[Beowulf] SiCortex experience anyone?

Jim Lux james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Tue May 27 19:02:30 PDT 2008

Quoting Joe Landman <landman at scalableinformatics.com>, on Tue 27 May  
2008 05:52:56 PM PDT:

> Jim Lux wrote:
>> The value of a supercomputer under the desk is primarily to the end  
>>  user (faster whatever to free up an expensive engineer's time).   
>> They don't see much difference between buying the software for a   
>> single processor or multiprocessor.  The ISV won't get many   
>> incremental sales from having a fast box to run it on, because the   
>> customer would probably buy it in
> Hmmm....  splitting proverbial hairs here ...

Or more, there's a psychological difference between the same dollar  
spent on fast hardware or on software to run on that fast hardware,  
particularly if the user experience is essentially identical, except  
for speed.  That is, people will more readily pay for something  

> If the total cost of the solution is X(hw)+Y(sw) (hardware and
> software), and the solution cost on an "accelerated" box is
> x(hw)+Y(sw), where x << X, then the ISV may be able to convince the
> customer to buy at least incrementally more licenses of the software
> (which at the engineering shops we have dealt with, tends to be one of
> the major limiting cases for use).  Especially if N=Int(X/x) is large
> enough ( N>3 or so), then the ISV can convince the customer to save
> money buy more licenses, on less hardware for about the same
> performance.  ISVs really want the end users to buy less hardware.  Or,
> more accurately, less expensive hardware.  This frees up more capital
> for ISV product purchases.

But often, SW purchases are treated differently than HW, if not in  
terms of the accounting (i.e. depreciation of HW vs annual license  
fees for SW) than psychologically.

If I go out and spend $100K on a gofast computer, I can carry that  
100K on my balance sheet as an asset.  If I spend $100K on a SW  
license, it's not so obvious that I can carry it as an asset.  And  
let's not even get in to Section 179 or other tax credits.


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