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HPE, Cisco Stay Atop Cloud Infrastructure Space, Synergy Finds

In Q4 2015, HPE maintained a slim lead over Cisco, but the top four vendors are being pushed by IBM and white box makers, the analysts say.

cloud infrastructure

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems are continuing their tight competition in the cloud infrastructure market, according to analysts at Synergy Research Group.

In a report out March 21, the market research firm said Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) still held a small lead over Cisco in the fourth quarter of 2015, but that Cisco narrowed the gap during those three months.

In addition, the analysts noted that the four top vendors—HPE, Cisco, Dell and Microsoft—saw their market shares fall from the third to the fourth quarter due to the growing strength of IBM's efforts and the trend of original design manufacturers (ODMs) selling more white-box systems to cloud providers.

Overall, the cloud infrastructure market is seeing 20 percent annual growth, not only because of the demand from such cloud providers and Web-based companies as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Facebook, but also the growing adoption of enterprises of cloud environments, according to Jeremy Duke, Synergy founder and chief analyst.

Total cloud infrastructure revenues—which include both hardware and software—came in at more than $60 billion for all of 2015.

"There continues to be particularly impressive growth in the public cloud infrastructure market as AWS, and other cloud operators are having tremendous success in attracting enterprises to their ever-expanding range of service offerings," Duke said in a statement. "But enterprises too are buying ever-larger volumes of infrastructure to support their private or hybrid cloud deployments. Across the board, there is a massive swing away from enterprises running workloads over more traditional and inflexible IT infrastructure."

HPE in the fourth quarter continued to hold just over 12 percent of the market, while Cisco came in at just under 12 percent. Meanwhile, Dell and Microsoft essentially were in a tie for third place, with market shares at just about 7 percent. IBM came in just under that, according to Synergy's numbers. Cisco is the top infrastructure vendor for public cloud deployments, while HPE is tops in private clouds, the analysts said.

Meanwhile, HPE is the top vendor in the cloud server segment and is a top challenger in storage. Cisco dominates the networking segment and also is seeing fast growth in its server product portfolio, Synergy found. Microsoft made the list due to its strength in server operating systems and virtualization applications. Dell and IBM are strong across a number of cloud technology markets.

Ninety-five percent of the cloud infrastructure space comprised servers, OSes, storage, networking and virtualization, with the rest being cloud security and management.