Date Thu 27 November 2008 Tags blog

It is very interesting that even a people with business or management education don’t think about purchase of the computer/software in terms of cost-effectiveness and even less likely to calculate the cost of ownership.

Long time ago, one chap - IT director of the bank, completely changed my perception of the true costs in IT.

He said: "I am choosing database server for the bank, I can by cheap MS Windows Intel server + MS SQL server and it will cost roughly around $7000 (my thoughts: huge amount money for the student, doesn't sound cheap to me), or I can buy AIX server with DB2 for $70000. Shall we go for the cheapest option? Well, the penalty for not submitting tax report on time for the bank is $500000 and with MS SQL+Intel we have a higher chances of paying this penalty"

And I think you may find that using wrong technology you will pay a different penalty on regular basis.

When I changed my carrier from IT support to academia, I decided that the last thing I want to do is to support my own computer and so it was linux on my laptop for two or three years.

Think about the cost of the laptop for the moment:

Let's say I want to buy Dell laptop now, for example take VostroTM 1510 for £479, for this price I will get Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.1 GHz), if I want to go for a higher frequency 2.4 GHz I will need to add £90.

Then, because it's windows computer you need to add Norton IS for additional £19.94. Which probably will occupy most of this additional GHz for which I just payed additional 90 quid.

The bottom line - I don't want to spend additional £100 for the pleasure to have pop-up messages in most inconvenient time during my presentation. Thank you, I stayed with linux.

Then I found out that most scientific software runs not only on linux, but on Mac OS X, which is the proper unix with splendid GUI.

There are more reasons for using *nix systems for scientific work:

1) a lot of this software were initially written for unix, some of it was ported to windows and some of it multiplatform, so OS doesn't really matter.

2) does anyone of you know about successful scientific grid computing or cluster on windows? Ours run linux with sungrid and similar things.

When I saw Steve Jobs presentation announcing Apple transition to Intel processors, I had two things in mind:

  1. I want to use Keynote for my own presentation
  2. I want to buy last reliable Mac

So I bought powerbook 12" and happily use it for nearly 4 years. Do not get me wrong, move to intel processors was a very good step for Apple, but having engineer training I understood that it will take some time before new Apple computers will become stable and didn't want to test them.

I use Textmate and Quicksilver on Mac and can't imaging doing any work without them. My powerbook proved to be very reliably so far and it was switched off for about three weeks in total during more than three years. I am restarting it once in a month and that's about it. So far Mac for me is an excellent and productive platform and I enjoy working on it, which never happened before.

"But it's different for enterprise" - someone may say.

You absolutely right, it's much worse for enterprise than for individual. But about this will be my next post.

For now, do not let decision made 5-10 years ago affect you now.


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