Richard Chang | 1 Jul 03:54 2010
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Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Prentice Bisbal wrote:
No because Roadrunner was not a Blue Gene system ;). We need to look beyond Roadrunner selling more roadrunner-like systems and Jaguar selling more Jaguars. The success of Roadrunner and Deep Blue probably didn't sell more Roadrunners and Deep Blues, but I'm sure they had an effect on IBMs stock price, and help sell lower-end IBM systems. IBM dominates the Top 500 right now. I'm sure their success with Roadrunner, Deep Blue, and Blue Gene have something to do with that.
Hello Prentice,

You are right when you said that these big companies sell their stuff at a huge discount, atleast initially,is what I know.

Here in India, where I live and work, IBM had, 3-4 yrs back, sold a BG/L for way less than anything, virtually at the price of a normal cluster. This was done to cut out the competition and to boast about their system being sold i.e, the first ever BG/L being sold in India. The competition, as expected, was very livid that could IBM give it off at such throw away prices.

Did IBM make a profit, I doubt it. Its another matter that this prestige didn't give them enough mileage. It didn't start selling BG/L s like hot cakes. It certainly gave them a boasting ground.

The subsequent quotes were very high that they couldn't win the contracts. I was once told by a reseller that IBM's higher-ups decided against further discounts(they will need to start making money). :-)

So, the point here is that though prestige is ! = profit, it surely helps their reputation.

Richard.
<div>
Prentice Bisbal wrote:
<blockquote cite="mid:4C2B9E5F.2010602 <at> ias.edu" type="cite">

No because Roadrunner was not a Blue Gene system ;).

We need to look beyond Roadrunner selling more roadrunner-like systems
and Jaguar selling more Jaguars.

The success of Roadrunner and Deep Blue probably didn't sell more
Roadrunners and Deep Blues, but I'm sure they had an effect on IBMs
stock price, and help sell lower-end IBM systems. IBM dominates the Top
500 right now. I'm sure their success with Roadrunner, Deep Blue, and
Blue Gene have something to do with that.

</blockquote>
Hello Prentice,<br><br>
You are right when you said that these big companies sell their stuff
at a huge discount, atleast initially,is what I know.<br><br>
Here in India, where I live and work, IBM had, 3-4 yrs back, sold a
BG/L for way less than anything, virtually at the price of a normal
cluster. This was done to cut out the competition and to boast about
their system being sold i.e, the first ever BG/L being sold in India.
The competition, as expected, was very livid that could IBM give it off
at such throw away prices.<br><br>
Did IBM make a profit, I doubt it. Its another matter that this
prestige didn't give them enough mileage. It didn't start selling BG/L
s like hot cakes. It certainly gave them a boasting ground.<br><br>
The subsequent quotes were very high that they couldn't win the
contracts. I was once told by a reseller that IBM's higher-ups decided
against further discounts(they will need to start making money). :-)<br><br>
So, the point here is that though prestige is ! = profit, it surely
helps their reputation.<br><br>
Richard.<br>
</div>
Joe Landman | 1 Jul 04:41 2010

Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Richard Chang wrote:

> You are right when you said that these big companies sell their stuff at 
> a huge discount, atleast initially,is what I know.
> 
> Here in India, where I live and work, IBM had, 3-4 yrs back, sold a BG/L 
> for way less than anything, virtually at the price of a normal cluster. 
> This was done to cut out the competition and to boast about their system 
> being sold i.e, the first ever BG/L being sold in India. The 
> competition, as expected, was very livid that could IBM give it off at 
> such throw away prices.

... we (in the business) call that "buying the business".  You literally 
pay your customer to take your system.  It doesn't take many of these to 
get senior execs asking where the profit is.  That is, if you look at 
this as an investment, what is the return on this investment?

My argument is that the return is nearly to identically zero.  My 
rationale for this argument comes from the fact that once a customer 
learns that someone else got a great deal, they also demand a similar 
deal.  This is the segue to the NDA bit earlier.  So, unless you hide 
the details of your sale, your margins will be impacted on nearly every 
sale.

Does prestige translate into increased revenue?  Lets ask on this list 
(self selecting, probably not statistically valid, but may give a rough 
picture):

Question for the list members whom have bought (large-ish) clusters/HPC 
systems:  Was your selection influenced by the heroic class systems 
sales?  Did you purposefully buy from the same vendor because of this, 
or was this a significant contributing factor in your decision process?

Feel free to answer offline and anonymously if you'd like (I'll post the 
question on http://scalability.org as well ... not a commercial site, no 
adverts there, and we already have quite a bit of daily traffic ... no 
astroturfing going on here).

> Did IBM make a profit, I doubt it. Its another matter that this prestige 
> didn't give them enough mileage. It didn't start selling BG/L s like hot 
> cakes. It certainly gave them a boasting ground.

Thats my point.  Prestige doesn't normally translate into sales. 
Prestige gives you something to talk about, over that $4 USD cup of 
coffee from Starbucks.

