Sunday, November 22, 2020

HPC ecosystem - SC20

 This article is a quick summary of SC20 trends and the current state of the HPC ecosystem from a tech and market perspective.

Technology-wise there are three main competing HPC architectures: 

  • Commodity (e.g. Intel)
  • Commodity + accelerator (e.g. GPUs)
  • Lightweight cores (e.g. IBM BG, Xeon Phi, TaihuLight, ARM )

Commodity systems represent the bulk of the systems out there. However, commodity + accelerator are ramping up their presence aggressively. Nvidia dominates this market segment with 142 systems out of 149. With Intel scooping 4 with it's Phi solution. Lightweight cores systems are a minority with only four systems. But with the new A64FX and a renewed appetite for custom chips, this might change rapidly.

Intel is still dominating the ecosystem, with 92% of the shares, followed by AMD with 4%. However, this might change rapidly with AMD EHP technology ramping up. Another aspect is that AMD technology tends to be more open-source friendly, which can make it more attractive long term. Not to mention that their GPU also start to become highly competitive in the AI space.

From a market size, the HPC market was $39.0 billion in 2019, up 8.2% from $36.1 billion in 2018. Predictions show growth to $55.0 billion in 2024. Most of the growth was led by government spending after six years of growth led by industry. The number of system in industry vs public is not equally divided with ~50% each.

One notable change is double-digit growth of cloud HPC related market. Cloud grew 17.8% to $1.4 billion; however, this might only be the tip of the iceberg as many companies might be using HPC like system in the cloud without labelling it as HPC. Cloud solutions are heavily displacing low-end HPC segment. Entry and mid-range level server classes have the slowest growth in years as consumers prefer to buy HPC as a service solution and reduce their CAPEX. 

AI is still heavily influencing the HPC infrastructure market as it represents a considerable opportunity for HPC solution vendors. HyperscaleAI infrastructure by itself is about $8 billion. It seems that for the moment, AI and HPC future are closely intertwined.

Sources: Intersect360 research - Pre-SC20 Market Update & Jack Dongarra - An overview of HPC

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