Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

High Performance Computing Penn Medicine Academic Computing Services

Billing, Pricing and Service Descriptions

PMACS HPC usage costs are “pass-through” in that the PMACS HPC system cost structure seeks to cover the operating costs of the system with budget-neutrality as the goal.  Costs are as follows:

Service Cost
Compute-Hour (Virtual Core) $0.035
Disk storage — Per-GB/mo. RAID-6 disk (not backed up) $0.055
Archive Storage/GB/mo/ (mirrored tape) $0.015
Consulting/Customization $95/hr.

Compute ($0.035/hr.)

The computational hour can also be referred to as a “core-hour” or “virtual-core-hour.”  The system is configured in such a manner as to allow more computational-hours than the number of physical processors in the system.  This virtualization provides a greater computational capacity than if each physical processing core was utilized individually, therefore minimizing queue wait times for jobs to complete.  Each virtual core is assigned up to 8GB of RAM, however alternate RAM configurations are available as-needed. 

Disk storage ($0.055/GB/mo.) 

The PMACS HPC houses 1.8 Petabtyes (1,800 Terabytes) of disk storage.  Some of this storage is used for system utility functions; however most of the storage (about 80%) is available for the storage and processing of HPC jobs. 

Data is accessible via both NFS (Linux/Unix/Mac) and CIFS (Windows) drive shares.  Shares can be mapped to biomedical equipment, such as high-throughput sequencers capable of mapping NFS and/or CIFS shares provided the equipment is also managed by PMACS staff and is on a PMACS managed network. 

Once data exists on the PMACS HPC disk storage it is then accessible by the compute cores and queue management software, and can become part of computational jobs.

Storage rates apply to any data stored whether short or long-term.  Rates are calculated regularly throughout the month.

Disk storage costs do not include backup services.  Data protection included in disk storage costs is based upon a technology called Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) which protects data should a drive or drives in the system fail.  Backup services are available, however backup services incur the “Archive/Backup Storage” rate detailed below, and are on an as-requested basis.  

Data Transfer

There is no charge assessed for data transfer to/from the PMACS HPC system.

Archive Storage ($0.015/GB/mo.)

The PMACS HPC system houses 1.8PB of mirrored tape storage for both archive and backup uses.  Archive storage provides clients with a primary data storage target that will look and function as any other hard drive, though often at a slower rate of data transfer.  The archive is 100% client accessible, and clients need only to mount the drive on their computer and begin to copy/move data to/from the drive.  PMACS HPC staff will provide the necessary information to mount the drive, and assist clients with initial setup.  Data can be moved from an existing drive share on the PMACS HPC disk system, a scientific instrument, a desktop, or any other device that can map an NFS or CIFS share.

Archive storage is NOT meant for any data that will be regularly accessed, nor any data upon which computation must be performed.  The archive is “active” in that end-user files are available in real-time, however the purpose of the archive is long-term storage of infrequently access files. 

Archive performance is variable, and will depend upon how heavily the system is being used at any given time.  No data ingress or egress service levels/performance are guaranteed, however average data retrieval times will be available once the system has been operational for a period of time over which performance metrics can be calculated.    

Billing Process

Charges for HPC services will be provided to the BA of record for each user on a monthly basis.  These charges will be applied approximately one week after the bills are e-mailed to the BA.  The 26-digit code(s) that each user (or their BA) provide upon HPC signup can be changed by requesting the change to  Charges can be split across multiple codes, if necessary.