HPC sales drove 2007 server sales growth

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A post at Sun’s HPC Watercooler got me looking for an IT Jungle piece analyzing some of the recent IDC numbers on the industry. Attention grabber for us HPC guys:

…Those numbers tell you two things. First, the HPC market accounted for 21.3 percent of all server sales last year, and that the HPC slice of the server space grew in excess of four times as fast as the overall server space….Basically, if you take HPC server sales out of the equation, then general purpose server sales were essentially flat in 2007.

The article covers some of IDC’s new schema for segmenting the HPC market, adoption of which accounts for much of the new growth. It’s an interesting read and I recommend you at least skim the whole thing.

Wondering about why the slowing economy didn’t ding HPC sales last year? You might not put away your pork and beans yet

“There was no discernible evidence of the general economic slowdown reflected in 2007 HPC system sales,” explains Steve Conway, IDC’s research vice president for high performance computing. “Several factors likely helped insulate the HPC market: the length of HPC budgeting cycles, the global nature of the HPC market, HPC’s relatively small presence in the financial sector, and HPC’s essential role in government, academic research, and industry. IDC will closely monitor 2008 quarterly revenue data for any evidence of economic impact.”

None of those factors is insulated from anything more than a short term decline in the economy, especially if the government decides to go on a(nother) spending spree to prop it up.