Economies of scale are inherent in the VCL and in Cloud Computing
generally. To benefit from them requires scaling up! :-) These posts
have emphasized productive ways to get to the point of scaling up.
During our early experience one time after adding 100 blades to our
VCL/HPC system we checked on the increase of our work load. It went up
by 2-3 hours per month. This was very gratifying as our experience with
the standard individual desk top machines in student labs was that two
additional labs of 50 machines each required about an extra 1 FTE of
staff time. However, as we've continued to scale up with another 1,000
blades we find the incremental work load per additional 100 blades to be
considerably smaller than that. How little? I'm not sure, but the same
staff we had in the beginning is still in place.
This emphasizes the value of running large VCL installations
collaboratively. This can be stated, as one of my colleagues recently
wrote, that in a small VCL installation personnel costs are a major cost
factor. At scale, the personnel costs become a minor cost factor.
Have I mentioned the pay off of approaching this project
incrementally? :-) The benefits are great, the options you have stay
open longer, and the end results are better.
The next post will return to the original "getting started" theme by
giving an example of specifications for the first blade server chassis
and blades which can be used as the basis for learning, experimentation,
testing and initial production pilots.