The Flux Operating Environment (FOE) supports researchers with grants that require the purchase of computing hardware. FOE allows researchers to place their own hardware within the Flux cluster.

To use FOE, we suggest researchers:

  1. coordinate with ARC prior to including hardware in a proposal or purchasing hardware;
  2. purchase hardware that is compatible with the rest of the Flux installation;
  3. obtain a subscription to FOE for each compute node.

A subscription to FOE provides access to the Flux infrastructure  — data center, staff, networking, storage and basic software — except the compute hardware.

FOE is available for:

  1. Researchers who receive funds from external funding agencies for purchasing equipment.
  2. Researchers who have workflow and/or infrastructure needs that differ significantly from those that can be met by other Flux services (i.e. Standard-Memory, Larger-Memory or GPU Flux allocations).

The hardware added to FOE is for the exclusive use of the research group that added it and will not be part of the Flux allocation pool.

Budgeting for the Flux Operating Environment

The FOE subscription rate and node purchase charges allow for funding from a range of sources: federally funded research projects; general funds; departmental instructional funds; faculty discretionary and research incentive accounts; cost-sharing funds; and faculty start-up or retention package funds. All FOE purchase and subscription costs are charged to a U-M shortcode; no other payment method (cash, credit cards, etc.) is accepted.  The costs are determined by the FOE rate that applies to the purchasing researcher and the number and price of the compute nodes being added.  FOE use is billed monthly by ITS. The details of the FOE charges will appear on the normal monthly Statement of Activity.

Hardware purchases for FOE are a one-time expense.  If made from federal funds, the timing of the purchase relative to the end of the grant period must be consistent with federal regulations.  FOE subscription charges are a recurring expense.  If made from federal funds, subscription charges can not be prepaid to extend beyond the end of the grant period.

Order Service

The rate for a subscription to FOE is $113 per node per month.

A “no-software” version of FOE, without commercial software, is available for $97 per node per month.

As long as the subscription charges for FOE are paid, compute nodes will be maintained in the Flux Operating Environment until they are 4 years old. Keeping nodes older than 4 years in the Flux Operating Environment will be at the discretion of Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS).

The subscription rate has been set by ARC and approved by the U-M’s Office of Financial Analysis (OFA) and may be charged to federal grants. The hardware purchase price will be finalized at the time of purchase and will be processed by U-M purchasing.

Researchers in the following units will not be charged for FOE subscriptions for equipment purchased through external grants submitted between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016.

  • Medical School
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Literature, Science and the Arts

For these researchers, the FOE subscription costs will be covered by their unit.  All other FOE rules (the need to coordinate with ARC and to purchase compatible hardware, the four-year operation of the nodes) apply.

To order Service:

Email hpc-support@umich.edu

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