A post from Murray Rust’s blog at the Unilever Cambridge Centre for Molecular Informatics asks this very question. He leans toward hosted providers
HPC comes out of the “big science” tradition. CERN, NASA, etc. Where there are teams of engineers on hand to solve problems. Where there are managed projects with project managers. Where there are career staff to support the facilities. Where there are facilities.
…So who knows how to manage large-scale computing? The large companies. Amazon, etc. COST D37 had a talk from (I think) Rod Jones at CERN who said that in building computing systems he always benchmarked the costs against Amazon.
It’s an interesting post if you’re wanting to dip your toes in someone else’s perspective on large scale computing.