HPE leads the way in high performance computing revenue

HPC records 4% growth in third quarter of 2016, says research firm

Global revenues for the high performance computing (HPC) server market grew 3.9% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, hitting $2.8 billion, according to analyst firm IDC.

Revenue for HPC servers across the first three quarters of the year, which is the most recent data available, was up by a similar amount (3.4%), resulting in a global figure of $8.1 billion.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) fared particularly well, with a 35.8% share of overall HPC server revenue. The company has been working to boost its general HPC presence over the course of the past 12 months, unveiling several new workload-optimised compute platforms optimised for HPC in April at its annual Discover conference in Las Vegas and acquiring SGI in the summer.

Dell was the second largest player, with 18.5% of total revenue. This figure could change in 2017, however, as the merger of Dell and EMC to create Dell Technologies only completed in September 2016. The company also released a swathe of new HPC systems and software at the end of 2016, and is due to release a new HPC system for life sciences this month.

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Strong growth was seen in the higher end of the HPC server segment in particular, according to IDC, with revenues from supercomputer systems priced $500,000 and over growing 22.3% year-on-year, from $805.7 million in Q3 2015 to $985.3 million in Q3 2016.

Divisional systems priced from $250,000 to $499,000 also did well, with revenue growing from $464.5 million in Q3 2015 to $568.4 million in Q3 2016 - an increase of 22.4%.

There is some turbulence in the overall market, though, with revenues generated by the lower end of the market in decline.

IDC found that revenue from systems priced between $100,000 and $249,000 experienced the biggest drop, falling 14.4% year-on-year in Q3 2016, from $976.4 million to $836.2 million. Revenues from Workgroup HPC systems priced below $100,000 declined 8.7% year-on-year, meanwhile, dropping from $433 million to $395.5 million.

IDC doesn't see this as an indicator of a future downward trend in the overall HPC server market, however. "The workgroup segment, and especially the departmental segment, substantially ramped up purchases of HPC servers in the period 2012-2015, in tune with the global economic recovery," said Kevin Monroe, IDC senior research analyst for technical computing.

"In the first three quarters of 2016, more of these buyers were in a position to wait a while before buying another system. IDC expects this dip to be temporary," he added.

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