Changes to OSC charging policy

Changes to OSC charging policy

The provision of high performance computing facilities at Oxford, through the OSC, from 1st August 2011 will be supported through a hybrid model funding the basic provision of the service through indirect charges with additional direct costs from grants for the large users of the facility.

The indirect usage charges will be distributed across the Divisions according to a usage driver. The aim of this change is to open up access to users across the University and encourage use of the OSC facility, in which the University has already made significant investment while discouraging departments from purchasing their own smaller high performance computing facilities, thereby reducing institutional costs.

OSC will now provide access to a standard service funded indirectly with a high-level service provision for the large users who are paying directly via external funding.

As a result of this new funding model the OSC is publishing a clearly stated and controlled usage policy alongside guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs). These will be implemented via the resource allocation software stock and the resource allocation policy. The following table provides a summary of the SLA for the two levels of service:

Funding Source Job Scheduler Priority Max Job Run Time Max no of CPU cores Access to Advice/Support CPU Hour Allocation
Research Grants Highest 120 256 Priority As purchased
Indirect Charges Medium 60 128 When Available Fairshare usage

Full details of the SLA and Fairshare Policy can be found on the OSC website.

Finally, the University has noted the importance of retaining this facility as a core element of the University’s research infrastructure, particularly in the build up to the REF 2014.

Research Services have estimated that the research portfolio currently being supported by the OSC is valued at around £55m.

Given that the future of national facilities is uncertain and the restriction by Research Council on equipment funding, the importance of retaining and developing such a facility in Oxford is very clear.

If you have any questions about how you might best access OSC systems, or the implications of the change to your work please contact Andrew Richards