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Modest gains for high performance computing

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Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market increased 3.1% in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) to reach $2,4-billion, up from $2,3-billion in the same period of 2011, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView.

IDC maintains its previous forecast that for full-year 2012 the HPC technical server market will expand by about 7,1% over the record-breaking revenues of $10,3-billion in 2011. 2012 revenues are forecast to reach $11-billion.

Unit shipments of 28 747 in 1Q12 declined by 0,5% compared to the first quarter of 2011 as average selling prices continued to grow during an ongoing shift to large system sales.

The brightest spot in the market continues to be the high-end Supercomputers segment, for HPC systems selling for $500 000 and up. Revenue in this segment jumped 13.9% over the first quarter of 2011 to reach $976-million. At the other end of the price spectrum, revenue from Workgroup HPC systems, selling for below $100 000, fell 4,6% year over year but rose sequentially by 5,1% from the fourth quarter of 2011.

The high-end Supercomputers segment accounted for 39.9% of worldwide HPC technical server revenue, while the Divisional segment ($250 000 to $499 000 price band) captured 12,7% of revenue. The Departmental segment ($100 000 to $249 000 price band) made up 35,3% of revenue, and the Workgroup segment contributed 12,2 %.

“HPC technical servers, especially Supercomputers, have been closely linked not only to scientific advances but also to industrial innovation and economic competitiveness. For this reason, nations and regions across the world are increasing their investments in supercomputing even in today’s challenging economic conditions,” says Earl Joseph, program vice-president for technical computing at IDC. “We expect the global race for HPC leadership in the petascale-exascale era to continue heating up during this decade.”

IDC expects the HPC technical server market to grow at a healthy 7,3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach revenues of $14-billion by 2016.

Vendor highlights include:

* HP and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership by capturing 30,5% and 29% of overall revenue share, respectively.

* Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 16% of global revenue.

* Cray (+475%), Fujitsu (+162%), and SGI (+88%) all made strong year-over-year revenue gains in first quarter of 2012, driven by the acceptance of large systems. Appro’s revenue also advanced nicely (+21%). China’s Dawning showed continued momentum at a more moderate pace (3%).