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Government Supercomputing United States Science

What Kind of Cloud Computing Project Costs $32M? 158

coondoggie writes "The US Department of Energy said today it will spend $32 million on a project that will deploy a large cloud computing test bed with thousands of Intel Nehalem CPU cores and explore commercial offerings from Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Ultimately, the project, known as Magellan, will look at cloud computing as a cost-effective and energy-efficient way for scientists to accelerate discoveries in a variety of disciplines, including analysis of scientific data sets in biology, climate change and physics, the DOE stated. Magellan will explore whether cloud computing can help meet the overwhelming demand for scientific computing. Although computation is an increasingly important tool for scientific discovery, and DOE operates some of the world's most powerful supercomputers, not all research applications require such massive computing power. The number of scientists who would benefit from mid-range computing far exceeds the amount of available resources, the DEO stated."
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What Kind of Cloud Computing Project Costs $32M?

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  • Erm (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @02:56PM (#29748235)

    This is the government.

    What kind of [random project variable here] project costs less than $32m?

  • Government Spending (Score:5, Informative)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @03:01PM (#29748305)

    You know, usually I'm against most government spending programs. They tend to be a huge waste.

    But this... It sounds interesting and could actually benefit basic research- something this country sorely needs to support. My (perhaps incorrect) observation is that some groups like the DOE and DARPA tend to allocate funds to valuable research projects rather than pissing money away on terrible administrative database implementations. I guess I should keep in mind that the majority of DOE funding is used to build and maintain our nuclear weapons fleet.

  • by chucklebutte ( 921447 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @04:47PM (#29749737) Homepage
    I came a little after reading this.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:26PM (#29750231) Homepage Journal

    It is NOT going broke. That's a myth thats been perpetrated since it's inception.

    I remember when I was a teen, it was supposed to ahve been completly over whelmed by 85, then 2000, now it's 2015.
    Read up nio the works of the peple that actually study it. It need MINOR adjustment from time to time but it
    s not going to collapse.

    Well over 99% of all federal project succeed, on time and within budget, and with less waste.

    Failed projects do not equal waste.

    "the hardware costs are probably not more than $1 million,"
    for a project this size? you clearly have no experience building out systems.

    We are tlaking about thousands of systems, and good ones not POS bottom of the line Dell's.

    You need to pay for the infrastructure. Back bone, racks buildings and other sunk costs.
    (Are you lumping this into administrative?)

    Now we need people. They are using linux, so probably 1 fte per 200 machines.
    Then system design.

    Quite frankly, this is a good price for what they nede to do.

    Maybe there will be 'cost over runs'. Over runs are often do to provider cost changes. Contract where something is delivered years after the beginning often have a clause to allow more money to cover those costs. I am talking about hard costs, cabling, concrete, etc . . .

    The bidest example is rock. The price of rock can be volatile, so it's not uncommon to see bids where they amount paid in the contract is adjusted to cover the providers cost. If you don't do this, bids would be nearly impossible.

    "It happens all the time."
    no, but the bias is that it does because the 10,000 times it doesn't happen no one says anything.

    I was in the private sector for a great many years, in the few years I've been in the public sector o have been constantly amazed at the tight book keeping, the amount of knowledge people have, the accountability, the incredibly high skill set.
    Turns out there are very smart, dedicated and qualified people who take a government job becasue they are tired of not having a life.

  • by drig ( 5119 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @05:55PM (#29750543) Homepage Journal

    This is the best summary of project costs I've read. It applies, as the author said, to private as well as public projects.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"