San Jose, Calif., and Seattle, Washington, May 21, 2019: The announcement three days ago, that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is to acquire supercomputer leader Cray Inc for $ 1.3 billion, marks a watershed of sorts in the business of high performance computing.
Cray is the world's best known provider of high-end supercomputing solutions and has a leadership position in the top 100 supercomputer installations around the globe. With a history going back to 1972, Cray is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with US-based manufacturing, and approximately 1,300 employees worldwide.
The end of the road for an independent Cray has come largely because of the competition posed by large cloud computing players like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Cray CEO Peter Ungaro admitted in a communication to its employees: "We face the longer-term threat of the massive cloud vendors. Making the necessary investments while also delivering profitability over time is a challenge and a major risk for our business.”
Cloud providers are poised to offer supercomputing-as-a-service (SCaaS) any day now at unbeatable subscription rates -- and Cray may have seen the writing on the wall.
Said Antonio Neri, President and CEO, HPE: "By combining our world-class teams and technology, we will have the opportunity to drive the next generation of high performance computing and play an important part in advancing the way people live and work.”
Added Ungaro: .“HPE and Cray share a commitment to customer-centric innovation and a vision to create the global leader for the future of high performance computing and AI."
Cray’s supercomputing systems, delivered through their current generation XC and CS platforms, and next-generation Shasta series platform, have the ability to handle massive data sets, converged modeling, simulation, AI, and analytics workloads.
Over the next three years the HPC segment of the market and associated storage and services is expected to grow from approximately $28 billion in 2018 to approximately $35 billion in 2021. Exascale is a growing segment of overall HPC opportunities and more than $4 billion of Exascale opportunities are expected to be awarded over the next five years. HP E appears to be banking on this market -- though it is not immune to the looming threat of emerging pay-by-use supercomputing models.
CRAYS IN INDIA
India turned out to be a good market for Cray in its last years as an independent maker of supercomputers. The country is home to 3 Cray machines -- all SC-40s: at The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting and the Supercomputing Education and Research Centre at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
See Image of the Day for a salute to Seymour Cray, father of supercomputing