Intersect360 Research’s Pre-SC20 Briefing Presents Mixed Picture

By John Russell

November 5, 2020

There was much to unpack in Intersect360 Research’s pre-SC20 Market Update presented by Addison Snell, cofounder and CEO, in a webinar yesterday. The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, continues to roil the forecast waters. But long-predicted HPC cloud demand has actually materialized and is booming. New user study preference data spotlighted strengthening AMD CPU and GPU prospects. Big systems sales (e.g. exascale and the like) drove strong HPC spending in 2019 and have continued in 2020 with COVID-related spending pitching in but overall 2020 HPC sales will decline anyway.

While there was some review material, Snell added fresh data and did a nice job of connecting the dots outlining the current HPC market landscape. The slides (~ 60) and recorded video (90 minutes) are freely available and the slides make for fast reading.

Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

  • Intersect360’s 2020 HPC market forecast, revised downward 10.1 percent from the original forecast in March, now calls for a 3.7 percent year-over-year decline and seems to be holding true. U.S. will be the hardest hit region, down 6.8 percent, according to Intersect360. Questions remain for 2021, primarily around whether COVID-19 will linger in which case any market rebound will have to wait.
  • Cloud computing demand is booming despite (and perhaps a little bit because of) the pandemic. Moreover, directly measured cloud revenues (up 17.8 percent last year) likely understate cloud’s true growth because so much cloud revenue ends up buried in other reported spending categories, (e.g. software, SaaS, etc.).
  • Intersect360’s latest user study suggests, among many other things, that AMD’s CPUs and GPUs have excellent prospects even as the chip industry consolidation continues. IBM’s Power processor line, not so much. Intel is still the big dog but maybe slipping.
  • Server giants – HPE and Dell EMC – were slightly down from 2018 but still lead the pack. IBM was also down. Conversely, Atos, Lenovo, Penguin, Inspur, and Fujitsu were the big growers (double digits in 2019).
  • Closing the books on 2019 (completed in September), Intesect360 reports the overall HPC market was $39 billion, up 8.2 percent. If the latest 2020 forecast stays true, that will fall to around $37.5 billion this year. If 2021 rebounds (pandemic cautions apply here) the total HPC market could still hit $55 billion in 2024 representing a 7.1 percent CAGR.

“Back in March, the assumption was that Asia Pacific would be the hardest hit followed by EMEA, and then followed by followed by North America, US, and Canada, by the time we actually published the forecast, it reversed and we were looking at a bigger effect in US and Canada,” said Snell. “We’re going to have to monitor how these regions look as we get into adjusting our forecast next year. Early indicators are that 2020 is trending according to how we forecast.”

The assumption had been the pandemic would diminish substantially in 2021 and the buying slowdown – largely stemming from deferred purchases – would end and catch-up spending would ensue. “Now I think that’s going to be in doubt,” said Snell. “The longer it (pandemic) lasts, the more we will find spending is not only delayed but cancelled.”

One persistent demand driver despite the pandemic is AI; its rapid adoption in HPC and throughout the enterprise remains robust in the face of a more generalized anemic mid-to-lower tier server market. Snell contrasted the AI experience with what happened when ‘big data’ was the buzz phrase of the day.

Snell said, “Think about what the supercomputing tradeshow looked like in 2013 and 2014. It was a big data show, and everyone was all up on big data. We [Intersect360] were saying that big data [and] data science is real, but it’s not having an effect on HPC budgets and not having an effect on the enterprise budget as a whole. And that was true. [Many companies invested] in big data appliances, big data business units, almost all of which failed.”

Machine learning is different not least because of its close connection to enabling hardware architecture and accelerators. What’s more, ML technology is increasingly used in both AI and mixed HPC/AI workloads. “In this case GPU-heavy configurations can serve both masters in HPC and machine learning well. That is a relevant trend,” he said. ML is also an important driver of increased cloud spending by providing users with flexible access to the rapidly-changing AI technology (accelerators, software tools, et al.) without necessitating major infrastructure commitments.

Intersect360 also presented results from the processor portion of its User Vendor Rating study which covered processors, storage, servers, and major cloud providers.

Snell said little about the other categories but did note, “AWS almost swept the categories. Projected market share gain was best for Azure. But the real thing I’m saying [for] cloud is there was a clear top three on almost every question, which is AWS, Azure and GCP (Google) were closely grouped at the top on every question. Then there was a big drop to number four. Then there’s a big drop down from number four to everything else. Maybe sometime next year, we’ll give a more full public presentation on all of that.”

Digging into the processor results, Snell noted the ongoing consolidation in the market. He said while user preference is to be able to pair Nvidia GPUs with whichever processor they wish, vendor strategies are to pair their branded offerings. AMD has started doing this (AMD CPU and GPU) and has had notable wins in the exascale program. Intel’s planned Aurora system also pairs Intel CPUs and GPUs.

Snell said, “CPU and accelerator consolidation is going to be a major trend for next year and we’re going to be talking about it both in terms of a literal consolidation – Nvidia acquiring Arm, AMD acquiring Xilinx, Marvell acquiring Inphi but canceling ThunderX3 – and technology consolidation.

“Technology consolidation is, I think, even more important. What we’re going to start seeing is all Intel environments with Xeon CPUs and Xe GPUs on an Intel fabric or AMD Epyc CPUs and Instinct GPUs, and Nvidia Arm CPUs with A100 or future Nvidia GPUs. That is the trend for 2021.”

Along similar lines, Snell thought big server companies that didn’t have their own fabric might be at a disadvantage moving forward at least when selling into the high-end. HPE/Cray has Slingshot. Fujitsu has Tofu. Atos has a fabric. It is interesting to note that Intel, whose Omni-Path fabric had decidedly mixed market traction, spun out Omni-Path in September as Cornelis Networks. That will bear watching. Nvidia, of course, acquired Mellanox (and its InfiniBand portfolio). Dell EMC and Lenovo are two high-end server makers without their own fabrics. We’ll see.

Snell also spent quite a bit of time discussing the challenge in measuring HPC ROI. This portion of his presentation covered the same ground he presented in a recent HPCwire commentary (ROI: Is HPC Worth It? What Can We Actually Measure?). Intersect360 will again be on the virtual SC20 agenda with Snell moderating a SC panel on storage. It will tackle, among other things, approaches and trends in tiering storage. (Track 8, Panel 116, Nov. 17, 1:30 ET, The Diverse Approaches to Tiering HPC Storage).

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!

Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang Livestreamed Here, Monday at 8:30am PT

April 9, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Argonne Supercomputing Supports Caterpillar Engine Design

April 8, 2021

Diesel fuels still account for nearly ten percent of all energy-related U.S. carbon emissions – most of them from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and construction equipment. Energy efficiency is key to these machines, Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new training and inference servers that will power the upcoming Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Tundra, Fugaku, µHPC & More

April 6, 2021

In this regular feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

RIKEN’s Ongoing COVID Research Includes New Vaccines, New Tests & More

April 6, 2021

RIKEN took the supercomputing world by storm last summer when it launched Fugaku – which became (and remains) the world’s most powerful supercomputer – ne Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

AI Systems Summit Keynote: Brace for System Level Heterogeneity Says de Supinski

April 1, 2021

Heterogeneous computing has quickly come to mean packing a couple of CPUs and one-or-many accelerators, mostly GPUs, onto the same node. Today, a one-such-node system has become the standard AI server offered by dozens of vendors. This is not to diminish the many advances... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire