Thoughts on the impact of the credit market meltdown on HPC

It remains to be seen if this is happening, but …

Along comes company X, who wants to buy a large HPC system. They call up company Y, and asks them to build a system design and quote for them.

Off Y goes, works through everything, gets updated pricing. They notice that all their T&C from their suppliers are suddenly Net-cash terms. Basically buy it, but pay with a credit card or other immediate instrument. Wire us the money. Something like that.

Hmmm. Ok, then Y goes to its financial group and says “we want to sell X an HPC system. What terms can we extend?”


The financial group looks at the costs, calls its lenders up, and discovers that, though Y has an excellent credit history … they pay on time and in full, they cannot get the capital they need to purchase the gear, or the capital went from being ~2% cost of money for 30-60 day interval to some much higher number.

Y’s financial group reports back to the sales group. Y’s sales group realize that they can’t really extend credit to X. The risks are quite high of default, and even if X has an excellent history of repayment, current asset valuations make determining X’s ability to pay much harder.

Y is forced to tell X that they have to pay a significant portion of this up-front, and Y will use that to guarantee what has effectively become a loan from Y to X. This is the security, along with Y’s own collateral assets, that Y will take to its lenders to secure the credit, in order to buy the components to build their product.

I am hoping that the credit markets don’t remain in a frozen state for that much longer. This could have a serious impact on HPC as a market.

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