Should I Run on the Cloud?
There are different reasons to buy into the cloud. Not wanting to manage your own cluster, not having the facilities to house the cluster, or even not wanting to deal with the purchasing process are just a few reasons. But if you are cost conscious, is it cheaper to run in the cloud than it is to own your own equipment?
The folks at Holland Computing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ran some quick calculations.
They took into account the cost of a full-time employee, power, cooling, space, racks, and infrastructure for their equations. They neglected networking costs as the Amazon Web Service (AWS) they compared did not have the HPC networking available. Their results can be found here
. As you can see, it would cost about $4 Million to run on AWS with the same performance as one of [our or Aspen Systems built] HPC Clusters. The cluster hardware (with HPC Networking) came in at much lower than $4 Million to run on their own the hardware.
This isn’t always a fair comparison as not every cost was taken into account, but as noted in their study, the cost to educate people to help them run on the cloud can also add to the costs. Additionally, there are still some security risks of running on the cloud, as well as time to transfer files to and from the cloud. Yes, you can favor the cloud for smaller systems as the cost to hire a full-time employee for just a few servers can weigh even more heavily for such a system. There are times when the cloud makes sense, but having your own machine can come at a lower price.
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