United States supercomputer maker Cray Inc bought in £1bn deal

18 Mai, 2019, 03:48 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A rare non-working Living Computers computer a Cray 1

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has bought Cray Inc, maker of some of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

The acquisition joins a recent spate of M&A activity at the advanced scale computing end of the technology industry - including the Nvidia-Mellanox and Xilinx-Solarflare acquisitions, all with the apparent objective of delivering platforms able to tackle the broad strategic imperatives of the "holy quintet": integrated HPC-big data-AI-5G-IoT solutions. "Everybody wants to plug holes either with M&A or partnerships".

HPE cited HPC market research projecting growth from $28 billion in 2018 to $35 billion in 2021.

Exascale computing, in particular, has caught HPE's attention, with the firm swooning that it's expected to generate $4bn worth opportunities are expected to be awarded over the next five years. Cray has also started to develop a seemingly strong relationship with AMD, too, at a time when HPE's supercomputing competitor, IBM, has been strengthening its own relationship with Nvidia, AMD's main rival in the GPU market. "Cray will benefit from joining a company with greater resources and much more experience in commercial markets that are increasingly adopting HPC technology to accelerate R&D and business operations".

Cray recently signed a deal for an Exascale supercomputer contract with the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory valued at over $600m. The system, which aims to be the world's fastest, will be built using Cray's Shasta system architecture and Slingshot interconnect. Their first product, the Cray-1 supercomputer, was an instant success, paving the way for Cray to become a major player in the supercomputer industry over the next several decades. It has headquarters in Seattle and makes its machines in the US.

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The big picture: Cray employs around 1,300 people around the globe.

In discussing the company's first-quarter earnings last week (May 7), Cray CEO Pete Ungaro characterized 2019 as a transition year.

The combination of HPE and Cray will deliver significant customer benefits including future HPC-as-a-Service and AI and ML analytics through HPE Green Lake.

"Answers to some of society's most pressing challenges are buried in massive amounts of data", said HPE chief executive Antonio Neri.

He added: "Only by processing and analyzing this data will we be able to unlock the answers to critical challenges across medicine, climate change, space and more".

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