Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Support Charges

SCS Computing Facilities (SCSCF) is a recharge center; for many of our services we charge monthly fees to recover the costs of providing this support. All such fees must be paid from internal CMU accounts; we cannot accept personal funds. 

Carnegie Mellon-owned assets (computers) are eligible for the following support services provided through SCS Computing Facilities. You can register your SCS computer for a number of support options.

Computer support service 

Service Description Report Code Monthly Cost
Hardware support and repair Machine support for platform-specific hardware repair, plus UPS hardware and support (requires a 6 month subscription) H $25.00
Software support Machine support for OS-specific software, administration and programming. Sitewide and per-machine software licenses (requires a 6 month subscription) S $35.00
Network Services CMU wired network connection, DNS, remote access, and other network services provided by Carnegie Mellon Computing Services N $0.00
Archive Backup Service (TiBS) Network backups and restores. B $26.00
Data Protection Service (CrashPlan) Cloud-based of data protection service, enables self-initiated restores via the client or the Web CP $0.00
Machine Room Support Machines reside in the SCS data center, where staff provide 24x7 monitoring MR1 $30.00

 

Personally-owned assets (computers) may not be eligible for some services. 

Adding or removing computer support service

  • As a default,  registering a computer will automatically include all standard support services (hardware, software, network and data protection). You can add and remove services during the registration process. 
  • If your computer qualifies for support but is currently unsupported and you need it to be repaired, please feel free to contact us. We will make an attempt to repair your machine in the same way we do for supported machines, however you must agree to subscribe to a minimum of six-months support.
  • To change service levels (add or remove) or retire a computer, please visit our Equipment Registration page. 
  • All changes to the support levels of a registered computer will need to be requested by a contact on the computer (someone responsible for the equipment and registered as such in our system). 
  • Hostnames will be provided when a machine is subscribed to one or more qualifying support services.

A virtual machine (VM) is a guest operating system installation within a base host operating system.

The charging structure for virtual machines will be as follows:

Service Description Report Code Monthly Cost
Virtual Software Support OS-specific software support and administration. Sitewide and per-machine software licenses. Requires Software Support on the base host. VS $17.50
Virtual Network Support SCS network connection, hostname and IP address, DNS, remote access, and other network services. Requires Network Support on the base host. VN $0.00
Virtual Archive Backup Service (TiBS) Network backups and restores. Requires Virtual Network support.  B $26.00

In order to have either Virtual Network Support or Virtual Software Support on your virtual machine, the base host must have the same service.

Virtual Machine Support Information

  • Charges for newly deployed VM's will automatically include Virtual Software Support. 
  • In order for us to build the virtual machine, it must be subscribed to a minimum of six months of Virtual Software Support.
  • Requests to add support for unsupported or broken hosts will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • In order to directly connect to the virtual machine, it must be subscribed to Virtual Network Support, which includes an IP address and hostname. Virtual Network Support must be explicitly requested.
  • In order to subscribe to Virtual Backup Support, the virtual machine must be subscribed to Virtual Network Support. Virtual Backup Support must be explicitly requested.
Notes:

For adjustments or refunds, you can submit a charging inquiry request.

We offer hosting of High Performance Compute Clusters (HPCCs, HPCs, or simply Compute Clusters) for the SCS user community. 

Component Services Monthly Cost
Head Node CH, H, S, N, B  $103.50
Cluster Device CD, H, S $60.00
Compute Node CN $10.00
Cluster Compute Node CS  $20.00
Cluster Rack CR  $200.00

Cluster Access

An SCS account is required for cluster access.  To request an SCS account,  use the SCS Account Application

 

As noted above, SCS Computing Facilities (SCSCF) is a recharge center. We charge monthly fees to recover the costs of providing certain services. As a recharge center, we are obligated to set our fees (detailed in the sections above) at an amount that will recover the costs of providing our services. Our rates are proposed and set according to federal rules for recharge center billing and the related CMU policy. The resulting revenues and expenses are audited frequently for adherence to those rules.

We do our best to charge for our support in an accurate and timely manner, and to provide the best information possible about both the services and the associated fees. Please review the information below regarding transactional-level accounting of our fees.

Communication

There are a few dozen staff members in SCSCF, and only a small fraction of those are involved in accounting for machines charges. Though we have the support of robust, carefully designed information systems, we are unable to confidently assess the need for specific services for each of the thousands of machines that we support. We must therefore err on the side of providing and charging for a service once it is requested until we receive explicit instructions to discontinue the service and the charging. Therefore, machine-based services and related charges will not be dropped unless explicitly requested by the owner/user of a machine, and charging instructions will be followed until new instructions are provided by the machine owner/user.

