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High-Performance Computing Sees Surge, Led by Sub-$500,000 Systems

The lower end of the high-performance computing segment saw a double-digit surge in the second quarter of 2013, helping to propel HPC as a whole to a 34.7 percent increase in systems delivered from the same period a year ago.

According to IDC's Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView, released last week as part of the HPC User Forum in Boston, a total of 31,441 HPC systems shipped worldwide in the second quarter, up by more than a third over 2Q 2012 (but down 6.2 percent from a very strong 1Q 2013). HPC volume in revenues in the second quarter was up 7.9 percent, reaching $2.6 billion globally.

Leading growth were workgroup systems priced at less than $100,000. They continued their recovery that started in the first quarter, hitting $414.7 million in revenue, up 45.1 percent from 2Q 2012.

Departmental systems (systems costing $100,000 to $249,000) grew 33.8 percent from the same period last year, reaching $928.3 million in total sales.

The next group up, divisional systems (priced $250,000 to $499,000) grew 29.4 percent year over year, to $349.2 million. All told, sub-$500,000 systems accounted for 65.7 percent of sales of HPC systems in the second quarter.

The supercomputer category (priced $500,000 and up) fell slightly to 883.2 million. And for the first half of 2013, the highest-end systems were off 18 percent from last year.

"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," said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for technical computing, in a prepared 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."

For the quarter, HP captured 30.1 percent of worldwide HPC revenues, followed by IBM at 29.7 percent. Dell came in third at 14.6 percent.

According to IDC, Bull, Dawning, and SGI made "strong gains" in the quarter, "driven by the acceptance of large systems."

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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