Do the heroic class systems provide a benefit to their vendors in terms of follow on sales?

This discussion erupted on the beowulf list today. I responded to a question on this, pointing out that prestige adds nothing to the bottom line. What matters is, not so curiously, the bottom line. One author disagreed with me. His point was that prestige class systems translated into sales for the relevant vendors. I think … Read moreDo the heroic class systems provide a benefit to their vendors in terms of follow on sales?

siCluster in action (blinken-blue-lights)

Running some burn-in testing as I remember (older video) … [FLOWPLAYER=/wp-content/videos/siCluster_in_action.flv,320,200] You can just feel the bits-a-flowing … paraphrasing Apocalypse Now “I love the smell of many GB/s in the morning …”

Hmm … patenting a market process ….

/. linked to a newly granted patent by Amazon. I am all for good patents, but given the number of … er … not so good ones I’ve read through, as well as obvious rehashing of existing work … I don’t know what to make of this one.
This seems … well … like patenting any instance of a market exchanging money for computer time and/or storage, based upon a pricing model determined by past histories or current demand/availability. Ok, it uses a web service.
But apart from this … This feels … well … overly broad.
Ignore that for the moment. Focus upon what it grants Amazon. Basically the right to license the concept of implementing an instance of a market.
So, my question is, given the direction I see HPC going (deskside supers and remote EC2/Eka like machines), who is going to sue first. Will Amazon start taking public and private clouds to court to secure their ‘rights’ to this ‘invention’? Or, in their own self interest, will Microsoft et al. start going after Amazon to knock this patent over?
Some times in an arms race, you have to have the participants agree that certain weapons are off limits. Biologicals and similar fall into this category. I’d argue that this patent, is roughly the equivalent of a weaponized biowarfare system.
This is bad for a number of reasons. The simplest is as follows.

Read moreHmm … patenting a market process ….

RAID is not backup … really …

A customer with a RAID6 and RAID1 OS drive just had what amounts to an epic failure. 4 drives gone. These are pretty good drives, not a known bad batch. Data points to environmental issues (heat). They don’t understand it, given the nice AC in there, but looking at the drives, a number of them were warm. We have fans doing a pull across the drives, they shouldn’t have been as warm as they were. Customer noticed that the fans had popped out (they had been firmly in place on our last visit and inspection … it takes some significant force or jarring to remove them … they don’t just pop out)
RAID6 was toast. We tried recovery to no avail. Saw some data signatures, but not enough to meaninfully recover it.
The bad side was that the customer didn’t have a backup of all of their data. There was an increase in entropy in the universe … data was destroyed.
They expressed disbelief that RAID would allow them to lose data.
Folks, if you are not backing your data up … if you are not making copies of important things, you are (massively) increasing risk of lossage.

Read moreRAID is not backup … really …

You've been comcasted!

Strong storms ran through the area Friday night. And it messed with TV and internet. The former, not so concerned about. The latter … runs from a home machine. We don’t generate revenue from it, and I am not willing to host it on a provider so I don’t want it to be marginally … Read moreYou've been comcasted!

Open source and billion dollar ($109USD) companies

An interesting post in computer world UK on why open source companies, and Redhat in particular are not larger. The raison d’etre for open source in business is an effective reduction in costs. The increase in quality over some of the closed source alternatives is also very attractive. Increased quality lowers costs. Of course, not all open source is better … witness the changes Ubuntu has made in their NVidia support, opting for the lower quality nouveau driver as compared to the very good NVidia driver.
But the points in the post are worth considering, especially by open source companies seeking to turn their project into a product. Pitching billion dollar (e.g. $109USD) future revenues for something that is ostensibly a point product … no, this doesn’t work well. Redhat is arguably the most successful open source company, and it is working on breaking the $1B USD mark.
This isn’t because open source is not profitable, or that it is destructive of value. It can be profitable, and it is creative of value. But it does so in a different manner than a closed source product.
At the same time, building a business model around an open source product/project is very hard. To achieve break even is hard enough. To achieve break even when you have a freely distributable product is even harder. You have to reign in the tendency to provide free support. That is where you will make money as an open source product provider. And to build a billion dollar company on a support model … well … lets just say that this is hard.

Read moreOpen source and billion dollar ($109USD) companies