I am a freelance Network/Systems Designer. I was contacted by a statistics lab at a university I attended. They asked if I could make time for an interview.
They wanted to build a moderately sized cluster for the department’s faculty/grad students. We did a phone interview, and man, they talked the talk. They wanted a Beowulf, they had bought a bulk order of 100 systems, and they had all the networking equipment. This sounded excellent, so I flew out about a week later to assemble everything.
We sat down in a conference and everyone seemed to know exactly what they wanted. Before signing the contract I asked to see the purchased equipment.
I’m so glad I did.
Me: Hm. We have a bit of a problem.
Client: Anything you need, we can fix. We have some remaining room in the budget.
Me: Alright, here’s the issue, there are three completely different sets of computers here. We have Sun SPARC systems, Mac PPC systems, and surprisingly new Dell systems. We can only use one of those sets, unless you return the whole lot and we start over.
Client: What?! Why?! You told us this would be easy!
Me: If you can’t return it, that’s fine. We have the dells that we can use, you just wont get all 100 into the cluster. If you want to add more, then as you’re able, you can buy new nodes. I can teach a faculty member or someone from IT to—
Client: Wait, wait. I think I have a solution. So we can’t use the Dells, Suns, and Macs together right?
Me: Yes because the proc—
Client: We can get someone in here to paint Dell on all of them. Problem solved!