With respect to the systems discussion, I agree with Reinhard, Dave and Bruce.
You will be far better served to be looking for systems people than by
trying to manage a system yourself. What you get when you look for someone
with a Computer Science background is expertise and a skill level that is
extremely hard to find or develop. Trying to do it yourself would be like
trying to create a molecular biologist out of an English Lit background: it
can be done, but...
For those facilities trying to grow, I would suggest looking in your computer
science department for systems people who want to run their own show. Usually
there is a Systems Group made up primarily of undergrads who basically serve an
apprenticeship under a Unix Wizard; frequently, there is one of them who would
rather be on their own than taking orders, and if you can deal with that type
of personality, it can be a good solution.
Unless you have money for an extraordinary startup core facility, you usually
don't need a full time systems person; as you grow, you will *know* when it
is time for one. Here, there are >30 workstations in four buildings with
nearly that many disks, with all filesystems mounted on all workstations;
that number is increasing rapidly. There are 3 OS's [Sun, SGI, NeXT], spread
over in four buildings; a smattering of X-terminals, all from different
manufacturers, and things getting served from everywhere, including
bi-directionally with the Supercomputer Center. The Macs and PC underneath,
we don't even count.
This is not an environment that is easily managed.
What you do get with a systems person like that is knowing what is current.
The language of choice these days is C++; the windowing system beyond X is
InterViews. They also do not come cheap, nor should you expect them to. There
is just a different payscale for BS degrees in CSci with all the industry
University of Minnesota
ernest at lenti.med.umn.edu