Put another way, who won the various races over the wilderness isn't 
likely to influence many SUV buyers as to whether they should pick a 
particular brand.  Prestige is a talking point ... something like "hey, 
did you know ..."

> The subsequent quotes were very high that they couldn't win the 
> contracts. I was once told by a reseller that IBM's higher-ups decided 
> against further discounts(they will need to start making money). :-)

Yeah ... this happens.  If you start buying the business (won't mention 
any vendor names here), pretty soon you reach a point where a senior VP 
or the CEO looks at the profit and loss for each division/group, and 
notices one little one ... these HPC folks ... are bleeding capital. 
Unless that bleeding (also called 'investment' above in a somewhat 
semi-euphemistic manner) can be turned around (also called 'return on 
investment' above in a somewhat semi-euphemistic manner), and they can 
start showing a profit, that exec is going to think twice about 
continuing that line of business.

> So, the point here is that though prestige is ! = profit, it surely 
> helps their reputation.

Absolutely.

If Prentis and his team at IAS bought a huge storage cluster at a very 
low margin from us, it wouldn't likely translate to a sale somewhere 
else, even if we could use IAS's name (we couldn't).  The prestige is a 
badge of honor, not a sales tool.

> Richard.

Joe

--

-- 
Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics, Inc.
email: landman <at> scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
        http://scalableinformatics.com/jackrabbit
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615
Joe Landman | 1 Jul 05:11 2010

Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Prentice Bisbal wrote:
> I'd like to apologize to other beowulfers for going way off-topic. This
> will be my last post on this topic.

Actually given the light volume on the list, its not too bad ... and it
is on topic in the business sense.

At the end of the day, the fundamental question we are debating is, does
the "prestige" of working with a top university/national lab have any
real tangible value that you can ascribe to the bottom line, does it
actually impact sales.

I posit that the answer to this is a resounding "no".  You obviously
disagree.

This is the business side of HPC.  Its definitely relevant to
beowulfery, which seeks to minimize cost per cycle.

[...]

>> Hmm .... see above.  Did this media coverage inspire you to purchase a
>> Blue Gene?  Or an XT6?
>>
> 
> No because Roadrunner was not a Blue Gene system ;).

Irrelevant to the argument.  Did, the prestige of a particular system at
the very high end induce you to buy a similar one?  I don't think you
answered affirmatively on this.

> We need to look beyond Roadrunner selling more roadrunner-like systems
> and Jaguar selling more Jaguars.

Well, no.  This is what was implied, that the prestige has follow on
economic value.  I posit it doesn't.

> The success of Roadrunner and Deep Blue probably didn't sell more

s/probably//

> Roadrunners and Deep Blues, but I'm sure they had an effect on IBMs
> stock price, and help sell lower-end IBM systems. IBM dominates the Top

Well, here is where it gets murky.  Can you, with any specificity,
indicate what the impact upon IBM's stock price (e.g. increase in market
valuation) selling a machine under its actual cost, had upon the
company?  I *can* point you to their bottom line and show you where that
decreased by exactly the amount they may have lost in selling this
machine (IBM is smart, they generally don't do business when they will
lose money, they try to at least break even).

You can *always* see the net impact of these sorts of "prestige" sales.
  Revenue increases, and profits stay flat.

Like it or not, wall street punishes you when this happens.  This means
your gross and net margins drop.  So if the stock price rose more than
the net margins dropped ... then you *might* be able to ascribe value to
that.  The "I'm sure that..." doesn't fly here.  Any argument that
starts like that isn't going to win you friends in the financial
community.  The ones who do ascribe value to IBM's stock, and the price
in the increased business risks associated with lower margins.

> 500 right now. I'm sure their success with Roadrunner, Deep Blue, and
> Blue Gene have something to do with that.

Again, see above.  This is not likely to be the case.

> 
> If not direct technology transfer, I bet Bob at Acme thinks to himself
> "IBM has done a lot of great things in supercomputing. They're
> definitely the experts. I think we should hire them to build and
> integrate a new 128-node cluster for our comp. chem group.

We don't see that.  Anyone on this list care to comment?

This is a good question for the list:  Did you buy an IBM because of
Roadrunner?  Did you buy a Cray because of Jaguar?

Or are your purchase decisions largely a function of budget, suitability 
to purpose, technological considerations,  and ... how big of a discount 
you got?

I suspect the latter.  I don't think many folks were influenced to any 
significant degree by the heroic class systems, other than to say "cool".

--

-- 
Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics Inc.
email: landman <at> scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
        http://scalableinformatics.com/jackrabbit
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

Pfenniger Daniel | 1 Jul 06:06 2010
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Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Joe Landman wrote:
> Richard Chang wrote:
> 
....
> Does prestige translate into increased revenue?  Lets ask on this list
> (self selecting, probably not statistically valid, but may give a rough
> picture):

In non-US wealthy countries the Top 500 list is a powerful argument to
get HPC hardware from governmental funding agencies.  The country is too
low on the list according to the national ego?  Then for sure
there will be some additional money for correcting the disgrace.
And then the hardware will be purchased at list price.

