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

Dean Johnson dtj at uberh4x0r.org
Thu Feb 17 14:18:40 PST 2005

I am going out on a limb here, but I suspect that a majority of the
people on this list lean far more toward the casual administrator types
and not professional cluster admins. Often, I suspect, the issues of
power and cooling only arise in times of scarcity and not out of some
anal-retentive need to quantify resources. They are very likely people
doing science (or other worthy endeavour) and simply use clusters as
tools. Should one quantify the ROI on each pencil and pen in ones
office? I realize that the first pen/pencil in your office is an
important writing device, but why do you have a second and third, given
that the useful life of a pen/pencil, under normal load, is quite
long? ;-)

I'll be right back as soon as I justify the dozen or so pens I have
under the seat of my car. Hold it! I don't use the company's crappy pens
and provide my own. I guess beans don't interest me.


On Thu, 2005-02-17 at 12:10 +1100, steve_heaton at ozemail.com.au wrote:
> 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 ;)
> Cheers
> Stevo
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