Chris Willard from Tabor’s research team has a blog post about all the turmoil in on the business side of our industry lately. He talks briefly about each of Sun, SGI, and SiCortex, before getting to a mental exercise on potential next evolutions for the industry
Are we past the eye of the storm or is there still more bad news to come. Frankly, I don’t know. However, it is worth considering both scenarios. On the bright side, it is important to remember that market consolidation (i.e., mergers, acquisitions, business failures, etc.) is a normal part of the business landscape; it happens all the time. Economic storms cause these events to bunch up. Also, the HPC industry as a whole is relatively storm-worthy. Industries need to develop new products and improve existing ones even through bad times; similarly, government activities in national security and in some research areas cannot be put on hold; and academic sector research needs to continue. Finally, shakeouts tend to strengthen the surviving players by reducing competition for market share.
On the darker side, the most concerning issue is the lack of investment funds. One effect of shakeouts in an industry is that it releases resources (talent and funding) for the creation of new companies that can both bring new ideas to market and are themselves new customers for a variety of industries. However, as SiCortex illustrates, there are few if any resources currently available for new investments. In addition, we are in a banking sector driven recession, which is like having a series of major earthquake during the hurricane, all sectors of the economy are affected, so recovery depends on an across-the-board restart of spending and investment.