Analytics, lines of business buying driving HPC server growth, says IDC

Summary:Overall, IDC said that HPC server sales hit $2.5 billion in the first quarter, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM are tied for the global high performance computing market share lead as mid-range supercomputers are selling well courtesy of division and department purchases for data analytics, according to IDC.

Overall, IDC said that HPC server sales hit $2.5 billion in the first quarter, up 5.3 percent from a year ago. Shipments were up 16.4 percent in the first quarter from a year ago to 33,511 units.

The growth was driven by departmental, divisional and workgroup systems. The IT buyers for these smaller HPC systems are typically line of business buyers within a larger corporation, said IDC. Supercomputers, defined as systems going for $500,000 and up, fell 10.9 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago to $861 million. IDC added that the drop is largely because 2012 was a boom year for supercomputing.

Here's a close up of Carter, a supercomputer at Purdue University. The system uses HP, Intel and Mellanox technology and has 648 server nodes. Credit: Purdue.


By vendor, IBM and HP had 31.5 percent of first quarter revenue followed by Dell with 14.3 percent share. SGI and Dawning had sales growth of 51 percent and 38 percent respectively.

Among the key statistics:

  • HPC sales growth for midrange, or divisional, systems---$250,000 to $499,000---saw sales jump 21.3 percent in the first quarter.
  • HPC systems going for $100,000 to $249,000---or departmental---saw sales jump 10.8 percent in the first quarter.
  • Workgroup systems, which sell for less than $100,000, showed a sales increase of 15.6 percent in the first quarter relative to a year ago.

Bottom line: Analytics projects are driving sales of line of business HPC systems. IDC noted that HPC servers are expected to grow at a 6.8 percent compound annual growth rate through 2017 to reach $15.4 billion.

Topics: CXO, Big Data, Dell, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Servers


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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