Friday, April 28, 2006


T2000 (Niagara) Evaluation (Prelude)

(I started out to write about my experience evaluating the T2000. It turns out that I had a few things to say as a prelude, so I've broken this into multiple posts.)

It appears that at least one person has read my blog, as I have a request to post details about the T2000 evaluation I reently performed. I won't be able to say as much as I'd like to, as some of the information might be considered "material" for SEC purposes, and I'd rather err on the safe side. For example, I'd love to say how much we'd save in operating costs over three years by using the Niagara servers, but that's probably saying too much. But I should be able to say enough to make writing this worthwhile.

Before we received the T2000, there was some discussion of breakeven ratio, i.e., how many of our current servers (e.g., v210's) would we need to replace with a T2000 for it to be worth doing so. The initial conversations took into account nothing more than the price of the hardware, but after a quick whiteboard estimate of space and power savings, I worked up a spreadsheet to determine the breakeven ratio (or to calculate the savings based on the measured ratio, depending on how you look at it.) (And I'll state here that my first attempt at this spreadsheet was a freshman effort. A colleague with more accounting experience reworked it to be what it should be.)

(I'll add here that I'm a little bit embarassed to admit that we hadn't been taking space and power costs into consideration for our earlier hardware purchases. OTOH, there still appear to be quite a few people out there who make the assumption that the cheapest white box they can get is the way to go.)

Once we started looking at the space and power costs for servers, the breakeven ratios for the T2000 vs. our current servers dropped quite a bit. As a purely theoretical example, if we assume that we'll end up paying $16,000 for a T2000, and we're comparing this to an x86 server that we'd pay $2,000 for, the breakeven ratio based purely on hardware cost is 8:1. But if we factor in space and power costs, that ratio falls to 4.2:1. (This example is using real space and power costs, but it assumes that the application currently running on those x86 servers could be moved to a SPARC server with no cost.)

To sum up the above into an obvious statement: It's important to look at more than just the cost of hardware when deciding what hardware to purchase. See more on this here.

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Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

"And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing
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