HP, IBM Lead High Performance Computing Server Market: IDC

During the first half of 2013, the HPC technical server market grew 6.2 percent, with an increase of 26 percent in unit shipments, compared to 2012.

Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market jumped 7.9 percent to nearly $2.6 billion in the second quarter of 2013, up from $2.4 billion in the same period of 2012, according to IT research firm IDC's Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView report.

Technology giants Hewlett-Packard and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership by capturing 30.1 percent and 29.7 percent of overall revenue share, respectively, while Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 14.6 percent of global revenue. Several vendors in the combined "others" category saw significant regional sales, including China's Inspur, driving the quarterly growth of that category to 25.6 percent.

During the first half of 2013, the HPC technical server market grew by 6.2 percent, with an increase of 26 percent in unit shipments, compared to the same period in 2012. The high-end supercomputers segment experienced a year-over-year decline of 18 percent in the first half of 2013. Revenue for workgroup HPC systems grew 35.1 percent compared to the first half of 2012.

Fueling the second-quarter growth was the continued recovery in the bottom half of the HPC market, consisting of systems sold for under $250,000. The report noted systems at these price points were hit especially hard by the global economic recession that began in 2008, as many of these discretionary purchases were postponed or canceled, but buying began to recover in the first quarter of 2013.

The brightest spot in the second quarter was the Workgroup segment for HPC systems selling below $100,000. Revenue in this segment jumped 45.1 percent year over year to reach $414.7 million, the report noted. IDC recently corroborated the recovery trend in the lower half of the market by conducting several thousand survey calls with HPC buyers and end users.

The high-end Supercomputers segment ($500,000 and up) accounted for 34.3 percent of the overall market in the second quarter, or $883.2 million in revenues. The report also revealed that the Supercomputer segment experienced a drop in revenues from the exceptionally strong performance in the second quarter of 2012.

"The top half of the HPC market, especially supercomputer systems sold for $500,000 and up, expanded rapidly right through the global economic recession and experienced record-setting growth in 2012. We said earlier that we did not expect the supercomputers segment to maintain that steep growth curve in 2013, although there will be other growth periods in the future," Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for technical computing, said in a statement. "In the first and second quarters of this year, revenue growth has shifted to sub-$250,000 systems as the lower half of the market continues to rebound from the global economic recession."

The Departmental segment for systems priced from $100,000 to $249,000 expanded by 33.8 percent year over year in the second quarter to reach $928.3 million. The Divisional segment ($250,000 to $499,000 price band) represented 13.6 percent of total HPC systems revenue, or $349.2 million, a 29.4 percent increase compared with the same period last year.