Sea change seemingly occuring in HPC for purchasers

Last year, there was this meme, if only we could make cluster purchasing “easier”. Give people a one-stop shop for going online, and ordering their clusters.
Lots of us (me included) thought this was going to be the wave of the future. Looks like we were, collectively, wrong.

We are being asked for *more* help now, not less. We are being asked for more specialized designs, not less. This doesn’t fit the model we thought would prevail. Live and learn.
But this is good, it means that end users weren’t so limited by the process of purchasing, and they are limited by the “what” to purchase. Other people I have been speaking with seem to be noticing this as well. There is more interaction, not less. More questions, more tests, more benchmarks. All the things not associated with an online order form.
We are seeing it in our JackRabbit high performance storage system as well. This month we have had more inquiries, and generated more quotes than in the whole of last year. This is good. This is just 32 days into the year.
Our iSCSI benchmarks over 10GbE for this unit are customer driven. Unlike the vast majority of other benchmarks out there, ours go to real disk, so our results are far more meaningful than for nullio targets. Can you imagine what a customer just buying, I dunno, some brand X box would do? They would get it, it wouldn’t work well, and they would complain. In fact, googling, this appears to be the case for the benchmarks we see.
We are crafting some specific benchmarks for this customer, for their read and write patterns. Can an online form do this? No.
There is value in knowledge in HPC. This is not just a MCSE with a certificate trying to discern why something is slow, and not having the tools/expertise/slightest clue as to where to look.