  • On your EC2 panel webpage, right click on your render client instance and choose create image. It may take about 10 – 20 minutes to complete the process.
  • When you launch a new render client, use this AMI instead of Amazon default ones and you don’t have to do anything else. You will see the render client starting up in your render server.
  • IMPORTANT: The new clients will use the same password as the instance used to generate the custom AMI in the first place, so make sure you save this password somewhere safe.

Some notes.

  • Theoretically you can create a custom AMI for Render Server as well but it will have a different ip every time it starts anew. You need to enter this ip to all your render clients.
  • My solution is simply to leave this instance running continuously. That is why I choose a really cheap instance for this task.
  • Speedwise, I find the instance c3.4xlarge has equivalent processing power to my i7 3630k PC. c3.8xlarge is about twice as fast.

I hope you find the above notes helpful. Tell me what you think below…

Huo July 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Exciting news! Thanks for taking the time to document your journey, I’m looking forward to trying this.

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