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Hyperion: Covid-19 Driving Down HPC Server Revenues, But Impact May Be Moderating

According to a newly released Hyperion Research Worldwide High Performance Technical Server QView, total worldwide technical server revenues were almost $3.1 billion in the second quarter of 2020, down 5.4 percent from almost $3.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019 but showing a strong 12.8 percent increase from the first quarter of 2020. The economic impact of covid-19 on overall HPC server revenues, felt heavily in the first quarter of 2020 when sequential quarterly growth declined by 17.5 percent, appears to be moderating.

“In the second quarter, the global HPC market started to recover from the initial impact of the pandemic, but we are watching carefully to see how this plays out in this full calendar year and beyond,” said Hyperion Research CEO Dr. Earl C. Joseph.

Worldwide technical server 1Q 2020/ 2Q 2020 revenue growth varied widely across the four price band segments tracked by Hyperion Research. The Supercomputer sector showed the highest growth over the last two quarters among the four segments, while the Workgroup segment bore the brunt of the pandemic impact, with no growth in sequential quarterly sales.

Specifically:

  • The Supercomputers segment for HPC server systems priced at $500,000 and up grew to about $1.1 billion in 2Q 2020, up 16.4 percent from the previous quarter but down by 8.6 percent from the same quarter of 2019.
  • The Divisional segment for systems priced between $250,000 and $499,000 grew to about $670 million in 2Q 2020, up by 15.1 percent from the previous quarter but down by 11.6 percent from the same quarter of 2019.
  • The Departmental HPC segment for HPC systems priced between $100,000 to $249,000 grew to almost $910 million in 2Q 2020, up 12.1 percent from the previous quarter while seeing a gain of 17.7 percent from the same quarter of 2019.
  • The Workgroup HPC segment for sub-$100,000 systems stayed at about $340 million, having no growth between the first and second quarter of 2020 while seeing a significant decline of over 25 percent from the same quarter of 2019.

Hyperion Research analysts note that the Supercomputers segment, typified by protracted procurement cycles, is generally the segment least affected by near-term economic fluctuations. However, over the past year, the Departmental segment has been the most resilient, perhaps as some planned Divisional sales may have shifted to the less expensive Department segment. In contrast, the Workgroup segment has the most short-term and flexible procurement cycles and is often most vulnerable to near-term budgetary fluctuations. In addition, there is growing evidence that covid-19 impacts aside, Workgroup users are moving a growing portion of their workloads to public cloud platforms to take advantage of flexible options.

All of the HPC vendor server revenues tracked by Hyperion Research saw positive growth from 1Q 2020 to 2Q 2020. HPE (now including Cray) remains the largest HPC server vendor with 37 percent of total worldwide server market share and saw its 2Q 2020/1Q 2020 revenues expand by almost 20 percent (partly due to the steep decline in Q1). Inspur lead growth for all vendors tracked with its 2Q 2020 revenues growing to $181 million, an increase of almost 29 percent over the previous quarter’s revenues. Other HPC vendors’ 1Q 2020/ 2Q 2020 revenue growth rates included Dell Technologies (4.4 percent), Lenovo (17.5 percent) and IBM (8.8 percent).

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

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