Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market grew by 3.9% to $2.8 billion in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), compared with $2.7 billion in the prior-year third quarter, according to IDC (www.idc.com).
Revenue for the first three quarters of 2016 totaled $8.1 billion, up 3.4% from the $7.8 billion total for the same period last year, according to new data from the research group. In 3Q16, strong revenue growth in higher-end HPC server systems was partially offset by revenue declines in lower-priced systems.
Revenue for supercomputer systems priced at $500,000 and up jumped 22.3% to $985.3 million compared with $805.7 million in the 2015 third quarter. For divisional systems priced from $250,000 to $499,000, revenue grew by a similarly robust 22.4% to $568.4 million in the quarter, up from $464.5 million in the prior-year third quarter.
Departmental revenue for systems priced between $100,000 and $249,000 declined 14.4% from $976.4 million in the prior-year quarter to $836.2 million in 3Q16. Revenue for Workgroup HPC systems priced below $100,000 declined 8.7% from $433.0 million in the third quarter of 2015 to $395.5 million in 34Q16.
Reflecting the tilt toward higher-priced systems, unit shipments decreased from 71,479 in the first three quarters of 2015 to 63,385 in the same period of 2016, while the average selling price (ASP) rose from $109,280 to $127,411.
“In the third quarter of 2016, HPC was a bright spot in the overall worldwide server market, which IDC previously reported declined 7.0% year over year to $12.5 billion in the quarter,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for Technical Computing. “Higher-priced systems led the way with year-over-year growth exceeding 22%, while lower-priced system revenue declined.”
“The workgroup segment, and especially the departmental segment, substantially ramped up purchases of HPC servers in the period 2012-2015, in tune with the global economic recovery. In the first three quarters of 2016, more of these buyers were in a position to wait a while before buying another system. IDC expects this dip to be temporary,” added Kevin Monroe, IDC senior research analyst for Technical Computing.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) led the market with a 35.8% share of overall HPC server revenue, followed by Dell with 18.5% and Lenovo with 8.6%. In the strategically important Supercomputers segment, the top three were again HPE (37.0% share), Dell (13.3% share), and Lenovo (8.1% share), with Fujitsu closely following (7.0% share). The combined “Other” category captured 22.1% of the HPC server market and 21.5% of the Supercomputers segment. The “Other” category includes more than 30 smaller HPC server system vendors. Their collective market share demonstrates that barriers to entry into the HPC server market remain relatively low.