Allocating Costs

The most common method for appropriately allocating the costs of machine support is to assign those costs automatically to multiple Oracle account strings in the same proportion as the machine owner’s labor is charged to those strings. This is a relatively easy way to allocate costs, however, when labor redistributions occur, additional cost transfers for computing support costs usually also need to be completed (see “Transfers and Adjustments” below).

It is also possible to assign the costs of machine support to one or more account strings independent of the machine owner’s/user’s labor charging. This method is most often useful when a machine is being used solely for the purposes of a single research project.

Posting Charges

The rate schedules above describe monthly rates for our services. Our fees for computing support are charged during month end accounting processes and apply to the preceding month. Exceptional services may result in charging during a particular month. Monthly charges are applied via a (very) large journal entry submitted into CMU’s Oracle financial system on the first day of the monthly closing.
NOTE: Requests to change charging instructions which are received by the 25th of the month, will generally be processed in time for the closing of the current month. If a request is received after the 25th, we will do our best to accommodate; however, charges will typically post according to the existing (previous) instructions for that month.

Detailed Accounting Reports

Detailed accounting by user, machine and service is available through the SCSCF Web Reports . Please login using your Andrew credentials. These reports are available for you to review charges against the strings for which you are a key member in Oracle or if you have been assigned by SCSCF as a report manager for the Oracle string. In addition, we send an automated, monthly email report to PIs detailing the charges against their accounts strings.

Submit a ticket if you have questions regarding the use of these reports or general costing questions.

Notification of changes

SCSCF sends two types of notifications about machine-based fees:

Notifications about service changes: When a machine owner/user adds or removes services on a machine, a notification of the change will be sent via email. These notifications are generated weekly and sent electronically every Monday for the prior week.

Notifications about account expirations: Services must be paid for using a valid, active Oracle account string. Because Grants (GM) account strings typically have ends dates (usually award end dates), we have found it useful to anticipate necessary changes. Proactive notifications are sent to account owners and other designated reviewers beginning 45 days prior to the award expiration date. In the event service charges are not removed or changed before the award end date, a delinquent notification will be sent electronically to the reviewers requesting updated information.

Delinquent Charges (Limbo)

Delinquent charges (also known as limbo charges) usually result from the expiration of a previously valid Oracle account string. These charges represent actual services rendered, and must be reconciled in order to adhere to CMU’s recharge policy. When a limbo charge occurs, PI's and other reviewers will receive a series of notifications regarding the failed charges via email until a valid account string has been provided to cover the delinquent charges. Click here for details about the timing of delinquency notices.

Transfers and Adjustments

Despite the best efforts of machine owners/users and business staff in SCSCF to correctly allocate costs at the time the costs are initially posted, from time to time changes need to be made to the charging for our fees after the fact. Cost transfers involve reassigning the expenditures on an Oracle account string to another account string, and may more specifically involve one or more federally sponsored accounts.
SCSCF will always adhere to the Carnegie Mellon Cost Transfer Policy for Sponsored Programs. This policy requires that any transfers or adjustments to sponsored projects be processed within 90 days from the original transaction date. Generally cost transfers are allowed beyond 90 days after the original charge only under exceptional circumstances. We therefore strongly encourage our customers to review detailed accounting for computing support costs monthly.

Refunds

The way that SCSCF accounts for services provided to its customers is essentially a membership or subscription plan for specific services. Billing is done after the fact – that is, customers are not billed until the end of the time period for which coverage for a service was provided. We therefore do not generally honor refund requests.

Refunds are honored only when (1) a customer has previously sent a request in writing to SCSCF to discontinue service AND (2) that request was not processed in time to prevent the monthly charge from being assessed. All refund requests should be made within 30 days of the original charge.

Requests for refunds should be sent to help+costing@cs.cmu.edu and include the following Information:
  • Computer’s hostname or asset tag number
  • Date SCS Computing Facilities was notified of the service reduction
  • Name of requester of the service reduction
  • Total dollar amount of refund being requested

If you request costing updates by the 25th of the month, we will process them by the close of the current month. If the request is received after the 25th, you may be charged service fees for that month.

Delinquent Notices


Delinquent Notices will be run four times a month as per the following schedule:

  • 1st notice - issued the 1st business day after the Monthly Journal Entry (JE) has been accepted for the prior month. This notification lists the particular charges which have gone into limbo status and informs that a valid Oracle account string is needed for the services to continue.
  • 2nd notice - issued the 10th business day of the month to prompt resolution before end of the current monthly cycle.
  • 3rd notice - issued the 15th business day of the month, reminding that a valid account string is still required and that the current monthly accounting cycle is nearing closing.
  • Final notice - issued the 2nd business day of the following month (approximately 6 weeks after the failed charge). If resolution is not made, possible suspension of services may occur. The Associate Dean of Finance is also notified at this point.