One of the biggest challenges when procuring High Performance Computing systems is to ensure that not only a faster machine than the previous one is bought but that the new system is well suited for the organization needs, fit within a limited budget and prove value for money. However, this is not a simple task and failing on buying the right HPC system can have tremendous consequences for an organization.
The acquisition of HPC systems is a complex and time consuming process where different people inside and outside the organization are involved, from legal, management and technical departments to end user’s and suppliers. Typically a HPC procurement can take between 1 and 2 years from the initiation of the project to the start of the system on production and in most cases the following steps are needed: search for funding, gather the needs of the users, decide the system requirements, start the purchase procedure, order the system and install it. During this time, the organization and user’s needs and requirements can evolve and also do change technologies adding even more complexity and uncertainty to the process.
This talk will provide to the attendees an overview of the whole purchasing HPC system and the different challenges that need to be addressed. The presenter experience and lessons learned after having actively participated in more than 15 HPC purchase procedures of different sizes in the last 20 years will be presented.