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 cancelled, 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", stated Earl Joseph, IDC Programme 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.