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HPC Server Revenue Posts Record Growth in Third Quarter of 2012, IDC Reports

Worldwide factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market achieved its highest-ever level in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). Third quarter revenue grew 40.3% to reach $3.3 billion, up from $2.6 billion in the same period of 2011, according to the newly released International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView. IDC maintains its forecast that the HPC technical server market will reach $11 billion for the full year 2012, expanding by about 7% over 2011 revenues of $10.3 billion.

A major component of the 3Q12 growth came from very large systems sold by Fujitsu and IBM. The brightest spot continued to be the high-end Supercomputers segment, consisting of HPC systems sold for $500,000 and up. Revenue in this segment jumped 80.6% over the second quarter of 2012 to $2.1 billion. At the other end of the price spectrum, revenue from Workgroup HPC systems, sold for below $100,000, grew slightly at 5.4% compared to 2Q12, and declined 8.8% year over year. Workgroup HPC systems were especially hard hit by the global economic recession, but IDC expects this segment to rebound in the coming five-year period.

In the third quarter of 2012, the high-end Supercomputers segment accounted for 62.4% of worldwide HPC technical server revenue, while the Divisional segment ($250,000 to $499,000 price band) captured 10.2% of revenue. The Departmental segment ($100,000 to $249,000 price band) made up 19.3% of revenue, and the Workgroup segment contributed 8.1%.

Third quarter 2012 unit shipments of 23,659 increased by 3.4% over the previous quarter, as average selling prices continued to grow during an ongoing, multi-year shift to large system sales.

During the first three quarters of 2012, the HPC technical server market grew by 8.3%, with a decline of 13.1% in unit shipments, compared to the same period in 2011. The high end Supercomputers segment experienced growth of 39.4% in the first three quarters of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. Revenue for Workgroup HPC systems experienced a decline 11.3% when compared to the first three quarters in 2011.

"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. "We expect the global race for HPC leadership in the petascale-exascale era to continue heating up during this decade."

IDC expects the HPC technical server market to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% over the 2012-2016 forecast period to reach revenues of $14 billion by 2016.

Vendor Highlights for Third-Quarter 2012

  • IBM and HP remained the worldwide market leaders capturing 33.1% and 25.7% of overall revenue share, respectively.
  • In the third quarter of 2012, Fujitsu, driven by its K system deployment, earned the third place position with over 16.1% of the worldwide revenue. However, over the first three quarters of 2012, Dell maintained its strong third position.
  • Cray (+14.4%), SGI (+19.7%), and Bull (+18.7%) all made strong year-over year revenue gains during the third quarter of 2012, driven by the acceptance of large systems. Several vendors in the combined "Other" category saw significant regional sales, including China's Dawning, which showed continued momentum at a more moderate pace (2.7%).

The IDC Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView presents the HPC market from various perspectives, including by competitive segment, vendor, cluster versus non-cluster, geography, and operating system. It also contains detailed revenue and shipment information by HPC models.

For more information about the IDC Worldwide High Performance Technical Server QView, contact Chirag Dekate at

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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