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WestGrid Software Purchase Policy


These policies outline a formal procedure for requesting software for which there is a need within WestGrid. With a new round of CFI funding, WestGrid will work to provide support to select application software, which would benefit many users, and negotiate software licenses for WestGrid.


  1. Requests for new software should be made online here. Requests for software purchased by WestGrid will be coordinated by the Software Librarian and reviewed by the WestGrid Site Leads. Software will be evaluated using the following criteria to ensure a clear justification for all software purchases, which considers the costs and the benefits:

    Demand and usage (number and distribution of users)

    • Support by a research group's Principal Investigator
    • Requested by multiple research groups
    • Perception that if installed, there will be users from additional groups across WestGrid
    • Amount of external usage (outside WestGrid)


    • Vendor's licensing restrictions
    • Users willingness to pay a significant portion of the license cost
    • Perpetual licenses vs. renewal costs
    • Long-term implications and commitments (growth, hardware refresh, life expectancy, etc.)


    • Is there other alternative or competitive software. Justify any decision to pick a particular one.
    • Appropriateness to scientific research and HPC; are there efficiency issues, etc.


    • Since it is difficult to anticipate all eventualities, these factors should be regarded as a starting guideline, not as rigid criteria.
    • Requests will be investigated on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the multiplicity of license arrangements, architectures and applicability of specific software.


  2. The WestGrid Chief Technology Officer, after consultation with the Site Leads, will make a recommendation to the WestGrid Executive.


  3. For WestGrid approval, there should be a significant number of researchers who would use this software, and they should be distributed across a significant number of WestGrid sites.


  4. Any WestGrid user can submit a request for Software. Each proposal will be considered on a case-by-case basis, first come first served.

Notes on the Software Purchase Policy

WestGrid will endeavor to support the currently installed software base, but only if the software is still being actively used by multiple groups of WestGrid researchers.

If a user or group of users wishes to buy software themselves and have it installed on WestGrid equipment, this is allowed if feasible, but the details will need to be negotiated. This includes how to meet license requirements that restrict access to the software.

WestGrid will work with Compute Canada to investigate a national plan for software licensing where appropriate. Where software providers allow, WestGrid may work with users to make reciprocal arrangements whereby different consortia agree on license location and cost sharing.