IDC forecasts declining HPC systems sales

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This sounds like a no-brainer, but keep in mind that predictions right now are all over the map and depend upon how you slice the market. The Platform/Waters survey predicts HPC sales will be up in the financial sector (and this was echoed in a recent interview I had with Verari for HPCwire), and Addison Snell of Tabor Research recently reiterated his cautiously positive predictions for 2009.

IDC sent an email around to one of its lists lately announcing its new analysis, and I got a copy. Motivated by the dramatic changes in the economic picture, IDC has created a new 5 year forecast and intends to update it quarterly until “things settle down.”

The highlights

The new HPC base case forecast predicts a decline in 2008, followed by an additional modest decline in 2009, then a return to growth in 2010 to 2012, resulting in an overall CAGR from 2007 to 2012 of 3.1% in revenues and 2.7% in HPC systems sold.

We are projecting that 2008 will end with $9.6 billion in technical server revenues from 184,605 system unit sales with an overall average selling price (ASP) of $52,300. This revised forecast for 2008 represents a 4.2% decline in HPC server revenues from 2007, and a reduction of 20.0% in system units sold. The rising ASPs and dropping units observed in the first three quarters of the year indicate that many discretionary sales at the lower end of the market were curtailed.

We are now projecting the HPC market will eventually return to a robust 9% growth rate (after the decline) and reach $11.7 billion by 2012, with 263,000 systems sold (note that systems in the case is referring to an entire cluster, not a single node).