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Budget Allocation Map: Industry Averages

by Christopher G. Willard, Ph.D., Addison Snell, Laura Segervall
for Intersect360 Research
January 2013

Intersect360 Research surveyed the High Performance Computing user community to complete its fifth 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, cloud/utility computing, and other. Each category was further divided into constituent subcategories, resulting in 25 unique items included in the analysis.

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

Important statistical highlights from this study include:

  • Hardware remains the largest category. The average HPC site spent 46% of its HPC budget on hardware this year. Servers lead spending in this category, followed by storage and networks.
  • Staffing continued as the second-largest overall expense. System management and operations combined with maintenance personnel accounted for 46% of the staffing budget.
  • Facilities expenditures represent on average 9.5% of a site’s HPC budget. We estimate that, on average, at least another 5% is paid for facilities items out of another budget. About 38% of respondents stated that their facilities costs were “not in budget” (NIB), and many of those who had facilities in their budget did not pay every item (e.g., power, cooling, building/floor space).
  • Software share remains steady at about 14% of the total HPC budget. Software tools accounted for the largest share within software, with a 25% share of the HPC software budget.
  • More than half (55%) of all respondents expect their budgets to increase more than 5% over the next two years, and 33% expect little or no change in budgets. 


  • HPC system elements
  • Systems, clusters
  • HPC Clusters
  • Supercomputers
  • Server technologies
  • Processor elements
  • System processors
  • Storage elements
  • Storage systems
  • Network-attached storage (NAS)
  • Storage area neworks (SAN)
  • Direct-attached storage (DAS)
  • Cloud storage
  • Storage components
  • Storage software
  • Software elements
  • Operating systems
  • Linux-based
  • Middleware
  • Cluster management
  • Job scheduling
  • Load balancing
  • Cloud management
  • Virtualization
  • Other middleware
  • Developer tools
  • Programming models (e.g. MPI, OpenMP)
  • Compilers and languages
  • Developer environments (IDEs)
  • Libraries
  • Accelerator-specific optimization tools (e.g. CUDA, OpenCL)
  • Debuggers
  • Parallel programming tools
  • Other development and optimization libraries and tools
  • Application software
  • Independent software vendor (ISV) or third-party (purchased/licensed) applications
  • In-house developed applications
  • Facilities-level technologies
  • Services
  • Programming services
  • Maintenance services
  • Cloud computing, grid computing, utility computing
  • Public cloud technologies
  • Private cloud technologies
  • XaaS models, such as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and HPC as a Service (“HPCaaS”)
  • Cloud bursting

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