Hardware is free

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From Doug Eadline over at Linux Magazine

When I’m talking to people about HPC I like to make what I call “provocative over generalizations.” My intention is to stimulate discussion and maybe get people to look at something from a different angle. One of my favorites line sounds like this, “You know in a sense, HPC hardware is now free.” Some curious looks, then someone says, “your crazy.” Then it is my turn. I qualify my statement with the fact that if an organization spends five or even six figures on a cluster, that is cheap compared to what a supercomputer cost in the past. And, it is cheap compared to the cost of the people required program and run the thing – which is the point of my argument. Some discussion of “What do you mean by cost?” usually follows. I have of course neglected infrastructure cost, but by this time they have taken the bait and we are talking about how you can put a large amount of computing power into someones hands real cheap these days.