Project discussion: Cloud TREs: How do we fairly charge researchers?#


Maybe charge for certain amount of compute, then charge researchers extra? Do researchers understand?

Undercharging at the moment, so be firm and say no?

  • Offerring a service, so people should pay for it

  • Big problem getting people to understand the cost of not just hardware but also developer time

Easier to charge users since it’s more visible, whereas on-prem it’s hidden

  • Some central funding, but ultimately there should be an academic decision about what gets funded

  • Standard set of rules applied to all projects? Base compute funded, GPUs must be paid for?

Offer free VMs with 2 vcpu / 4GB RAM / 40GB storage, everything above that is charged

  • Previously in NHS where researchers didn’t understand costs, actually demo-ed to researchers impact on performance, then stated difference in cost, quicker than trying to explain tech compute

Interesting difference between cloud providers: in Azure when your subscription runs out of cash, VMs will be shut down, whereas AWS will allow you to overspend

Balance between “free” and charged for…. Tried charging for storage over a certain amount but people just used their own storage under their desk. Tried not charging and people didn’t bother applying for grant to cover cost

  • Now free, but researchers must ask for money when applying for grant on a best-effort basis

  • Not just about compute provision, also aiming to improve research practice in university

Currently free at point of sale, on AWS charged by the hour, grant scheme guesstimate how much researchers will use

  • Hopefully evens out across all projects

  • Projects that don’t use up their budget means more that can be used elsewhere

  • AWS based, project costs are always presented to end users but projects are able to break past their budgets (prevents research from being stopped)