High Performance Computing Server Market Makes Gains: IDC

The HPC technical server market will experience a healthy 6.8 percent compound annual growth rate with revenues reaching $15.4 billion by 2017.

Factory revenue for the high-performance computing technical server market increased 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to reach $2.5 billion, up from $2.4 billion in the same period of 2012, according IT research firm IDC's Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView.

The firm expects the HPC technical server market to experience a robust 6.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) with revenues reaching $15.4 billion by 2017. The report noted shipments of 33,511 units in the quarter jumped 16.4 percent from the prior-year first quarter, primarily due to increased sales in the departmental, divisional and workgroup segments.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership, with each vendor capturing 31.5 percent of overall revenue share. Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 14.3 percent of global revenue.

Revenues for the high-end supercomputer segment, which represent systems sold for $500,000 and up, declined to $861 million in the first quarter of the year, a 10.9 percent drop year over year. Overall, 2012 was an exceptionally strong year for the supercomputer segment, which grew 29.6 percent over full-year 2011 due to the acceptance of several very large supercomputers.

The report projected that through the rest of 2013, the supercomputer segment will see increased growth driven by the acceptance of additional large systems across the world.

SGI (51 percent), Dawning (38 percent), IBM (12.7 percent) and HP (7 percent) all made strong year-over-year revenue gains in the first quarter of 2013. SGI's growth was driven by the acceptance of supercomputers, while Dawning, IBM and HP benefited from growth in the departmental, divisional and workgroup segments.

"Supercomputer revenues actually accelerated during the global economic downturn, driven by the growing recognition of the crucial role these systems play in economic competitiveness as well as scientific progress," Earl Joseph, program vice president for technical computing at IDC, said in a statement. "Now the ongoing economic recovery is encouraging existing buyers to complete postponed purchases of entry-level and midrange HPC systems, and new buyers are acquiring these systems for high performance data analysis."

Revenue numbers reported by major vendors confirmed that a rebound across the HPC spectrum was indeed under way in 1Q13. IDC corroborated the vendor-reported trend with global field research. In the first quarter, the divisional segment for HPC systems (priced from $250,000 to $499,000) grew 21.3 percent over the prior-year first quarter, while revenues for departmental systems (priced $100,000 to $249,000) expanded 10.8 percent year over year and workgroup revenues (systems priced below $100,000) advanced 15.6 percent over the first quarter of 2012.