[Beowulf] Re: Academic sites: who pays for the electricity?

steve_heaton at ozemail.com.au steve_heaton at ozemail.com.au
Wed Feb 16 17:10:15 PST 2005

G'day all

Speaking as someone from "industry", and a Project/Programme Manager at that, I'd just like to add that I'm shocked and dismayed at the apparent lack of accountability that seems rampant in academic circles! If it was down to me I'd sack the lot of ya!! ;)

I'd strongly recommend that all good cluster folk have a good idea about operation expenditure (opex). If you get a visit from the Meanie Beanies (auditors / cost accountants etc etc) then it'll help cover your A. It's a great way to have your gig cancelled because you didn't have a firm understanding of your $'s in and out. Happens all the time in Industry and in my job it's a sackable offence. No joke. Do some homework and you won't need to be afraid (OK, *as* afraid of the Purple Pen People).

Some things to know
 ideally you should be able to quote these with as little as an hour's warning (shows you're on top of things):

-) The amount of floor space you consume (sq ft or m) - don't worry about the cost of this one, those asking will know ;) Becomes a hot topic if you're paying rent in some form.
-) Find out how much electricity you use per hour - chances are you're on one or more dedicated circuit(s) and probably separate metering - look at the bills. Don't worry about general lighting etc. It's often rolled into the floor space calcs.
-) Ditto aircon (include your maintenance)
-) Cluster hardware maintenance (out of warranty stuff, cost of spares) - quoting your amazing uptime can help explain this figure
-) Service contracts (you've got a Service Level Agreement right? Uptime % etc helps explain)
-) Staff / admin costs
-) The good ol' "anything else you can think of"

Now the fun part. Who used you cluster and for how long? Look at your job scheduling etc. Your department? Another department (do you cross charge somehow)? Which projects? What's their contribution to cluster opex?

If you answer reasonably accurately then the Beanies will treat you with some respect :) >>Someone, somewhere is paying your bills already.<< Know where that money is going!

Don't say I didn't warn you ;)


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