HPC machines typically have a life span of approximately 5 years due to declining energy efficiency compared to newer machines, obsolete parts, lack of support, and the arrival of new technology. Sigma2 has traditionally had a procurement strategy of two “legs” of machines with an offset in age by 2-3 years between them, named the A- and B-leg.
Supercomputer Fram was A1, while Betzy was B1. This strategy ensures that we avoid overcapacity in the first years of operation as well as avoiding under capacity in the later years if we compare to the alternative strategy of procuring two machines simultaneously every 4-5 years. It also ensures that we can provide newer and more relevant technology for our researchers. Finally, it allows for a more regular adaptation to the actual needs, which is regularly monitored by the use of user surveys and trending based on actual usage.
Typically, a procurement project of this size and type has a time cycle of approximately 24 months where the first 12 months are spent on preparing the public procurement, including all documentation and contracts and collecting requirements. The last 12 months consist of procurement execution, lead time, installation, testing and preparation for operation activities.
The concept phase starts in January 2022.