[Beowulf] Beowulf Digest, Vol 177, Issue 36

mark somers m.somers at chem.leidenuniv.nl
Thu Nov 29 00:14:51 PST 2018

On Wed, 2018-11-28 at 08:30 -0800, beowulf-request at beowulf.org wrote:
> On Wed, 28 Nov 2018 13:51:05 +0100, you wrote:
> > Now I am all for connecting divers and flexible workflows to true HPC systems and grids that feel different if not
> > experienced
> > with (otherwise what is the use of a computer if there are no users making use of it?), but do not make the mistake of
> > thinking
> > everything is cloud or will be cloud soon that fast. 
> The "cloud" is a massive business that is currently growing fast.
> Will it take over everything or continue its growth forever, of course
> not.
> But dismissing it is equally a dangerous thing to do, particularly if
> your job relies on something not being in the cloud.

I am not doing that.

> > So, one could say bare metal cloud have arisen mostly because of this but they also do come with expenses. Somehow I find
> > that a
> > simple rule always seems to apply; if more people in a scheme need to be paid, the scheme is probably more expensive than
> > alternatives, if available. Or state differently; If you can do things yourself, it is always a cheaper option than let some
> > others do things (under normal 'open market' rules and excluding the option of slavery :)).
> But this is one area where the cloud can often win - the scale of the
> Azure/Google/AWS operations means that you get 24/7/365 coverage with
> essentially the lowest possible labour overhead.

Yeah, except, just read the paper http://staff.um.edu.mt/carl.debono/DT_CCE3013_1.pdf and crunch some numbers first.

> And the fact is that while much of society insists on making decisions
> purely based on cost - see airfares for example - there are a lot of
> cases where people are willing to pay a premium for a service/product
> that "just works".

Most certainly true and by that argument you can also conclude that sometimes people just willingly accept that HPC is a bit
different and harder to use but they find it all worth while. Or using again that same argument, organisations are willing to
employ the more expensive professional HPC IT staff because again they conclude that it all is worthwhile.

> > One has to note that in academia one often is in the situation that grants are obtained to buy hardware and that running
> > costs
> > (i.e. electricity and rack space) are matched by the university making the case of spending the grant money on paying
> > amazone or
> > google to do your 'compute' not so sensible if you can do things yourself.
> Currently.
> If on premise HPC doesn't reflect the ease of use that can be found
> elsewhere, combined with some lobbying by the existing or specialized
> cloud providers, and those grants could become a lot more flexible.

nah dissagree. some things are just hard to do no matter what and hardly turn a profit but are important for humans despite all
that. lets suppose you want to put a little rover on mars and part of that work is making sure that little rover and workstation
on earth can communicate and that data is classified. you'd be calling microsoft? 

> And given that many/most/all universities are often short on space and
> they may well welcome an opportunity to be able to repurpose an
> existing cluster space...
> > There is also another aspect when for example dealing with sensitive data you are to be helt responsible for. The Cloud
> > model is
> > not so friendly under those circumstances either. Again your data is put "on someone else's computer". Thinking of GDPR and
> > such.
> I don't think this is so clear an advantage to on premise as some
> think.

except GDPR when dealing with medical and personal data in which you will be helt responsible of anything happens with it. also
you'd think them NSA is offloading everything to "another person's computers"?

> I think the fact that we are all on this mailing list in order to
> learn and discuss issues puts us as an outlier - there are very few
> people participating on this list, and even allowing for discussions
> happening on other sites I (sadly) suspect you will find that the
> majority of people running HPC aren't as informed as they should be.


> Who do you trust more to keep your data safe - to keep systems
> patched, to keep firewalls up to date, to properly configure
> everything, etc.?  Is it your local HPC, where maybe they are
> struggling to hire staff, or can't afford to offer a "good enough"
> salary, or simply can't justify hiring a security specialist?  Or
> perhaps you go with Google or Microsoft, who have entire departments
> of staff dealing with these issues, who monitor their networks full
> time looking for flaws?


must have slipped past you somehow:






btw, perhaps not such a well though out business model then if you cannot afford certain staff but you surely need them?

mark somers
tel: +31715274437
mail: m.somers at chem.leidenuniv.nl
web:  https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/mark-somers

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