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FP7 e-FISCAL project kicks off


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Posted on 30 August 2011

A cost model is a tool for analysing processes, controlling costs, measuring efficiency, and monitoring improvements by understanding the underlying cost structures. e-Infrastructures combine computing technology, communications networks, people and organisational structures to support innovation and research. In the terms of E-Infrastructures, whether it is clouds, grids or HPC systems these cost models have been unavailable and without them it is almost impossible to create viable business or sustainability plans. ICHEC understands the importance of e-Infrastructures at national and at European level as providing a strategic role in supporting innovation and improving competitiveness.

In this context, ICHEC joined the FP7 e-FISCAL project consortium to investigate cost models for clouds, grids and HPC systems. This project will provide an analysis of the costs of the various types of e-Infrastructures (clouds, grids, or HPC) and a comparison of these with the cost models of equivalent commercial leased or on-demand offerings. The report from this project will help in providing the first understanding of the cost structures for pan-European e-Infrastructures. It will provide a critical foundation to exploring new business models in the area of e-Infrastructures. ICHEC plays a role in this project as a HPC provider and as a member of the PRACE pan-European HPC project representing the European HPC centres. This project will help in developing appropriate sustainability plans for HPC infrastructures linking to the EU strategic policy in this area.

The project started on the 1st of August with the kick-off meeting from the 24th to 25th of August in Athens, Greece. This meeting focused on refining a draft questionnaire, the aim of which is to collect the necessary cost information from the various providers. This questionnaire will be presented at e-FISCAL workshop, part of the next EGI Technical Forum in September in Lyon, France. The goal is to have the national grid initiatives (NGIs), the European International Research Organisations (EIROs), and the European High Performance Computing Centres provide the necessary data to create these cost models.

This results from this project will provide the first cost models for e-Infrastructures and allow for realistic cost comparisons between equivalent commercial leased or on-demand offerings to be made. The advantage of these comparisons will allow academics and companies to judge where they can best support their innovation by balancing costs and services to support their research or business needs.

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