[Beowulf] How Can Microsoft's HPC Server Succeed?

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Apr 4 05:46:02 PDT 2008

On Thu, 3 Apr 2008, Kyle Spaans wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:13 PM, Scott Atchley <atchley at myri.com> wrote:
>> On Apr 3, 2008, at 3:52 PM, Kyle Spaans wrote:
>>> Forgive me perhaps for being naive, but why can't a knowledgeable
>>> teenager / college student be paid ~$10/hour plus on-call time to do a
>>> setup like this? Presuming they only need to hire someone to do
>>> setup/administration/support (and not the actual programming itself).
>>  What if your data is sensitive or has HIPPA requirements? Do you want a
>> part-timer having admin control of that data (regardless if it is Linux,
>> Windows, or MacOSX)?
> Isn't that what NDAs are for?

No, not for HIPAA.  Nor in any environment where liability is an issue
or the data has overt value.  If your "amateur" sysadmin steals your IP
and ships it off to friends in India or Bulgaria, no NDA will protect
you.  An NDA only works with individuals with assets to lose (think
about it, you SUE them, not put them in jail).

Again, for SOME risk-tolerant environments what you describe can work,
has worked, is working.  For others, especially professional
environments with a high cost in downtime, strong security requirement,
and so on, its a penny-wise, pound foolish solution.  This is really
pretty obvious if you think about it.  It's not that it isn't >>a<<
workable solution, just that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Besides, I train those college students and teenagers.  There is a vast
well of ignorance there when they start out.  In fact, they simply
cannot do what you want them to do for you (with very rare, and
expensive, exceptions) WITHOUT much more highly skilled and hence paid
support.  Unixoid operating systems are expert-friendly and extremely
complex.  Windows at the professional level is no better -- it is
actually even worse once you have to work past the level supported by
its GUI in addition to be awesomely cumbersome and tedious to manage
within the confines of the GUI tools.  You can't expect to pay even a
part-time college student ditch-digging wages for even an incomplete and
still-developing mastery of this complex system, with rare exceptions
where the student gets some other benefit e.g. mentorship and training
in addition to the money.


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Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
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