Worldwide factory revenue for the high-performance computing (HPC) technical server market jumped by 7,9% to nearly $2,6-billion in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), 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 Overview.
Fuelling the second-quarter growth was the continued recovery in the bottom half of the HPC market, consisting of systems sold for under $250 000. Systems at these price points were hit especially hard by the global economic recession that began in 2008, as many of these discretionary purchases were postponed or cancelled, but buying began to recover in the first quarter of 2013.

The brightest spot in 2Q13 was the Workgroup segment for HPC systems selling below $100 000. Revenue in this segment jumped 45,1% year-over-year to reach $414,7-million. The Departmental segment for systems priced from $100 000 to $249 000 expanded by 33,8% year-over-year in the second quarter to reach $928,3-million.

The Divisional segment ($250 000 to $499 000 price band) represented 13,6% of total HPC systems revenue, or $349,2-million, a 29,4% increase over 2Q12. Together, the Workgroup, Departmental, and Divisional segments made up 65,7% of all HPC server systems revenue in the second quarter.

IDC recently corroborated the recovery trend in the lower half of the market by conducting several thousand survey calls with HPC buyers and end-users.

The high-end Supercomputers segment ($500 000 and up) accounted for 34,3% of the overall market in the second quarter, or $883,2-million in revenues. As expected, the Supercomputer segment experienced a drop in revenues from the exceptionally strong performance in the second quarter of 2012.

Unit shipments of 31,441 in the second quarter increased 34,7% compared to the second quarter of 2012 and declined nearly -6,2% over first quarter of 2013.

During the first half of 2013, the HPC technical server market grew by 6,2%, with an increase of 26% in unit shipments, compared to the same period in 2012. The high-end supercomputers segment experienced a year-over-year decline of -18% in the first half of 2013. Revenue for workgroup HPC systems grew 35,1% compared to the first half of 2012.

“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,” says Earl Joseph, IDC program VP for technical computing.

“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.”

At the HPC User Forum meeting, IDC senior vice-president Vernon Turner highlighted the historical contributions of HPC to mainstream IT markets, including parallel processing, clusters, grids, and clouds.

HP and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership by capturing 30,1% and 29,7% of overall revenue share, respectively. Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 14,6% of global revenue.

Bull, Dawning and SGI all made strong year-over-year revenue gains during the second quarter of 2013, driven by the acceptance of large systems. Several vendors in the combined “others” category saw significant regional sales, including China‚Äôs Inspur, driving the quarterly growth of the “others” category by 25,6%.