a topic title like that has to catch your attention ...
I think that
it is useful to have loads of ram and loads of cores for one person's use. But when it is shared (on the university's HPC), you have a hard time juggling resources in a fair manner especially in Bioinformatics where walltimes and ram requirements are known post analysis. A HPC engineer once told me that HPC for biologist means selfish hogging of resources. I can only shrug and concede at her comment.
I don't know if there's a better way to do the things I do with more RAM and faster disks, but I do know that it will probably cost more in development time.
That said Cloud computing is having trouble keeping up with I/O bound stuff like bioinformatics, and smaller cloud computing services are all trying to show that they have faster interconnects, but you can't really beat a BAS that's on a local network.