CMAI’s Technology Courses

System Administrator for VFX and Animation / Entry-level Training Course

This course is designed to train new entrants or juniors in the basic steps of system administration in a VFX or Animation studio. This is a junior-level upskilling course, but it is the start of your learning about the Industry and the IT environment which differs greatly from other industries.

The course is a mix of lectures and hands-on demonstrations, as well as self-led learning and assignments.


The course is for recent graduates from IT courses or juniors already in a studio environment in the IT or Tech departments.

The only requirement is access to a computer with a decent Internet connection.


5 days spread over 5 weeks

Start date:


Development Team:

  • Igor Podgorski – Smooth Sailing Technical Consulting
  • Brian Gilmore – Course Director at CMAI


Course Overview

  • The course will be online with 1 day a week of live lectures and demonstrations. These are recorded on the day and are available for reference to the participants.
  • Other course material and references will also be supplied.
  • Classes will be held on Teams which will be supplied to participants.


1. Working in animation and VFX studios (compared to other office environments

  • Goals of studio sys admins (not just installing servers)
  • People and communication
  • Confidentiality and IT security

2. Work processes best practices

  • Keeping track of requests and work-in-progress
  • Documentation
  • Inventory
  • Time management

3. Studio IT architecture overview

  • Network
  • Storage
  • Compute resources
  • Configuration systems
  • High availability and uptime
  • Pipeline and systems integration overview


1. Linux

  • Distributions overview
  • RH/CentOS installation process
  • Software management
    • Rpm
    • Tar archives
    • Install scripts
    • Attended with GUI Vs unattended silent install

2. Bash scripting intro

3. SELinux Intro

4. Storage / block devices management

  • Partitions, formatting
  • LVM (Logical Volume Management)

5. Process management


1. NAS, SAN, volumes and shares overview

2. RAID levels

3. File systems access protocols

4. SMB

  • Use from Windows & Linux
  • ACLs (file/folder permissions) – Viewing and setting

5. NFS

  • Nfsv3 Vs Nfsv4
  • ACLs (file/folder permissions) – Viewing and setting

6. Storage administration

  • Pixit administration
  • QNAP
  • Isilon?


1. Network

  • DNS, DHCP, PXE, …
  • VLAN overview
    • subnets calculation

2. Generic switch configuration

  • Use CISCO / DELL / other manufacturer for practice

3. Firewalls introduction

  • Rules
  • NAT
  • VPN
  • QoS
  • Windows firewall
  • Linux firewall


1. ActiveDirectory and domain controllers (DCs)

  • DC services
  • Organisational units (OUs)
  • User administration and privileges
  • LDAP access
  • Windows and Linux integration overview

2.  Virtualisation overview

  • Hypervisors in general
  • Specific products:
    • VMWare
    • Proxmox
    • VirtualBox

3. Security requirements overview

  • Based on TPN and best practices

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