The market for the hardware and software that form the infrastructure for public and private clouds has become a red-hot battleground for the industry's top vendors, and new research suggests Cisco, Dell EMC and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are in a virtual deadlock atop that strategically important territory.
Cisco holds "a commanding lead" in public cloud infrastructure, Synergy Research Group said, while Dell EMC pulled into the market ahead of HPE in private cloud.
The cloud infrastructure equipment market – including servers, storage, networking, operating systems and virtualization software – surpassed $70 billion last year, and Cisco, Dell EMC and HPE together claimed more than a third of the total market in the fourth quarter, according to Synergy.
Dell EMC's ascendance in the cloud infrastructure market is the result of the merger between the two companies, and Stephen Monteros, senior vice president of Sigmanet, an Ontario, Calif., solution provider that works with several vendors, said Synergy's data shows that the blockbuster merger was a smart move. "It looks like a pretty good move for Dell, EMC and customers that are looking for a consolidation of vendors and of approach."
In fact, each of the three vendors claimed an 11.5 percent market share during the quarter, thanks to Dell's September acquisition of EMC. In the years before the Dell EMC merger, the cloud infrastructure equipment market was dominated by Cisco and HPE. The merger brought together server powerhouse Dell and data storage giant EMC and put the combined company on equal footing in the cloud market with cloud server leader HPE and networking giant Cisco, Synergy said.
Since the $58 billion Dell EMC merger, company executives have been pushing solution providers to sell across the firm's portfolio of server, storage and networking products, as well as hyper-convergence products. The cloud market, Dell EMC executives argue, will be a hybrid of public and private for years into the future as customers use public cloud services for some things and private cloud for others.
Contract manufacturers, who make cloud infrastructure equipment sold by other companies, altogether accounted for a share of the market similar to the top three vendor brands, driven by demand from hyper-scale cloud providers.
Strength in server operating systems and virtualization applications gave Microsoft an almost 8 percent market share during the quarter, and IBM registered slightly more than a 6 percent share, Synergy said.