What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

By John Russell

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior VP of Research, Hyperion. There’s still a bit of confusion in the HPC community, says Conway, mostly about whether Hyperion will become part of the China-based company, Oceanwide, that is buying all of IDC. The answer is a definite no.

Indeed, says Conway, maintaining Hyperion as a U.S.-owned entity was a major requirement imposed by the U.S. government before allowing the sale of the rest of IDC to Oceanwide to proceed. You may already know this, but according to Conway, many in the HPC community are still asking the Hyperion team. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have a dedicated Hyperion Research web presence and associated FAQ but until the purchase is done, Hyperion has been reluctant to do so. (See HPCwire/EntderpriseTech article, IDC’s HPC Group Spun out to Temporary Trusteeship, for details to deal.)

Earl Joseph, Hyperion Research CEO, formerly leader of IDC HPC Group

Hyperion/IDC has long been a prominent presence in the HPC community so the swirl of attention and questions around its future is natural. It is a surprisingly small team – five members – given the rather large size of its influence. Part of the slowness to more effectively communicate the changes, says Conway, stems from the robustness of business.

“We’ve been going around as much as we can, meeting with folks and explaining we’re not going to be part of Oceanwide. We are inside of IDC for the moment but comfortably walled off and do not have contact with IDC proper at all. The second important point which we are very happy about is as we brief clients – we had to renew contracts, to Hyperion – not a single client left us and in a fair number of cases people have said “what more can we do to support you” because they wanted to keep us around.”

The U.S. government seems to agree and is taking pains to ensure Hyperion succeeds. Under terms of the sale IDC is prevented from entering the HPC market for three years.

Here are a few data points:

  • International. International business has grown from roughly ten percent to roughly 50 percent including big chunks in Asia and Europe.
  • Government work. Hyperion works with several governments and has just signed a 5-year contract with one. Its HPC ROI studies for various national interests, for example, have recently drawn much attention.
  • HPC User Forum. Hyperion has signed a contract through 2018 to continue to run the forum in conjunction with the all-volunteer steering committee which includes many community leaders. “IDC started the HPC User Forum in 2000, at the request of leading HPC sites in government, academia and industry who wanted access to a vendor-neutral user group,” says Conway.
  • Bidders. There several bidders for Hyperion who have all examined the “books” says Conway, with resolution expected in the next few months. Conway would not say anything more specific.
  • Expansion. Hyperion is looking to expand driven by extensive travel and growing engagement commitments. Business is up and Hyperion is looking to cautiously added staff.

The key message here, emphasizes Conway, is two-fold: 1) Hyperion will not be part of Oceanwide; 2) Business is steaming along nicely.

Steve Conway, Hyperion SVP

This picture of health painted by Conway seems to match well with past experience. IDC was long one of the few technology analysts closely tracking the HPC market. In recent years, it also tracked the migration of HPC technology into the enterprise. Hyperion/IDC’s twice-annual HPC market/technology updates (segment sales, vendor/technology trends, HPC impact, etc.) are presented at SC and ISC and much looked for.

Hyperion will also take advantage of the ownership change to expand its practice more aggressively into so-called proximity markets. “Particularly in areas like big data where it was very nicely covered in the enterprise by the mainstream IDC folks and we handled the HPC part. We already knew we needed to keep track of proximity markets, the markets that were not quite HPC, so we could see what motivates people to cross the boundary to move from enterprise technology to HPC,” says Conway.

“Now we feel freed up. We are not going to move into the mainstream enterprise market. That’s not where we want to be. We want to stay close to HPC but we are paying a lot of attention to proximity markets and to people who are doing things today not on HPC resources with plans to move up to HPC resources in 6 to 18 months.” Like everyone on the planet (or so it seems), Hyperion also plans growing coverage of deep learning and AI in the evolving HPC landscape. (See HPCwire article, Hyperion (IDC) Paints a Bullish Picture of HPC Future)

Bob Sorensen, Hyperion

The biggest barrier to growth, says Conway, is not the pipeline of business; it is finding more people who fit the team. In the last couple of years Hyperion/IDC added two analysts: Bob Sorensen, a long-time technology analyst for the U.S. government, and Kevin Monroe, who is finishing up a Ph.D. in economics. He expects that to grow albeit at a measured rate.

Whether the Hyperion name will stick is an open question and depends upon who purchases Hyperion. Conway notes there are other IDC-like companies that might be interested. Earl Joseph, formerly head of the IDC HPC unit, is handling the negotiations. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. For example, Hyperion is in the midst of seeking entries to its HPC Innovation Awards whose primary judges are members of the HPC User Forum. Here is a link to the application form: http://www.hpcuserforum.com/innovationaward/applicationform.html

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