HPE: The Acquisition Champ Makes a Move

May 17, 2019

I read “HP Enterprise Nears Deal to Buy Supercomputer Pioneer Cray.” The article reports the allegedly accurate rumor that the former owner of Autonomy is poised to snap up another outfit. The idea is that by purchasing a fast growing, high potential company, HPE will increase its revenues.

I noted this statement:

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. has agreed to buy U.S. supercomputer maker Cray Inc. in a deal valued at about $1.4 billion as the firm works to become more competitive in high-end computing.

The market for high end computing is changing. Cray, founded in 1972, has bounced from owner to owner in the last 47 years. Yep, almost a half century. In the world of computers, that strikes me as a long, long time.

Years ago I worked with a Cray engineer. I recall one comment about her former employer:

It was fun. We mostly solved problems the Cray way.

What was the Cray way? Usually sophisticated, quite original, and very expensive to manufacture.

How much of that tradition persists after 47 years?

HPE’s financial results. There may be some useful comparative data on Top500.org. Cray held down the number 5 spot in November 2018. IBM an China offer solutions which are a bit more zippy. But for tens of millions of dollars, the stakes are high when competing with a country and IBM.

What about Amazon, Google, and Microsoft? These outfits have systems which are not “super”. The companies do generate some hefty revenues.

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2019


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