Supercomputer Sales Drove 2016 HPC Market Up to Record $11.2 Billion

By John Russell

April 6, 2017

A 26.2 percent jump in supercomputer spending helped lift the overall 2016 HPC server segment by 4.4 percent according to a brief report released by Hyperion Research yesterday. The big drag on growth was a 19.3 percent decline in sales of departmental HPC servers. Nevertheless, the overall HPC server market set a new record at $11.2 billion, up from $10.7 billion in 2015, and surpassing 2012’s high water mark of $11.1 billion.

Hyperion may provide more complete numbers for the full year at the HP User Forum being held in Santa Fe, NM, in two weeks. Hyperion is the former IDC HPC group which has been spun out of IDC as part of its acquisition by companies based in China (See HPCwire article, IDC’s HPC Group Spun out to Temporary Trusteeship).

“The 2016 year-over-year market gain was driven by strong revenue growth in high-end and midrange HPC server systems, partially offset by declines in sales of lower-priced systems,” according to the Hyperion release. Brief summary:

  • The Supercomputers segment for HPC server systems priced at $500,000 and up grew 26.2% to $4.0 billion in 2016, compared with $3.2 billion in 2015.
  • The Divisional segment for systems priced between $250,000 and $499,000 expanded 18.2%, from $1.9 billion in 2015 to $2.3 billion in 2016.
  • The Departmental HPC segment for HPC systems in the $100,000 to $249,000 price range declined by 19.3% to $3.1 billion, compared with $3.8 billion in 2015.
  • The Workgroup HPC segment for sub-$100,000 systems dropped 6.9% to $1.7 billion, from $1.8 billion in 2015.
Earl Joseph, Hyperion Research CEO, formerly leader of IDC HPC Group

“HPC servers 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, as well as businesses and universities of all sizes, are increasing their investments in high performance computing,” said Earl Joseph, CEO of Hyperion Research. “In addition, the global race to achieve exascale performance will drive growth in high-end supercomputer sales.”

“Another important factor driving growth is the market for big data needing HPC, which we call high performance data analysis, or HPDA,” according to Steve Conway, Hyperion Research senior vice president for research. “HPDA challenges have moved HPC to the forefront of R&D for machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.”

Getting use to the new Hyperion name may take awhile, but its senior members, all from IDC, say there should be little change, at least in the near-term. Below is the company’s self-description.

“Hyperion Research is the new name for the former IDC high performance computing (HPC) analyst team. IDC agreed with the U.S. government to divest the HPC team before the recent sale of IDC to Chinese firm Oceanwide. As Hyperion Research, the team continues all the worldwide activities that have made it the world’s most respected HPC industry analyst group for more than 25 years, including HPC and HPDA market sizing and tracking, subscription services, custom studies and papers, and operating the HPC User Forum. For more information, see www.hpcuserforum.com.”

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