Enabling Technologies for High-Performance Computing

Published - Oct 2007| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - IFT061A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for key enabling HPC hardware technologies was worth some $13.5 billion in 2006, a figure that is expected to increase to $14.9 billion in 2007 and $22.9 billion in 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% over the next five years.
  • Hardware accounts for nearly 90% of the market for key HPC technologies. Within the hardware segment, memory accounts for the largest share of key HPC hardware, with 37.6% of the total market.
  • By 2012, memory's share of the HPC hardware market is expected to shrink slightly to 36.9%.
  • Storage has the second largest market share, with 30.5% of the total hardware market, followed by processors with 24.8% of the total and interconnects with 6.6%. Thermal management hardware accounts for less than 1% of the value of all types of key HPC hardware sold.


High-performance computing (HPC) refers to the use of parallel supercomputers and computer clusters-that is, computing systems comprised of multiple (usually mass-produced) processors linked together in a single system whose performance is typically rated in the teraflop (TFLOP) and higher range. This report focuses on HPC enabling technologies, specifically microprocessors, system memory, interconnects, data storage, thermal management, and software.

There are several reasons for this report's focus on enabling technologies, including the fact that the market for HPC systems per se is already the subject of continuing coverage from other IT analyst firms. On a more substantive level, it is on the level of enabling technologies that developments are taking place with the potential to broaden the market for HPC.

In particular, enabling technologies play an important role in broadening the market for HPC. Because of the complexity of HPC hardware and software, HPC until recently has been more or less limited to university engineering and research departments and specialized vertical markets such as oil and gas exploration, bioscience, and financial research.

Today, a growing number of enterprises are taking advantage of the affordable computing power of clustered standards-based servers running commodity processors to assemble and manage smaller-scale HPC systems on their own. As these pioneers prove the business case for do-it-yourself, in-house HPC in enterprise settings, in-house HPC will become an increasingly important driver of the overall HPC market.


This report contains:


  • Descriptions of enabling technologies and products for HPC (microprocessors, system memory, interconnects, data storage, thermal management, and software) with the greatest commercial potential in the near to mid-term (2007-2012)
  • Analysis of the key drivers that will shape the market for HPC enabling technologies over the next 5 years
  • Estimates of the current and future demand for HPC technologies and products
  • A patent analysis and company profiles of developers and vendors.



The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from industry sources, including vendors and users of HPC products. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the market projections contained in this report.

The base-year for analysis and projection is 2006. With 2006 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2007 to 2012. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with BCC's understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective.

Analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on Detailed Market Projections. The documentation is intended to enable the reader to evaluate the projections and, if desired, substitute alternative assumptions.

All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2005 constant dollars, unless otherwise noted.


The author of this report is Andrew McWilliams. Mr. McWilliams is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm of 43rd Parallel, LLC. He is the author of a number of other BCC Research studies of related technologies, such as Analog and Mixed Signal Devices, The Market for Thermal Management Technologies, Semiconductor/Microelectronics Cleaning, IFT054A Data Storage Media: Materials, Technologies, Markets, and Semiconductor Microlithography: Materials and Markets.

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