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!

Energy Exascale Earth System Model Version 2 Promises Twice the Speed

October 18, 2021

The Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) is an ongoing Department of Energy (DOE) earth system modeling, simulation and prediction project aiming to “assert and maintain an international scientific leadership posi Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1938746143

MosaicML, Led by Naveen Rao, Comes Out of Stealth Aiming to Ease Model Training

October 15, 2021

With more and more enterprises turning to AI for a myriad of tasks, companies quickly find out that training AI models is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Finding a new approach to deal with those cascading challenges is the aim of a new startup, MosaicML, that just came out of stealth... Read more…

NSF Awards $11M to SDSC, MIT and Univ. of Oregon to Secure the Internet

October 14, 2021

From a security standpoint, the internet is a problem. The infrastructure developed decades ago has cracked, leaked and been patched up innumerable times, leaving vulnerabilities that are difficult to address due to cost Read more…

SC21 Announces Science and Beyond Plenary: the Intersection of Ethics and HPC

October 13, 2021

The Intersection of Ethics and HPC will be the guiding topic of SC21's Science & Beyond plenary, inspired by the event tagline of the same name. The evening event will be moderated by Daniel Reed with panelists Crist Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Cost optimizing Ansys LS-Dyna on AWS

Organizations migrate their high performance computing (HPC) workloads from on-premises infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for advantages such as high availability, elastic capacity, latest processors, storage, and networking technologies; Read more…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1938746143

MosaicML, Led by Naveen Rao, Comes Out of Stealth Aiming to Ease Model Training

October 15, 2021

With more and more enterprises turning to AI for a myriad of tasks, companies quickly find out that training AI models is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Finding a new approach to deal with those cascading challenges is the aim of a new startup, MosaicML, that just came out of stealth... Read more…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

Eni Returns to HPE for ‘HPC4’ Refresh via GreenLake

October 13, 2021

Italian energy company Eni is upgrading its HPC4 system with new gear from HPE that will be installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (a provi Read more…

The Blueprint for the National Strategic Computing Reserve

October 12, 2021

Over the last year, the HPC community has been buzzing with the possibility of a National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR). An in-utero brainchild of the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, an NSCR would serve as a Merchant Marine for urgent computing... Read more…

UCLA Researchers Report Largest Chiplet Design and Early Prototyping

October 12, 2021

What’s the best path forward for large-scale chip/system integration? Good question. Cerebras has set a high bar with its wafer scale engine 2 (WSE-2); it has 2.6 trillion transistors, including 850,000 cores, and was fabricated using TSMC’s 7nm process on a roughly 8” x 8” silicon footprint. Read more…

What’s Next for EuroHPC: an Interview with EuroHPC Exec. Dir. Anders Dam Jensen

October 7, 2021

One year after taking the post as executive director of the EuroHPC JU, Anders Dam Jensen reviews the project's accomplishments and details what's ahead as EuroHPC's operating period has now been extended out to the year 2027. Read more…

University of Bath Unveils Janus, an Azure-Based Cloud HPC Environment

October 6, 2021

The University of Bath is upgrading its HPC infrastructure, which it says “supports a growing and wide range of research activities across the University.” Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

CentOS Replacement Rocky Linux Is Now in GA and Under Independent Control

June 21, 2021

The Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) is announcing the general availability of Rocky Linux, release 8.4, designed as a drop-in replacement for the soon-to-be discontinued CentOS. The GA release is launching six-and-a-half months... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... 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…

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…

Quantum Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. Read more…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make i Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire