High-Performance Computing Getting Higher

According to IDC, the worldwide market for high-performance technical servers grew by 30 percent in 2004.

IDC’s data shows that the high-performance computing (HPC) market hit $7.25 billion in 2004 up from $5.6 billion in 2003. The high performance technical server market includes supercomputers as well as high end/high capacity clusters. 2004 marks a recovery for the HPC space which fell after hitting a high point of $6.1 billion in 2000 and then declined in 2001.

Growth was driven partially by clusters that were worth $2.7 billion or 37 percent of the overall HPC market. Systems priced at less than $50,000 (the low end of the market) grew by 65 percent. On the other end, systems priced at over $1 million saw revenue growth of 45 percent.

IDC expects the growth in the HPC market in 2005 will be more moderate than in 2004, though they expect continued strong growth for clusters and low-end servers.

“The growing momentum in the HPC space continued for the final quarter of 2004, finishing out 2004 with 30 percent of year-over-year growth,” said Jie Wu, senior research analyst of technical computing systems at IDC, in a statement. “While we recognize this strong result as a continued market rebound, IDC anticipates a moderate growth pattern to return in the upcoming quarters as the market evolves and stabilizes.”

The world’s fastest supercomputer (which fits into the HPC category) recently shattered its own speed record. IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer has now hit 135.3 teraflops up from the previous record of 70.7 teraflops. The starting price for a Blue Gene supercomputer is $1.5 million.

In October, supercomputer vendor Cray unveiled its XD1 Linux-based cluster running AMD’s popular Opteron processor at prices starting under $100,000.

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