Tabor Research: HPC Market Will Decline, Not Crash

By Nicole Hemsoth

January 29, 2009

As the consequences of the recession start to be felt more generally in all IT sectors, Tabor Research has continued to track its effect on the HPC market. We asked Tabor Research General Manager Addison Snell to discuss what kind of HPC activity we can expect to see over the next couple of years.

HPCwire: Tabor Research recently sent new HPC figures out to its clients. What is Tabor Research’s outlook for HPC over the next few years?

Addison Snell: For HPC as a whole, the situation is not as bleak as you might fear from the economy. The market did begin to slow down in Q4, and traditional HPC servers — the high-performance computational systems used in science, engineering, and analytics applications — to be relatively flat from 2007 to 2008. Going forward, there will be a dip in traditional HPC server spending in 2009, primarily due to a lengthening of sales cycles and temporary budget freezes that will cause orders to slip from one year into the next. The good news is, when the economy eventually rebounds, there will be a corresponding positive blip as deals speed up again.

HPCwire: How did you derive your outlook?

Snell: Tabor Research surveys both the user and the vendor community in developing its total market models. We work with vendors to analyze their quarterly shipment and revenue numbers and the relationship between HPC and non-HPC business. From our user-based research, we gain broad knowledge of how users plan and divide their budgets, as well as outlooks on future budget growth. Beyond that, our analyst team has over 50 years of collective HPC experience.

HPCwire: How does HPC compare with what the rest of the industry is going through?

Snell: Investments in HPC won’t be scaled back as far as other IT segments will be, because HPC is frequently viewed as a strategic or revenue-generating activity. In times of crisis, organizations might shut down non-core activities, but they do so in order to focus more on the business at hand, whether that’s engineering new products or accelerating scientific discovery. HPC won’t be completely immune to economic downturns, but we expect HPC to take a much smaller hit than the overall IT market.

HPCwire: What will be the major consequences of this economic slowdown? Are there segments of the market that will be impacted more than others?

Snell: There will be loss of sales in some specific instances. The most negative impact is in the university sector, where we expect endowment-funded programs to suffer. Within industry, there is some client loss as companies merge or fail, and some companies will halt all IT spending. On the other hand, some companies are increasing their HPC-specific investments in attempts to get new products to market faster or to reduce development costs. Also, government investment could come in to kick-start investments in some areas.

From a product standpoint, servers will take the greatest hit, as users continue to shift greater portions of their budgets to software, storage and facilities. You should be careful not to equate system spending to the entire HPC market. Only about a third of an HPC user’s budget goes to servers, and this percentage is falling.

HPCwire: Do you expect government HPC spending to hold up during the recession — at least in the U.S.?

Snell: Government spending is about a third of the traditional HPC market, so changes here can have substantial impacts on the market overall. And although it is early to predict actual implementation, President Obama has frequently stated that the U.S. must lead in science, which could lead to increased research in both government and grant-funded academic research centers. Furthermore, he has promised civil infrastructure projects, such as bridge building, which imply some amount of engineering design. On the other hand, there may be some decrease in defense spending, especially as pertains to support of ongoing military campaigns. If troops pull back, there’s less to support. In total though, we expect an overall positive benefit to HPC as President Obama’s policies take shape.

HPCwire: What other factors could have an important effect on how the HPC market fares in the next 12 to 24 months?

Snell: Because we’re looking at the HPC market worldwide, it’s important to consider how other countries’ economies perform relative to the U.S. With favorable exchange rates and terms, organizations in some foreign countries might find the time is right to invest in relatively inexpensive HPC products and services from American companies. In 2008 the amount of foreign HPC spending went up versus U.S. spending, and that trend could certainly continue over the next two years.

HPCwire: What types of emerging technologies do you think will impact the HPC market?

Snell: Virtualization technologies, such as utility computing and cloud computing, will continue to evolve and see greater adoption, and cloud/utility will begin to be a viable alternative for smaller HPC users. Our data shows the start of this trend in 2008, and we don’t expect it to slow down in 2009. For middleware providers like Platform Computing or Univa UD, this could be a significant opportunity. Accelerator-based solutions — both FPGA and GPU — will also see ongoing development, although adoption will continue to be slow in ISV-dependent verticals.

HPCwire: Finally, what advice would you offer to HPC users and vendors to get through these tough times?

Snell: Users should take a look at their end-to-end HPC installations with an eye towards increasing productivity, not only for their researchers and engineers, but also for system administrators and application developer. Tabor Research offers a free, online HPC Productivity Analyzer that can provide an independent assessment, with peer comparisons and advice for increasing productivity.

Meanwhile, vendors across the HPC ecosystem — systems, storage, interconnect, software, components, and services — must describe their solutions in terms of what tangible gains they offer. In a bleak economy, it is tempting to position a product or service as cost-saving, but this is an invitation for the end user to save money by not purchasing it at all. Remember, the HPC budgets are out there. Help your users spend them by demonstrating what return they will get from their investments.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercializ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This