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Director of Platform Engineering

Burbank, CA - US

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Job ID 689441BR Location Burbank, California, United States Business Walt Disney Animation Studios Date posted 17/07/2019

Job Summary:

At Walt Disney Animation Studios we have a deep commitment to the philosophy that creativity challenges technology, and technology inspires creativity. Our engineers are charged with developing, implementing and integrating new technologies and processes for solving the unique and challenging needs of all the animated content we create.

Reporting to the CTO, the Director of Platform Engineering will lead a group of engineers that designs and operates the core infrastructure of the animation studio along with building and maintaining the central services handling configuration management, deployment, orchestration, high performance compute, storage, networking and other critical back office infrastructure.

The position will be instrumental in driving the studio towards a cloud-native architecture, leading and mentoring talented engineering teams and partnering closely with other technical leaders and our filmmaking teams to ensure the current and future technical needs of our films are met with technical solutions that enable and inspire our artists to fulfil their full potential. Our focus is on increasing the flexibility, efficiency and reliability of our core services to empower all our teams to do more with less operational overhead.


  • Provide vision, strategy and leadership for the successful execution of all platform engineering initiatives, and our continued transition to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
  • Oversee the design, architecture, implementation, and ongoing operation of the infrastructure and services needed for rendering, storage, network LAN/WAN, databases, workstation/server builds (Linux, macOS, Windows), configuration management, identity management, directory services, email, and communication and collaboration tools.
  • Provide feedback to teams and leadership to guide overall efforts and continue to improve the effectiveness of our teams.
  • Help develop and mentor staff, assist with career path guidance, and recruit open positions.

Planning and Strategy
  • Develop the Platform Engineering roadmap enabling the transformation of our core services to enable cloud native product development and a more fully elastic, automated infrastructure.
  • Lead the strategy, architecture, planning and provision of compute, storage, network and core infrastructure required for Production, Technology and overall Studio demands.

  • Delivery of Platform Engineering initiatives on time and budget to ensure they deliver on their commitments to other teams, and the studio as a whole, without adverse impact on our filmmaking teams.
  • Improve the predictability, efficiency, and transparency of studio infrastructure for artists, production management, and studio leadership with particular focus on rendering
  • Lead efforts to optimize utilization of render farm, prioritization strategies, analytics and predictability of compute time.

Sustainability and Security
  • Ensure the operational stability, performance, and security of the infrastructure.
  • Oversee the design, implementation and operation of core services that protect our data from malicious intrusion and sensitive data loss.
  • Continue to drive security improvements and work with partners across the studio to consider and manage the communication, cultural and workflow considerations.

Partnership and Communication
  • Create and execute on strategies to continually foster and build trust and transparency between teams across the studio.
  • Ensure and participate in clear direction, proactive communication and healthy collaboration between all groups involved with Platform Engineering initiatives.
  • Work hand-in-hand with peers to provide a complete, integrated technology platform for the studio.
  • Work closely with the Production Technology software development team focusing on rendering strategy, service oriented pipeline infrastructure and internal software deployment process and strategies.
  • Work closely with the Infrastructure & Support operations team
  • Develop and manage relationships, and maintain healthy collaboration with key external technology partners and 3rd party vendors.

  • Develop, maintain, track, and evolve the budget for Platform Engineering initiatives along with overall Studio Infrastructure needs.
  • Negotiate pricing and contracts with third party vendors
  • Work with Finance to plan, budget and track costs for elastic infrastructure from cloud service providers.
  • Drive cost efficiencies across infrastructure components including: storage optimization, network platform, WAN connectivity, and cloud utilization.
  • Develop and enhance cost models in partnership with Finance.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Minimum 8 years in an infrastructure or platform role at a large scale production studio or similar company.
  • Minimum 5 years managing teams of technical professionals
  • Must have a proven track record of delivering successfully on a portfolio of projects with multiple stakeholders.
  • Must be a compelling communicator with a proven ability to influence others through diplomacy. Must be able to articulate ideas effectively when presenting to large groups, other executives and business leaders.
  • Must be a strong people manager/supervisor, mentor and collaborator.
  • Must be willing to make key strategic decisions, communicate the thinking behind those decisions and then drive the adoption throughout our studio.

About Walt Disney Animation Studios:

Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. Located in Burbank, WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to 2013's Academy Award®-winning Frozen, the biggest animated film of all time. Among the studio's timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with Walt Disney Pictures, which is part of a business segment we call Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Walt Disney Pictures is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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