HP, IBM Lead a Growing HPC Server Market: IDC

Dell, Cray, Fujistu and others also see revenue grow in a space that should see revenue hit $11 billion by the end of the year, according to IDC.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM continue to lead a fast-growing global high-performance computing (HPC) technical server space.

In numbers released by market research firm IDC June 15, HP in the first three months of the year held a 30.5 percent share of the HPC market, which saw revenue jump to $2.4 billion, a 3.1 percent increase from the same period in 2011. IBM€™s market share stood at 29 percent.

Dell came in third, with 16 percent of worldwide revenue, according to IDC. Other vendors that saw HPC and supercomputer revenue grow were Cray, whose revenue jumped 475 percent, Fujitsu at 162 percent, SGI at 88 percent and Appro at 21 percent.

Chinese supercomputer vendor Dawning saw revenue increase 3 percent.

The quarterly revenue numbers feed into a trend that IDC analysts are seeing of continued adoption of HPC technology among businesses, scientific institutions and governments alike as the industry pushes deeper into the petaflop realm and toward exascale computing. For governments, supercomputers hold the promise of greater economic advantages, according to Earl Joseph, program vice president for technical computing at IDC.

"HPC technical servers, especially supercomputers, have been closely linked, not only to scientific advances but also to industrial innovation and economic competitiveness. For this reason, nations and regions across the world are increasing their investments in supercomputing even in today's challenging economic conditions," Joseph said in a statement. "We expect the global race for HPC leadership in the petascale-exascale era to continue heating up during this decade."

Shipments of HPC systems actually fell during the quarter by 0.5 percent€”to 28,747 units€”but that was offset by the increase in average selling prices as sales of large-scale systems increase, IDC analysts said.

That bodes well for the industry, they said, predicting that revenue in 2012 will jump 7.1 percent from the record-breaking number of $10.3 billion in sales last year. Revenue this year should hit $11 billion and should reach $14 billion by 2016, according to IDC.

The fastest-growing part of the HPC market was supercomputers, which sell for $500,000 or more. Revenue in the supercomputer segment increased 13.9 percent, hitting $976 million and accounting for 39.9 percent of global HPC technical server sales.

In the other areas, the divisional segment€”in the $250,000 to $499,000 price range€”accounted for 12.7 percent of revenue, the departmental segment ($100,000 to $249,000) made up 35.3 percent, and the workgroup segment (below $100,000) 12.2 percent. The workgroup segment saw revenue fall 4.6 percent from the first quarter in 2011, but increase 5.1 percent from the fourth quarter in 2011.

IDC€™s numbers come days before the opening of the International Supercomputing show in Hamburg, Germany, where, among other things, the latest Top500 list of the world€™s fastest supercomputers will be released. At the Supercomputing 2011 show in Seattle, Wash., in November 2011, Fujitsu€™s K Computer retained the top spot on the list, becoming the first computer to pass the 10-petaflop barrier. The system is being installed at the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan.

In a run-up to the show in Germany, several supercomputer vendors announced news, including Fujitsu being selected to build and install a new supercomputer for the Australian National University€™s National Computational Infrastructure based on its Primergy servers. In addition, Cray received a $16.6 million contract from the Department of Defense to upgrade and consolidate three existing Cray XE6 supercomputer computers and to deliver a new XE6 to the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif.

SGI also reportedly is launching the second generation of its UV supercomputer, called UV 2. The new system reportedly doubles the maximum compute core count and quadruples the memory capacity of the original UV systems.