High performance computing has evolved significantly in recent years. With increased power and flexibility, HPC solutions are now used by organizations for a tremendous range of purposes. Yet despite this progress, many still think of this technology as solely the province of major enterprises and advanced research organizations.
HPC use has evolved far beyond that and modern tools have reduced barriers to entry. As Midsize Insider contributor Marissa Tejada recently highlighted, HPC tools are now invaluable resources for midsize firms.
HPC for midsize companies
According to Tejada, the utility of HPC solutions for midsize firms is not dependent on these companies modifying their operations. On the contrary, HPC manufacturers are increasingly developing systems specifically designed to be used by midsize companies. Of particular note is the high performance data analysis market segment. Tejada noted that by leveraging these options, midsize firms can take on complicated analytics problems that were previously beyond their scope.
Critically, these HPC solutions are now available to companies at a modest price, making them viable options for a large number of businesses, Tejada explained.
"With the help of trusted HPC vendors, IT professionals at midsize firms can incorporate HPC without big investments or complicated hardware to manage," Tejada wrote. "With limited resources but the need to optimize their IT, midsize firms have found HPC to be a valuable and affordable tool that can deliver the right business results."
Tejada noted that the HPC market in general and HPDA market in particular have grown incredibly quickly. This creates both opportunities and challenges for midsize companies. The opportunities are more obvious: By leveraging HPC solutions, these firms can improve their internal processes, becoming more efficient and more innovative. The more data available to and created by companies around the globe further increases the value of high-powered computing tools.
The challenging side of this trend is the fact that as these solutions become more popular, the pressure to adopt will grow. In the near future, midsize companies without robust, high-quality HPC tools in place may struggle to compete within their given industries as more of their rivals utilize these resources. Similarly, companies will likely need to upgrade their HPC toolchain frequently to keep pace with the evolving HPC market.
To highlight this point, a recent IDC report noted that 33,577 HPC systems were shipped worldwide in the first quarter of this year, THE Journal reported. This represented a modest increase relative to the same period in 2013, yet also resulted in a nearly 10 percent drop in year-over-year revenue. The reason for this seemingly counterintuitive combination is that the market for low-end HPC systems, such as those used by smaller organizations, grew significantly while fewer firms ordered high-end HPC solutions. Systems that cost less than $100,000 saw a 11.4 percent increase in revenue, while $100,000 to $249,000 systems' revenue was unchanged. Among high-end HPC systems, though, revenue dropped by 32.7 percent relative to Q1 2013.
"HPC technical server revenues are expected to grow at a healthy rate because of the crucial role they play in economic competitiveness as well as scientific progress," said Earl Joseph, program vice president for technical computing at IDC, the news source reported. "As the global race toward exascale computing fuels the high end of the market, more small and medium-sized businesses and research organizations are exploiting HPC servers for advanced simulations and high performance data analysis."
Ultimately, IDC predicted annual HPC revenue to experience annual growth of 7.4 percent, reaching $14.7 billion by 2018.