The worldwide market for high-performance technical servers, machines used for calculation-intensive scientific research, is recovering from the slump that ran from 2001 to 2003, according to analysts at IT market research company IDC.
Sales of high-performance computing (HPC) hardware grew by 30% in 2004 to reach $7.25 billion. Clusters – groups of servers linked together to form supercomputers – exhibited the strongest growth, and accounted for 37% of overall revenues.
"More high performance computing users are seeing their budgets restored to pre-recession levels, or even expanded," explains IDC analyst Earl Joseph. "The market's two-year growth spurt is heavily related to the continuing economic recovery," he adds.
While this sharp rate of growth is not expected to continue, IDC predicts that moderate revenue increases will persist. "Future growth of the HPC market will be more moderate than in 2004, as customers follow the traditional path of adopting evolving technologies," says Chris Willard at IDC.
This growth will be maintained for the most part by the lower end of the market, as falling HPC device costs attract new kinds of customer. "IDC expects stronger growth to continue for clusters and low-end servers, as hardware and software technologies for these products continue to improve," says Willard.