[Beowulf] Re: MS Cray

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Wed Sep 17 13:39:30 EDT 2008

"Lux, James P" <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:

>   The other, here at JPL,

I have heard about this contract before - and in my opinion, it is a
horrible deal.  The taxpayers get reamed and the vendor makes out like a


>At any given time, there's a dozen or so kinds of computers
>(desktop/laptop/PC/Mac) available, but since the configurations are
>changing, and they have a 3 year recycle time,

the key point being the 3 year lease.


>Interestingly, the monthly cost for both organizations is about the 
>same ( a few hundred bucks a month for hardware lease+service). 

Let "a few hundred" = $200, and of course there are 36 months in 3
years, so JPL pays the vendor $7200 for each machine, plus "support" for
this term.  At the end of the lease the vendor gets the computer back,
and they probably sell it for a few hundred dollars, just to sweeten the
already cushy deal.  The office staff may need support once and a while,
but one can assume that the average JPL engineer or scientist can more
than handle all their own PC software issues, and at worst would just
need to swap a machine if there was a major hardware issue.  In other
words, the average support cost to the vendor for the technical staff is
but a tiny fraction of what JPL pays them.

Who's the vendor, Halliburton?


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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