[Beowulf] Re: MS Cray

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Wed Sep 17 12:54:29 PDT 2008

Robert G. Brown wrote:

> The real question is why an admin-rich environment with lots of full
> time admins would ever buy into such a deal.  If you've got a full time
> admin ANYWAY, paying $150/month for support on top of this (beyond the
> cost of the hardware is just insane.

Have you ever administered a lab full of these units?  You need as much 
help as you can get to administer the windows machines.  Sadly, while 
claims of there being more windows admins are true (thats not the sad 
part) you need (far) more to administer fewer windows machines than the 
fewer admins needed for more Linux machines (that is the sad part).

We have seen 2 full time admins handle 4000+ Linux machines with time to 
develop software to make their lives easier (Incyte), as compared to 
seeing 10 windows admins struggle to keep 100 machines each up to date.

The cluster version of w2k* should alleviate or at least make it 
tolerable for clusters.  Desktops are another matter.  Part of the 
reason that it is locked down so tight in large organizations is that 
when it fails (not "if") they want to reduce the degrees of freedom of 
the failure modes.  Keep it simple, in their own way.

But that is straying a bit.  Large organizations often are not admin 
rich, they tend to try to cut out costs.  Admins == costs.  Admins need 
as much help as they can possibly get.  If for $150/machine in a large 
organization, you can take away some level of their pain, this might be 
worth more than the cost of the additional healthcare coverage, 
heartburn medicine, and upper/lower GI series needed ...

Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 734 786 8452
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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