Hewlett Packard Enterprise was already the leader in the high-performance computing (HPC) sector before its announced acquisition of supercomputer maker Cray earlier this month. Now it has a commanding lead, but there are still competitors to the giant.\nThe news that HPE would shell out $1.3 billion to buy the company came just as Cray had announced plans to build three of the biggest systems yet \u2014 all exascale, and all with the same deployment\u00a0time of 2021.\n\nSales had been slowing for HPC systems, but our government, with its endless supply of money, came to the rescue, throwing hundreds of millions at Cray for systems to be built at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.\nAnd HPE sees a big revenue opportunity in HPC, a market that was $2 billion in 1990 and now nearly $30 billion, according to Steve Conway, senior vice president with Hyperion Research, which follows the HPC market. HPE thinks the HPC market will grow to $35 billion by 2021, and it hopes to earn a big chunk of that pie.\n\u201cThey were solidly in the lead without Cray. They were already in a significant lead over the No. 2 company, Dell. This adds to their lead and gives them access to very high end of market, especially government supercomputers that sell for $300 million to $600 million each,\u201d said Conway.\nHe\u2019s not exaggerating. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Energy announced a contract with Cray to build Frontier, an exascale supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, sometime in 2021, with a $600 million price tag. Frontier will be powered by AMD Epyc processors and Radeon GPUs, which must have them doing backflips at AMD.\nWith Cray, HPE is sitting on a lot of technology for the supercomputing and even the high-end, non-HPC market. It had the ProLiant business, the bulk of server sales (and proof the Compaq acquisition wasn\u2019t such a bad idea), Integrity NonStop mission-critical servers, the SGI business it acquired in in 2016, plus a variety running everything from Arm to Xeon Scalable processors.\nConway thinks all of those technologies fit in different spaces, so he doubts HPE will try to consolidate any of it. All HPE has said so far is it will keep the supercomputer products it has now under the Cray business unit.\nBut the company is still getting something it didn\u2019t have. \u201cIt takes a certain kind of technical experience [to do HPC right] and only a few companies able to play at that level. Before this deal, HPE was not one of them,\u201d said Conway.\nAnd in the process, HPE takes Cray away from its many competitors: IBM, Lenovo, Dell\/EMC, Huawei (well, not so much now), Super Micro, NEC, Hitachi, Fujitsu, and Atos.\n\u201c[The acquisition] doesn\u2019t fundamentally change things because there\u2019s still enough competitors that buyers can have competitive bids. But it\u2019s gotten to be a much bigger market,\u201d said Conway.\nCray sells a lot to government, but Conway thinks there is a new opportunity in the ever-expanding AI race. \u201cBecause HPC is indispensable at the forefront of AI, there is a new area for expanding the market,\u201d he said.