High-performance computing (HPC) is no longer just the preserve of elite universities and government research labs, HPE claimed as it announced it is splashing $275m on loss-making HPC specialist SGI.
Antonio Neri, executive vice president of HPE's Enterprise Group, said in a blog post accompany news of the deal that HPC is "rapidly making its way into the enterprise".
SGI - formerly Silicon Graphics - was one of stars of the computing industry in the 1990s, when its servers were used in Hollywood blockbusters such as Jurassic Park.
Since then, the NASDAQ-listed firm has gone through multiple bankruptcies, recording a GAAP net loss of $11m on revenues of $533m in its financial year ended 24 June 2016.
HPE said the acquisition will "strengthen its leadership" in an HPC market worth $11bn, and growing at a rate of six to eight per cent annually, by uniting its compute solutions with SGI's in-memory, high-performance data analytics technology.
"Organisations large and small are adopting HPC and big data analytics to derive deeper, more contextual insights about their business, customers and prospects, and compete in the age of big data," Neri said.
Talking to CRN, Julian Fielden managing director of UK HPC integrator OCF, said a deal between the two parties looked likely after they struck up an OEM agreement earlier this year.
"Someone had to buy SGI as all they did was burn cash - they had good technology but don't seem to be able to market it," Fielden said.
"In the old days, they made a fortune selling Unix workstations into sexy markets like films but their technology was basically usurped by Intel."
Fielden said Lenovo, Fujitsu and Intel ally OCF counts neither HPE nor SGI as a vendor partner because both tend to sell direct in the UK.
"We don't tend to see HPE very much in HPC in the UK," he said. "They've always been quite tactical, identifying one or two customers they want and going out and getting them."
Fielden (pictured) agreed with HPE that big data is fuelling HPC growth, revealing that OCF itself has grown headcount from about 30 to 45 in the last 18 months.
"A lot of HPC is about simulating problems you can't afford to do in the real world, and that's all about reducing time to market and doing research more efficiently," he said.
"Now we've got this data-driven explosion, the technologies are starting to converge, so now systems are being designed that can do the simulation but can also do the big data analytics - looking for insights in masses of data - so the market is strong and I think will continue to be so."
The $7.75 per share cash deal, which values SGI at $275m net of cash and debt, is expected to close in the first quarter of HPE's fiscal year 2017.
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