I am starting at a new position, and I need to decide what to do regarding the computation, be it in cloud or in a local hardware (computer, server, or cluster). The group's computational resources are not set up, or at the institutional level (yet). My current variables to consider are:
- Time working
- CPUs needed
- GPU needed
- RAM needed
- Ease of passing over to other team members and future members
- Nature of work: Exploratory/Repeated, everyday usage
- IT/Facilities at the institution or collaborations
Am I missing any?
Currently I think that to do something locally each:
- Time: If some calculations take more than 4 days worth to have own hardware.
- CPUs: if the work needs below 4 cores it is not worth to buy special hardware as it can be done in a newish computer.
- GPU: Some software need it, so hardware should have some ports for the cards. But, I don't know much about price/usage, and there is high variability of sizes and capabilities AFAIK.
- Memory: Should have be able the data for the computation/job at hand or expandable if for backup/storage. Currently 2TB is easy to get even in a laptop. More than 4TB might be better.
- RAM: The more, the merrier, but some workstations I've seen have a cap of 128GB of RAM.
- A workstation is easy to leave to a colleague; if it is a server then there are some costs (if there is no expertise to administer it), clusters might need to have institutional support.
- Exploratory work can be better either via a local hardware or via a website with such capabilities so both local computer and cloud instances
- Without support server configuration can be a problem as well as cloud security of data. Existing IT infrastructure has to be taken into account. (As well as that promised X might take 3 or 4 times more than your group to buy and start using it)
Other considerations: This is not for data backup or storage.
Could someone provide some other heuristics to decide between cloud or buying hardware (besides cost comparisons)?
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