Alembic is about to get really fast

- Ben Houston

I have some really good news for Alembic users.

In the two years since we first released Alembic suite of tools, we have learnt a lot about how Alembic performs in the real world. One thing that has come up with some of our larger clients, was that the performance of Alembic leaves a bit to be desired when dealing with very deep scene hierarchies and/or thousands of scene nodes.

But a new development is coming very soon that will fix the slow initial load time of Alembic.

Steve LaVietes, of the Alembic development team, just announced that there is a new Alembic data storage backend called Ogawa. It is a custom-made thread-safe and efficient data format library that is designed to replace the slow HDF5 system currently utilized by Alembic Steve writes:

"We are excited by its prospects as -- even at this early stage -- we're seeing these significant improvements in alignment with our goals for Alembic’s future. ... We’re pretty enthusiastic about it."

The new Ogawa Alembic back end is both faster and the files are smaller. Specifically, Alembic users will see the following benefits:

  • 4x to 25x faster file reading
  • 5-15% smaller files.

Both data formats can co-exist so no backwards compatibility will be lost, just newer Alembic files will be faster and smaller than old Alembic files.

Exocortex is going to be releasing an update of its Alembic suite with optionally support for Ogawa in the next two weeks so that our clients can start experimenting with this major Alembic improvement right away.

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