[Beowulf] Third-party drives not permitted on new Dell servers?

Gerry Creager gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Tue Feb 16 11:57:07 PST 2010

On 2/16/10 1:42 PM, Rahul Nabar wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:32 PM, Lux, Jim (337C)
> <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>  wrote:
>> Unfortunately, the HPC (Beowulf) world is driven by the economics of the ordinary consumer/office desktop computer.  That's what lets you build a teraflop machine without incurring the debt of a small country: you can leverage the mass production for consumers which drives the prices down, but also has very short product cycles.
>> The 3 year cycle is driven by in large part by IRS depreciation rules which call computer equipment a "5-year" piece of gear, but
> On the other hand many of the Beowulfers are in the govt. / university
> / higher-ed. domain where things run somewhat "tax free"? Not sure if
> then these IRS writeoffs then factor much into decision making or not.
> All the more reason to avoid getting locked-in to 3-year vendor
> cycles.

At MY University, and in all my grants, I plan a 3-year depreciation 
cycle (regardless of the grief I gave Jim privately). You've gotta have 
a plan. That said, however, I also get to beat the inventory folk 
senseless when they tell me I've got a $100k computer on inventory 
that's 8 years old and is listed as a '386.

I tend to look for best price/performance ratios. I don't want something 
that will perform poorly because it impacts my research as well as that 
of the folks who use our clusters. I don't have to go for the cheapest, 
especially if it's incompatible. But, I don't go for the most expensive, 
without due diligence, just 'cause it costs more than every one else.


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