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HPC Budget Allocation Map: Industry Averages

by Christopher Willard, Ph.D., Addison Snell, Laura Segervall
for Intersect360 Research
October 2010

Intersect360 Research surveyed the High Performance Computing user community to complete its third Site Budget Allocation Map, a look at how HPC sites divide and spend their budgets. We surveyed users on their spending in seven top-level categories: hardware, software, facilities, staffing, services, utility computing, and other. Each category was further divided into constituent subcategories, resulting in 25 unique items included in the analysis. This report contains the key data, along with analysis, conclusions, and guidance.

This report provides the average budget distribution for the responding sites within each category and provides a view of the entire HPC budget distribution and IT Product spending (excludes facilities and staffing).

Important statistical highlights from this study include:

  • The average HPC site spent 37% of its HPC budget on hardware. Hardware remains the largest category yet declined by 4% from the 2008 results. Servers lead spending in this category, followed by storage and networks.
  • Staffing continued as the second-largest overall expense, growing by 2%, with the expense of application and system programmers contributing to most of that growth.
  • Cloud/Utility/Outsource Computing appeared for the first time in the 2008 survey and continued to gain share in the 2010 HPC budget. The use of cloud/utility computing for Raw Cycles was the predominant use of cloud/utility computing in the 2010 survey, moving into the sixth position for total HPC IT Product Spending.
  • Facilities expenditures represent on average 11% of a site’s HPC budget. We estimate on average another 5% to 7% is paid for facilities items out of another budget. About 38% of respondents stated facilities was not in budget (NIB) and more than 40% of those who had facilities in their budget did not pay every item (power, cooling, building/floor space).
  • Servers and storage combined accounted for about 30% of the HPC budget distribution and 47% share of the IT product budget. All other items individually represented less than 10%.
  • About two-thirds (65%) of the respondents expect budgets to increase over the next two years. HPC budgets have shown to be fairly resilient in economic turmoil with over 90% of the surveyed respondents expecting flat or increasing budgets in all three budget map studies.

As we did last year, Intersect360 Research continues to urge vendors to pursue market strategies based on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). As economic times toughen, we expect more users to focus on improving productivity at a lower TCO. While server sales still account for the greatest percentage of budgets, vendors should look beyond the servers.

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