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

Jim Lux james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Apr 4 06:40:19 PDT 2008

Quoting "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>, on Fri 04 Apr 2008  
05:46:02 AM PDT:

> 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).

And, having an NDA with someone who has something to lose doesn't mean  
that they won't do a risk benefit analysis and decide that the outside  
selling price or intrinsic value is greater than the risk of losing  
the lawsuit.  Happens all the time in the entertainment industry,  
where lawsuits are just another negotiating tactic.  If you ever see  
me in person, buy me a beer and ask me about Reel EFX v. Universal.

It's not just IP here that's the issue (personal records and customer  
information usually isn't referred to as IP)

> Again, for SOME risk-tolerant environments what you describe can work,
> has worked, is working.

e.g. toy clusters for learning in schools, etc.

  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

ditch diggers make more than $10/hr, although, generally, one doesn't  
have to pay benefits, etc.  Ditch diggers who use power tools  
(backhoes and the like) make a LOT more than $10/hr

$10/hr is more like entry level customer service clerk wages in a call  
center. "would you like fries with that" is in that category.  And the  
employers have to spend money on training folks with things like "no,  
you cannot wear THAT to work".

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