> ...

Dan

Lux, Jim (337C | 1 Jul 06:24 2010
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Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?


On 6/30/10 8:11 PM, "Joe Landman" <landman <at> scalableinformatics.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> Or are your purchase decisions largely a function of budget, suitability
> to purpose, technological considerations,  and ... how big of a discount
> you got?
> 
> I suspect the latter.  I don't think many folks were influenced to any
> significant degree by the heroic class systems, other than to say "cool".
> 

I can posit that such heroic systems might convince your upper management to
allow you to buy *any* cluster, especially if it's from the "itty bitty
monopoly"<grin>

But as Joe points out, when it actually comes to buying, the gimlet eyes of
the green eyeshade brigade will be cast over the bids.  It's all about cost
(whether capital or life cycle).  Nobody is going to pay more just because
the vendor did a stunt of one sort or another.

Sangamesh B | 1 Jul 06:51 2010
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Multiple FlexLM lmgrd services on a single Linux machine?

Dear All,

          We're in a process of implementing a centralized FlexLM license server for multiple commercial applications. Can some one tell us, whether Linux OS support multiple lmgrd services or not? If its not directly, is there a way to do it?

For example, can we install FlexLM license servers of both ANSYS and STAR CD on a single linux server?

Thank you

<div><p>Dear All,<br><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We're in a process of implementing a centralized FlexLM license server for multiple commercial applications. Can some one tell us, whether Linux OS support multiple lmgrd services or not? If its not directly, is there a way to do it? <br><br>For example, can we install FlexLM license servers of both ANSYS and STAR CD on a single linux server?<br><br>Thank you<br></p></div>
Mark Hahn | 1 Jul 07:21 2010
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Re: Multiple FlexLM lmgrd services on a single Linux machine?

> Linux OS support multiple lmgrd services or not? If its not directly, is
> there a way to do it?

I don't really understand what you're asking.  yes, linux provides fully
functional TCP/IP.  yes, flexlm can run either with a merged license file
(single base port, multiple vendor ports), or with multiple completely
separate instances (listening on say, ports 27000+27001 and 28000+28001).
the latter is often more convenient, since it means you can adjust one
instance without affecting the other.
Mark Hahn | 1 Jul 08:20 2010
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Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

> (whether capital or life cycle).  Nobody is going to pay more just because
> the vendor did a stunt of one sort or another.

I agree: vendor stunts are advertising.  but think of them as like 
a mating display - elaborate feathers or a big rack of antlers.
they make a claim of fitness that speaks mainly to a customer's
risk-aversion: if IBM/Cray/etc can make some giant cluster work, then surely
our little cluster project will succeed.  if you have more in-house
expertise, you may not value this as much.

in a sense, this factor is anti-beowulf, since the expectation for really
commoditized parts is that they'll Just Work.  with some modest care, you
can be pretty confident that the software stack will Just Work.  especially
with open-source, which provides greater access and fixability.  so most 
of the value of brand boils down to hardware/firmware-level issues that
customers are not well-equipped to deal with those, either at bid-eval time 
or once the deal is done.

my perception, though, is that vendors try to pretend such problems don't
happen, rather than bragging about how well they solve them...

regards, mark hahn.
Bill Broadley | 1 Jul 08:24 2010
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Re: dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

On 06/29/2010 10:50 PM, Greg Lindahl wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:30:12AM -0500, Rahul Nabar wrote:
>
>> The Top500 list has many useful metrics but I didn't see any $$ based
>> metrics there.
>
> Other communities with $$-based metrics haven't had much success with
> them.
>
> In HPC, many contracts are multi-year, multi-delivery, or, they
> include significant extra stuff beyond the iron.

Just have the vendor provide a list of included equipment, and a price 
with the stipulation that anyone that wants that list of equipment gets 
it for exactly that price.  Maybe include some low level of service like 
equipment replacement via return to depot for 3 years.

So vendors would work out nice discounts for their favorite customers, 
and the customer could brag to their bosses about how much under the 
retail price they got.

Bob Drzyzgula | 1 Jul 12:10 2010

Re: Multiple FlexLM lmgrd services on a single Linux machine?

One could also, clearly, set up multiple KVM- or Xen-based
virutual machine images on which to run lmgrd. But one
might then ask why one would want to do this, given
that part of the point of mulitple lmgrds is to provide
phyisical server redundancy, unless as Mark appears to
be thinking, you simply believe you need one lmgrd for
each vendor...

On 01/07/10 01:21 -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:
>> Linux OS support multiple lmgrd services or not? If its not directly, is
>> there a way to do it?
>
> I don't really understand what you're asking.  yes, linux provides fully
> functional TCP/IP.  yes, flexlm can run either with a merged license file
> (single base port, multiple vendor ports), or with multiple completely
> separate instances (listening on say, ports 27000+27001 and 28000+28001).
> the latter is often more convenient, since it means you can adjust one
> instance without affecting the other.
> _______________________________________________
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