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Supercomputers: exascaler and cloud keep the HPC market moving

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Despite the upheavals caused by the pandemic, the HPC (High Performance Computing) market recorded small growth in 2020. The figures presented by Hyperion Research at the International Supercomputing Conference 2021 reveal that this was primarily due to the Japanese Fugaku system.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the market researchers at Hyperion Research feared that the course of events in the global HPC business would have a significant impact. Afterwards, it turns out that the pessimism was too great. Because in their latest hard work in accounting, the analysts even posted a small plus of 1.1 percent for 2020 with a market volume of 13.7 billion US dollars.

It was only thanks to one system that the predicted slump did not occur. RIKEN’s Fugaku alone contributed around one billion dollars to sales. Without the investments in the Japanese Exascale bolide, there would have been a minus of around eight percent at the end of the financial year. Including Fugaku, the market volume of the sub-segment of supercomputers, which cost more than $ 500,000, rose by 13.7 percent to just under six billion dollars. In addition, only the division of the technical department server in the price segment from 100,000 to 250,000 dollars improved by around ten percent to 3.8 billion US dollars.

The business with the smallest systems for HPC workloads, the price of which is below 100,000 dollars, and whose sales in 2020 fell by almost 30 percent to 1.4 billion dollars, performed significantly worse. In contrast, as expected, the use of the public cloud as a viable alternative to operating your own computing machines was on the upswing last year. Compared to on-premises investments, the purchase of HPC services from the cloud is growing 2.5 times faster, according to Hyperion. As a result, spending should soar from $ 4.3 billion in 2020 to $ 8.8 billion in 2024.

The reasons for this are well known: Buying HPC servers is simply too expensive for many companies. In addition, there is the pandemic-induced savings impulse. According to research by the market researchers, the increase in “cloudy” HPC spending is also one of the main reasons that sales in the working group segment will develop rather weakly in the coming years and, in contrast to the other sub-markets, will continue to lag behind the 2019 level.

Overall, the Hyperion analysts expect the market volume to stagnate in 2021, while they expect decent growth in the three following years. They forecast an average annual increase of 6.8 percent to almost 19 billion dollars for the period 2019 to 2024. Once again, they expect the highest rate of growth, with an average of 10.6 percent, from the class of computing machines that cost more than $ 500,000.


HPC market development 2019 to 2024

HPC market development 2019 to 2024

The supercomputer segment in particular should give the HPC market a boost again.

(Bild: Hyperion Research)

The influence of the near exascale and exascale systems is growing, especially since their prices are often in the high nine-digit range. In view of the numerous near-exascaler and excascaler projects, it is hardly surprising that market researchers expect a sales volume of more than two billion dollars for the new high-performance computers in the coming years.


New supercomputer subsegments

New supercomputer subsegments

Hyperion Research intends to subdivide the supercomputer market segment into the categories entry level, large systems and exascaler in the future.

(Bild: Hyperion Research)

Hyperion Research wants to break down this supercomputer market segment further in the future. The entry-level sub-category is intended to include systems that cost between $ 0.5 million and $ 3 million. More expensive supercomputers then fall into the large systems or exascale class. With the subdivision into the three new sub-categories, Hyperion Research wants to increase market transparency.


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