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.

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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