What workstations should we get?

Walter Panko wpanko at med.umich.edu
Mon Sep 30 16:10:14 EST 1991


The key thing here is not CPU performance.  If you can't get the code or
don't want to develop it yourself, it doesn't matter how fast the cpu is.
Problems get solved by software not hardware.  Unless you are a computer
scientist or full-time computational biologists, figure out what problems
you want to solve, what software does it, and only then pick out a 
workstation.  You will need a fudge-factor for where future software
development will take place.

We started out 50% - 50% with Suns and DECstations.  We are not about
75-25 in favor of Sun.  Why?  1.) More software -- and earlier (e.g. Frame
Maker 3.0 is available for the Sun now, the DECs in Dec, maybe.)  2.)  Easier
to maintain according to our sys admin staff.  3.)  Wide range of price/per-
formance (SLCs to SS-2 to Servers).

Inertia is a powerful force now, I'll admit.  The cost of looking at HP or
RS-6000s know (after 18-months with DEC and Sun) seems high.  We won't look
again until (?if) OSF 1 becomes a supported product by more than one vendor
OR  the transition from SUN OS 4.1.1  --->  Sys V is very painful.

Bottom Line:  There is no one right answer.  But be directed by the software
you need now and are likely to need in the future.

Walt Panko
Information Technology & Networking
University of Michigan Medical Center
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