Does “Best Practices” really mean “this is how we want to do it so nah nah to you”?

I’ve noticed this, that when people talk about “best practices” in HPC, usually there is … well … a slant to their analysis. Put another way … can you get real unbiased information on “best practices” from a biased partisan, who might not have been exposed to alternative methods, and may have a financial interest in a particular set of practices?

We see this with consultants seeking to sell their own services as “best practices”, with hardware and software vendors seeking to incorporate their products into “best practices” workflows. With software groups or vendors seeking to obtain or retain dominance in a particular area.

What I don’t see are independent objective analyses of these so-called “best practices”. Or, more correctly, I see independent objective, and critical assessments often given short shrift, or aggressively attacked.

It has become a marketing code word … get your product listed somewhere as part of a “best practice”. Sell your services as “best practices”. Support your software as part of “best practices”.

Which is sad, in that if enough people buy into the marketing and the hype, real best practices may take far longer to emerge.

As noted, we see this in HPC quite a bit, with cluster software, with consultants, with storage and storage connections …

A best practice should enhance the optimum state, and diminish the impact of worst state. It is a way to provide an optimax in capability, reliability, performance, adaptability. Relegating it to an indirect or stealth marketing term will do the same thing to it as was done to “grid”. Grid has meaning. Just not the one that marketeers attached to it.

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