Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market increased 5,3% in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), to reach $2,5-billion – up from $2,4-billion in the same period of 2012, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView.

Shipments of 33,511 units in 1Q13 jumped 16,4% from the prior-year first quarter, primarily due to increased sales in the Departmental, Divisional, and Workgroup segments.
Revenues for the high-end Supercomputers segment (systems sold for $500 000 and up) declined to $861-million in 1Q13, a -10,9% drop year over year. Overall, 2012 was an exceptionally strong year for the Supercomputers segment, which grew 29,6% over full-year 2011 due to the acceptance of several very large supercomputers.

IDC anticipates that through the rest of 2013, the Supercomputers segment will see increased growth driven by the acceptance of additional large systems across the world.

Last year, IDC said it expected the Divisional, Departmental, and Workgroup segments to rebound as the global economy recovered. Revenue numbers reported by major vendors confirmed that this rebound was under way in 1Q13.

IDC corroborated the vendor-reported trend with global field research. In the first quarter, the Divisional segment for HPC systems (priced from $250 000 to $499 000) grew 21,3% over the prior-year first quarter, while revenues for Departmental systems (priced $100 000 to $249 000) expanded 10,8% year over year and Workgroup revenues (systems priced below $100 000) advanced 15,6% over the first quarter of 2012.

“Supercomputer revenues actually accelerated during the global economic downturn, driven by the growing recognition of the crucial role these systems play in economic competitiveness as well as scientific progress,” says Earl Joseph, programme VP for technical computing at IDC.

“Now the ongoing economic recovery is encouraging existing buyers to complete postponed purchases of entry-level and midrange HPC systems, and new buyers are acquiring these systems for high performance data analysis.”

IDC expects the HPC technical server market to experience a healthy 6,8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) with revenues reaching $15,4-billion by 2017. HP and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership, with each vendor capturing 31,5% of overall revenue share.

Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 14,3% of global revenue. SGI (+51%), Dawning (+38%), IBM (12,7%) and HP (7%) all made strong year-over-year revenue gains in the first quarter of 2013. SGI’s growth was driven by the acceptance of Supercomputers, while Dawning, IBM and HP benefitted from growth in the Departmental, Divisional, and Workgroup segments.