How to get started using Portal?

As background, I have an AWS account and have deployed and automated provisioning of EC2, S3, and many other AWS services. I am experienced with AWS.

I would like to experiment with rendering (3ds Max and VRAY) on AWS, and Deadline Portal appears to do most of what I had in mind, such as auto-provisioning spot instances and manage assets via S3.

I have read the ThinkBox website regarding on-demand licensing costs and the introduction documentation for Deadline.

However, I have not found a description of how to start using Deadline Portal itself.

When launching a new EC2 instance, I found the Deadline Worker Base and Forwarder AMIs (there are 100s of them), but not an AMI for Deadline Portal or Monitor.

How do I start using Deadline?

Thank you,

AWS Portal is meant to be used in a hybrid architecture where the Deadline Repository, the Remote Connection Server, the AWS Portal services, and client components like the Deadline Monitor all run on the local network (on premises), while the EC2 Spot render instances are created in an AWS Portal Infrastructure in a VPC in your account. Thus, the only related Deadline Amazon Machine Images publicly available on AWS are for building render nodes, and a Gateway instance as part of the the Infrastructure.

The AWS Portal executes a Cloud Formation that builds the Infrastructure. It is launched from inside the Deadline Monitor via the AWS Portal panel. Once you have created an AWS Portal Policy and User in your account, the rest is completely run from inside the Monitor, so there is no need to look in the AWS Management Console to start things.

The typical steps to deploy and start using AWS Portal are:

  • Install the Remote Connection Server (RCS) on one machine on the local network, usually the one with the Repository, as it is a pre-requisite for AWS Portal.
  • Log in your AWS account, create an AWSPortal Policy using the JSON from the Deadline Documentation website; create an AWSPortal User with Programmatic Access, attach the Policy, get the Access Keys.
  • Install the AWS Portal services (Portal Link and Asset Server) on one local machine (again, often the same as the Repository server). When asked, provide the Region where to set up the S3 bucket for caching, and the Access Keys from the previous step.
  • In the Deadline Monitor, engage Super User Mode, open the AWS Portal panel, enter the Access Keys, select the default Region, remember the keys.
  • Configure the AWS Portal settings to select the RCS, specify a folder for UBL certificates, set up forwarding of existing licenses (e.g. Thinkbox plugins, Redshift, V-Ray).
  • Via the Tools menu, Configure the Asset Server IP address, and Root Directories to sync from.
  • Create account and purchase relevant UBL from the AWS Thinkbox Marketplace.
  • Once an email from the Marketplace arrives with the URL and Activation Code, enter these in the Tools > Configure Repository Options > Usage Based Licensing panel.
  • Once an email from Flexnetoperations comes back, create password and download certificates from the Thinkbox Customer Portal. Unzip them to the folder specified earlier in the AWS Portal configuration > Advanced tab.
  • Launch an AWS Portal Infrastructure via the AWS Portal panel. If it fails with ROLLBACK the first time, try again - sometimes running that CloudFormation stack for the first time can trigger some reviews.
  • Create License Limits in the Monitor’s Limits panel, set up UBL as needed. Note that an active Infrastructure is currently required to access Autodesk UBL (3dsMax, Maya, Arnold), hence the location of this step after the Infrastructure launch.
  • Once it succeeds, right-click the Infrastructure in the Monitor and launch a Sport Fleet Request with the AMI and instance types you need.

The following YouTube videos show some of these steps (the videos are a bit old now, new ones are underway):

The AWS Portal documentation also outlines the above in a lot more detail.


Thank you very much for extensive reply!