Continuing Recovery in Low-End HPC Systems Fuels 7.9% Growth in the Second Quarter, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., September 11, 2013 – Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market jumped 7.9% to nearly $2.6 billion in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), up from $2.4 billion in the same period of 2012, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView. The results were announced at the 50th meeting of the IDC-operated HPC User Forum in Boston, where attendees heard talks on one of the fastest-growing HPC market segments, the bio-life sciences, and on new developments in quantum computing.

Fueling the second-quarter growth was the continued recovery in the bottom half of the HPC market, consisting of systems sold for under $250,000. Systems at these price points were hit especially hard by the global economic recession that began in 2008, as many of these discretionary purchases were postponed or canceled, but buying began to recover in the first quarter of 2013. The brightest spot in 2Q13 was the Workgroup segment for HPC systems selling below $100,000. Revenue in this segment jumped 45.1% year over year to reach $414.7 million. The Departmental segment for systems priced from $100,000 to $249,000 expanded by 33.8% year over year in the second quarter to reach $928.3 million. The Divisional segment ($250,000 to $499,000 price band) represented 13.6% of total HPC systems revenue, or $349.2 million, a 29.4% increase over 2Q12. Together, the Workgroup, Departmental, and Divisional segments made up 65.7% of all HPC server systems revenue in the second quarter. IDC recently corroborated the recovery trend in the lower half of the market by conducting several thousand survey calls with HPC buyers and end users.

The high-end Supercomputers segment ($500,000 and up) accounted for 34.3% of the overall market in the second quarter, or $883.2 million in revenues. As expected, the Supercomputer segment experienced a drop in revenues from the exceptionally strong performance in the second quarter of 2012.

Unit shipments of 31,441 in the second quarter increased 34.7% compared to the second quarter of 2012 and declined nearly -6.2% over first quarter of 2013. 

During the first half of 2013, the HPC technical server market grew by 6.2%, with an increase of 26% in unit shipments, compared to the same period in 2012. The high-end supercomputers segment experienced a year-over-year decline of -18% in the first half of 2013. Revenue for workgroup HPC systems grew 35.1% compared to the first half of 2012.

"The top half of the HPC market, especially supercomputer systems sold for $500,000 and up, expanded rapidly right through the global economic recession and experienced record-setting growth in 2012. We said earlier that we did not expect the supercomputers segment to maintain that steep growth curve in 2013, although there will be other growth periods in the future," said Earl Joseph, IDC Program Vice President for Technical Computing. "In the first and second quarters of this year, revenue growth has shifted to sub-$250,000 systems as the lower half of the market continues to rebound from the global economic recession."

At the HPC User Forum meeting, IDC Senior Vice President Vernon Turner highlighted the historical contributions of HPC to mainstream IT markets, including parallel processing, clusters, grids, and clouds.

 Vendor Highlights for Second-Quarter 2012

HP and IBM remained in close contention for worldwide market leadership by capturing 30.1% and 29.7% of overall revenue share, respectively.

Dell maintained its strong third-place position with 14.6% of global revenue.

Bull, Dawning, and SGI all made strong year-over-year revenue gains during the second quarter of 2013, driven by the acceptance of large systems. Several vendors in the combined "others" category saw significant regional sales, including China’s Inspur, driving the quarterly growth of the "others" category by 25.6%.

The IDC Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView presents the HPC market from various perspectives, including by competitive segment, vendor, cluster versus non-cluster, geography, and operating system. It also contains detailed revenue and shipment information by HPC models.

For more information about the IDC Worldwide High Performance Technical Server QView, contact Chirag Dekate at

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