Note: This survey was done in 2014.

Render Manager Comparison:
This is a comparison of a wide range of selected features available in render managers.
There are many more features, but this lists should give you a nice overview.
The questions have been send by a private person S. Heide.
But they have been answered by the software vendors itself.
They have not been confirmed by any 3rp party.

The render managers in this survey are:
Version used Versionreleased
Backburner ? ?
Afanasy 2.0.0
Muster 8.0.0 11.2013
Qube! 6.6-0 06.2014
RenderPal 2.10 03.2014
RoyalRender 7.0.10
Smedge 2014.3 04.2014

Probably discontinued render managers
Contact via email or web was not possible or there was no response at all.
If there is no support at all, not even late support, there is no need to test it.
Butterfly Netrender No answer via emails.
Condor Email-address is dead.
DrQueue OpenSource, contact email dead.
DUMA Email send and web support ticket created, no answer
Enfusion3D An email to sales and a second support, no answer.
Rush 2 emails send to support, no answer.
SquidNet Contacted via web contact form. Last post in their forum was 2012

Feature Comparison

Possible Answers for features:
Available Out-Of-The-Box
Any artist would be able to use it without changing any script, config file or using 3rp party tools.
It is either already working without any interaction or a config change via UI is required (E.g. checkboxes/dropdownand a save).
Requires to change a few lines in config files. E.g.ini-file, text based config file.
Minor changes take less than 30 min. for any artist (after he got/found a description).

Empty cells are either... or ...
  • Scripting:  
    Requires changing/adding a few lines in a script file files of the  manager. A minor scripting knowledge is required. Minor changes take lessthan 30 min for an artist (after he got/found an description).
  • Possible:  
    This requires to change many files, requires 3rd party plugins(Quicktimepro, FFmpeg) or to develop a Python script or some C++ development,....
Not available
This feature is not possible or would require huge (1 week +) customdevelopment withgood development experience.

Client The Client is the application of the render manager that runs on each machine that renders. It starts the render application (Maya, Softimage,Nuke,...)
Render App
The render application is the application that rendersthe images. Maya, Softimage, Houdini, Modo, Nuke, Afx...
Company Project
A company has multiple projects E.g. Commercial for CocaCola and a commercial for Nike.

Sum of all "Available Out-Of-The-Box":
At first, this is a quick comparison of all sums of  Out-Of-The-Box" features listed on this survey.
Features Submission 14
2 9
Features Client 10 0 4 6 8 5 5 7 7
Features Jobs/Rendering 16 3 6 11 6 2 5 8 8
Error Handling 9 0 6 9 6 0 3 6 7
Features Notifications 4 0 2 5 4 0 0 2 5
Features Control/Manage Jobs 8 3 4 8 8 5 4 8 8
Features View 14 3 8 11 7 7 8 9 12
Features Pipeline/Customization 6 0 6 7 7 4 1 4 3
Features Statistics/Reports 1 0 1 5 5 0 4 0 2
Sum of all "Available Out-Of-The-Box" features 82 13 45 73 61 25 39 53 62

The same sums, but sorted.
Sum of all "Available Out-Of-The-Box" features 82 73 62 61 53 45 39 25 13

General Information
The product used in production since year 2001 2001 2008 2004 2000 not yet 2001 2004 1998
[C]ommercial, [F]ree and Open Source C C F C
Average time between official updates/releases (inmonths) 1 12 4 4 1 not yet 6(features)
3-6 4

General Features/OSSpecific
Available OS - server application
if all OS are supported, otherwise [W]indows, [L]inux, [O]sx
Available OS - Client
Available OS - Submission commandline
Available OS - Submission via user interface
Available OS - View Jobs commandline
Available OS - View Jobs UI
Available OS - Manage Jobs commandline
Available OS - Manage Jobs UI
View jobs from anywhere via internet
[i]Os-app, [A]ndroid-app, [H]tml, [Py]thon, [N]ode.js, [PHP], [J]ava
H, Py H I,A,H,Py H,PHP,
Py, PHP,
H, Py H Py
Manage jobs from anywhere via internet
[i]Os-app, [A]ndroid-app, [H]tml, [Py]thon, [N]ode.js, [PHP], [J]ava
Py H H, Py H,PHP,
Py, PHP,
H, Py H Py
Is there a centralized update?
(Otherwise you need to update every machine one by one)
Maximum number of Clients active and rendering - used in production 500 100 1700 1200 2300 500+ 1500
Does it support a path replacement between different OS.
A scene file is submitted on windows, but rendered on Linux. The path to the scene
file has to be changed, otherwise the Linux client does not find the scene file.
(This is not a replacement of texture paths inside any scene file, only inside the
 job data in the render manager)
Features Submission
Scenes can be submitted via an UI - Submission plugin
For example: You have a submission plugin inside your Maya menu that starts an UI
(This does not apply that an UI is available for all render apps)
Scenes can be submitted via an UI - Standaloneapplication
An UI application is started by the artist without using a submissionplugin
Submit a scene via commandline 
Submit a scene via python script
Send a job to a pre-defined group/pool of Clients.
E.g. the Nuke plugin "Sapphire" is installed on 10 computers, but Nukeis installed on all computers.
So the artist needs to be able to create a group with these Clients andsubmit the job to this "Sapphire" group
Send a job to individual Clients.
The artists wants to send a job to machine X, Y and Z only.
as these two have for example a special Tesla hardware cardinstalled.
Can the user modify the submission plugins?
To add new commandline flags  or  enable a jobsetting of the render manager.
Example: Fluid sims and needs to be submitted with different options.
So the company adds a switch in the submission plugin for Maya.
Change default values for Submissions – for all submissions
"Default values" are the job options like required memory, queuepriority, frame timeout,…
For example all jobs submitted in your company should use priority=10 and timeout "10min" by default
Change default values for Submissions – Machine X
For example all jobs submitted from machine X should have priority 60and timeout 10min
Change default values for Submissions – Project X
The submitter recognizes the project name and chooses the right defaultvalues for the project.
For example all CocaCola Jobs should get Priority of 90 and timeout50min.
Support for job dependencies.
The Artist can choose other jobs form the queue that have to finishfirst before this job starts to render.
Output image files exist – files are deleted,then rendered
The output images of the job you want to submit already exist.
On submission, these files can be automatically deleted before the jobstarts to render
Output image files exist – files areoverwritten
Output image files exist – files are kept,only missing files of the sequence are rendered
Sum Out-Of-The-Box features 14 4 8 11 10 2 9 9 10
Features Client
Note: Some of the following features are for the Client running on an artists workstation.
Therefore these Clients need to be able to "interact" with the artist.
The Client can be installed as service/deamon.
It starts to run when the computer boots and continues to run in thebackground no matter if an artist logs in or out.
Auto disable during working hours.
For example the Client will not take any jobs from Monday-Friday from9:00-17:00
Auto-enable on logout.
The Client was disabled and auto-enables if the artist logs out.
Auto-enable on low CPU usage.
The Client was disabled and the artist CPU usage % is lessthan 5% for 15 minutes: The Client auto-enables itself.
Disable on high CPU usage
The artists CPU usageis higher than 70% for 5 min.: The Client disables itself
A Client can start multiple job threads. Eachjob thread can take its own jobs.
As all jobs are handled by one Client application, there can befunctions designed to optimize multiple jobs at the same time.
One Client (thread) can start multiple instances forone job.
E.g. It gets one job with 10 frames for Afx. The Client (thread) starts10 Afx with one frame each.
Shut down the machine if it is idle for x minutes.
The machine is shut down. An artist sends a job to thefarm with this Client assigned. The manager uses WOL to start themachine.
Render with less cores. The Client is running on aworkstation. The Client is setup to keeps 2 cores free all the time forthe artist.
Sum Out-Of-The-Box features 10 0 4 6 8 5 5 7 7