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The high performance computing (HPC) technical server market rose tangibly in 2011 thanks to recovery of worldwide economic as well as increasing importance of technical computing, according to a new report from  International Data Corp. (IDC). The brightest spot was the "supercomputers" segment, which jumped tangible 24% year-over-year. The HPC market was dominated by IBM, HP and Dell, who controlled nearly 80% of the market revenue.

Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing technical server market increased by 8.4% in full-year 2011 to reach a record $10.3 billion, up from $9.5 billion in 2010. The 2011 results exceeded IDC's forecast of 7.2% year-over-year revenue growth. IDC expects the HPC technical server market to grow at a healthy 7% to 8% yearly rate to reach revenues of $13.4 billion by 2015.

Unit shipments in 2011 declined 6.9% year over year as average selling prices grew, indicating a continued shift to large system sales. IBM (achieved 19.3% revenue growth over 2010) and HP (revenue increased by a robust 9.6%) ended the year in a statistical tie for leadership with 32.6% and 32.1% of overall factory revenue market share, respectively. Dell grew revenue by 2.1% and maintained its number three position with nearly 14.5% market share.

The brightest spot was the "supercomputers" segment for HPC systems selling for $500 thousand and up, which jumped 24% to reach revenues of nearly $4.4 billion during a year of continuing worldwide economic recovery. At the other end of the price spectrum, revenue from "workgroup" HPC systems sold for below $100 thousand fell 4% to $1.2 billion as buyers continued to delay or cancel some planned acquisitions in this segment that is characterized by purchases based on shorter sales cycles and more discretionary spending. These results reflect a continuing, dramatic shift of HPC technical server revenue share toward the supercomputers segment.

"HPC technical servers, especially supercomputers, have been closely linked not only to scientific advances but also to industrial innovation and economic competitiveness. For this reason, nations and regions across the world are increasing their investments in supercomputing even in today's challenging economic conditions," said Earl Joseph, program vice president for technical computing at IDC.

Tags: IBM, Dell, HP, Intel, Nvidia, AMD, Tesla, Opteron, FireStream, HPC

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