Now for another major aspect to the VCL, one which can add a great
amount of value.

  Do you want to do distributed memory parallel HPC (high performance
computing) on this system?  (This is now the major way of providing 
computational science and other HPC capabilities.) This has worked 
*extremely* well at NC States (see some of our documents describing our
total system - our HPC web site is at hpc:// ) in greatly
extending the use of the blades (e.g. when our class use almost
disappears at the end of the semester, the TAs and faculty ramp up their
research use.)  This additional use provides a substantial uptick in the
overall economy of the VCL.  Even if your institution doesn't need this
service, you might be collaborating with another institution, or
several, which do - and so the sharing can significantly enhance the
economics.  (My personal view is that computational science should be
very prevalent in graduate work in the STEM fields, and be common in
undergraduate studies.)

  At NC State we take a university-wide view of TCO - Total Cost of
Ownership.)  Having the teaching and research areas collaborate to save
overall budget is seen as a very desirable outcome.  We have found that
many universities separate budgeting into unconnected teaching and
research funding, and so don't seem to have the same motivation to
economize over the entire university budget.

  An economical and wise choice is to include both HPC and "desktop
augmentation" (that's a good term to cover class laboratory, homework,
and all individual uses of single images) in your VCL planning.  If you
do include the HPC capabilities, there's a need to choose, install and
learn the HPC workload management software you choose.  NC State has 
been using LSF ( Others
such as Rocks ( should also work.

  This is the end of my laundry list of preparations required before
going into full production.
--henry schaffer

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