[Beowulf] Often favorable to hire HPC specialists over more hardware

Joshua Mora joshua_mora at usa.net
Fri Apr 5 21:02:02 PDT 2013


Sorry, I did not read in order the post. Brian Dobbins made the same point few
hours earlier in the very same way.

Joshua

------ Original Message ------
Received: 05:52 AM CEST, 04/06/2013
From: "Joshua Mora" <joshua_mora at usa.net>
To: Beowulf Mailing List <Beowulf at beowulf.org>
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Often favorable to hire HPC specialists over more
hardware

> Similar rational arguments apply to why you want to invest into a good
> compiler.
> I find though easier to justify these things in terms of the metric money
> rather than performance metrics. Just HPC people are not that used to use
the
> metric money.
> In other words it becomes a business decision.
> 
> Example : Compiler A, 10% better than Compiler B in terms of performance
for
> 80% of applications on HPC infrastructure of cost 1M USD. Compiler A costs
30K
> USD. Compiler B is open source (nothing wrong against GCC or Open64). It
means
> you can aproximately reduce your computing infrastructure and electric bill
> and maintenance cost by a factor of 0.10*0.80=0.08  (8%). Total cost of
system
> is 1MUSD (HW). So you can have an impact on the  savings in hardware about
80K
> USD. That by itself will compensate to pay 30K USD on the compiler. Add to
> that savings the power savings and maintenance savings in the same
percentage
> for 3/4 years of life of the infrastructure. So 30K saved you 80K on HW+80K
on
> electric bill for 3/4 years and 80K for maintenance of 8% fewer nodes.
Total
> investment 30K , total savings 240K-30K=210K. 
> 
> Finally, with those 210K you hire a good HPC guy to optimize the code for a
> solid year ;)
> 
> Joshua
> 
> ------ Original Message ------
> Received: 03:30 AM CEST, 04/06/2013
> From: Robin Whittle <rw at firstpr.com.au>
> To: Beowulf Mailing List <Beowulf at beowulf.org>
> Subject: [Beowulf] Often favorable to hire HPC specialists over more
hardware
> 
> > Parts of the "Roadrunner shutdown" thread developed into a discussion
> > about the benefits of hiring specialized HPC programmers as an
> > alternative to spending more money on hardware.
> > 
> > For the benefit of folks searching the archives, here is one of the
> > messages in that sub-thread, from Brian Dobbins, which contains many
> > points of interest:
> > 
> >   http://www.beowulf.org/pipermail/beowulf/2013-April/031271.html
> > 
> > including:
> > 
> >   Why it may be worth hiring a good developer if there are a moderate
> >   to high number of nodes in the system already - with rough dollar
> >   cost estimates.
> > 
> >   A number of programming- and compilation- level things which can
> >   easily be fixed by a programmer with the right expertise, which
> >   will greatly improve performance, but which might not be known by
> >   programmers who are primarily interested in science.  Also, how
> >   common they are.  (I wonder: if this is true, then perhaps half or
> >   more of HPC cluster time is being wasted on this stuff, in
> >   environments where many types of jobs are being run.  I figure
> >   the people who devote clusters to one or a few programs probably
> >   invest in writing and tweaking those programs well.)
> > 
> >   Having a skilled programmer to ensure to that the results are
> >   correct, not just that there are results at all, or results
> >   faster than before.
> > 
> >   "So that's my lengthy two cents in defense of why it's /very often/
> >    favorable to hire HPC specialists over more hardware . . ."
> > 
> > I know many people tend to like short chatty messages on mailing lists,
> > but I like ones like this, for which Brian's apology: "(PPS.  Sorry for
> > the length!)" absolutely does not apply.
> > 
> >  - Robin
> > 
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