I saw this recent post on Twitter about the end of the life of the cluster titan, and it made me a little sad:
But it also prompts a lot of questions that would be interesting to discuss. For example, it’s logical that servers and disks only have a certain life, and often are replaced well before the infrastructure that they serve is taken down. It’s also the case that hardware changes so quickly that at some point, given that funding is sufficient, it might even be easier to build a new cluster then to try and restore an older one. So with this in mind, I want to ask my question. What is the typical lifecycle of a research cluster? What are the factors that determine clusters that have shorter lives versus longer lives? What are the challenges in maintaining an older cluster? A newer one? It occurs to me that documentation bases might be really hard to maintain just based on the fact that they need to be totally redone for some new entity every 5 to 10 years. It also seems likely that there might be some balance between providing the newest and trendiest that the user might want, and maintaining something that is stable and reliable. Now given some common lifecycle that you might have in mind, is there any potential future that would allow for change to be less frequent, and clusters to be more stable? Will clusters ever be able to have longer lives?
Looking forward to hearing what people think!