IDC Shares HPC Market Figures, Trends, Predictions at ISC

By Tom Tabor

June 21, 2011

After a day of flying from California to Hamburg and working off the jet lag, there is nothing more exciting then waking up the first day at ISC for the 7:30 AM breakfast meeting to go over the annual IDC industry and market share figures for HPC. Seriously, I couldn’t wait!

A few dear friends of mine (130 of them!) and I joined Dr. Earl Joseph and Steve Conway of IDC to hear their take on the state of the HPC market. And since ISC is held annually in Europe, there was a special report, commissioned by the EU, on the state of HPC in Europe. This part was a bit gloomy, but more on that later.

This truly is the way to kick off a major global HPC industry event. Before we emissaries from the world of HPC dive into the inner workings of high performance computing and related technologies, we should most definitely get a perspective of how we’re doing as an industry and review the major trends in HPC from the consummate industry data source – IDC.

Earl and Steve did an outstanding job of presenting real, quantitative figures and market circumstances in impressive detail. Much more information than I could possibly cover in this short blog post. Therefore, at the end of this piece you will find a link where you can request a copy of the full PowerPoint deck from their talk. It has it all – overall growth figures, figures for just servers, figures for just supercomputers, market share by industry, market share by geography, factors driving buying decisions, pain points for adoption, the GPGPU trend, petaflops, exascale, and more.


HPC Vendor Revenue Share, 2010

As a slight teaser, here are some of the highlights;

The broader HPC market is nearly $19B.

The Top Trends in HPC

  • HPC is growing again; 2010 grew by 10% and a 7% growth is projected over the next 5 years, so HPC is still outpacing IT as a whole.
  • The challenges for datacenters are power, cooling, real estate and system management.
  • Storage and data management continue to increase in importance.
  • Software hurdles will rise to the top as the biggest concern for most users.
  • SSDs will gain momentum and could redefine what we currently view as storage solutions.
  • GPUs are seeing real traction in specific vertical markets.
  • The worldwide race toward exascale is at full speed.

Why HPC Is Projected To Grow

  • HPC has become a competitive weapon.
  • Governments view HPC leadership as critical.
  • There are still very critical HPC issues that need to be resolved.
  • At the same time, “live” science and “live” engineering costs have escalated.

IDC’s Top 10 HPC Predictions for 2011

  • The worldwide economic recovery will restore healthy HPC growth.
  • The battle for HPC leadership will become increasingly global and strategic.
  • More real-world applications will be run at trans-petaflop speeds.
  • There may be more emphasis on software – finally.
  • The alternative processor wars will keep heating up.
  • The HPC staffing shortage will grow more acute.
  • Cloud will ramp up slowly in HPC, but will find a number of strong niches.
  • The HPC storage market will continue to grow faster than the HPC server market.
  • InfiniBand will continue to take market share from proprietary interconnects, while Ethernet remains the leader.
  • Power and cooling will become an even greater concern across the next 5 years.

Finally, as promised, a quick note about Europe. IDC did a special study assessing the primary vision for the EU’s HPC leadership. It recommended that the EU and the nations make HPC a higher priority and step up to either the “full leadership level” or at least the “funding to reach major goals level” level. Europe needs to invest in and support a robust HPC industry with hardware, software, etc. To accomplish this they would require a net new investment reaching 600 million Euros a year (approx $860M) within five years. An investment of this magnitude indicates low levels of HPC capability today.

If you find any of this of interest, I strongly suggest you download the PowerPoint deck. To receive the presentation, you’ll be asked to fill out a quick survey followed by an instant download.

This is another way in which we will continue to bring value to the extended community with news and information relevant to the world of high performance computing. Enjoy!


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