Dell, HPE Battle For Cloud Compute, Storage Infrastructure Lead

Spending on compute and storage cloud infrastructure is soaring. Here is IDC’s new first-quarter global market-share figures for Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Cisco, Huawei and IBM.


As the technology markets and global economy slowly emerge from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, one lasting impact on compute and storage IT infrastructure is customers’ reliance on cloud platforms and as-a-service delivery models, according to new research from IDC.

The pair of vendors generating the most sales from cloud infrastructure spending are the two worldwide leaders in servers and storage: Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which combined captured 28 percent of the $15.1 billion worldwide market in the first quarter of 2021.

In the first quarter, spending on compute and storage infrastructure products for cloud infrastructure—including dedicated and shared environments—skyrocketed over 12 percent year over year to $15.1 billion. Spending on non-cloud infrastructure increased 6 percent year over year to $13.5 billion. IDC predicts that global spending share on non-cloud infrastructure will shrink over the next few years, while spending share on cloud infrastructure will increase.

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Breakdown Of Top Eight Market Leaders

Dell was the market leader in terms of generating revenue from spending on storage and compute cloud infrastructure. The Round Rock, Texas-based company captured 16.9 percent share of the market by generating $2.47 billion in cloud infrastructure revenue, representing a 2 percent increase year over year.

However, HPE, which ranked No. 2 in market share, grew cloud infrastructure revenue faster compared with Dell. Spring, Texas-based HPE captured 11.2 percent share by generating $1.64 billion in cloud infrastructure sales in the quarter, up more than 18 percent year over year. Due to HPE’s existing joint venture with China-based H3C, IDC combines market share and sales for both HPE and H3C.

China-based Inspur won 7 percent share of the market by generating approximately $1 billion in compute and storage cloud infrastructure sales, up nearly 12 percent year over year.

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The fastest-growing company in the world in terms of cloud infrastructure revenue percentage growth was Lenovo. The Hong Kong-based PC leader captured 6.8 percent of the market by generating $994 million in cloud infrastructure sales in the quarter, up 38 percent year over year.

There is a big drop-off in terms of market share after Dell, HPE, Inspur and Lenovo. These four vendors’ combined worldwide market share is approximately 42 percent.

The final four leaders in cloud infrastructure sales in the first quarter of 2021 are Huawei, Cisco Systems, IBM and NetApp.

Asia’s leading technology conglomerate, Huawei, captured 3.1 percent share with revenue of $460 million, up 38 percent year over year.

Cisco, the longtime dominant worldwide leader in networking, based in San Jose, Calif., captured 2.7 percent share of the market with cloud infrastructure sales of $393 million, up 5 percent year over year.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM captured 2.2 percent market share with sales of $321 million, up 7 percent year over year.

NetApp, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage star in North America, captured 2.1 percent share by generating $305 million in revenue, up 1 percent year over year.

The rest of the market was led by original design manufactures (ODMs). IDC combines all ODMs in terms of cloud infrastructure revenue. ODMs design and manufacture servers and storage products that are later rebranded by other companies for sale, with a sizable portion going directly to the world’s largest cloud and hyperscale data center providers.

In total, ODMs generated $5.36 billion in cloud infrastructure sales in the first quarter, up 10 percent year over year. ODMs captured over 36 percent of the global market share.

Market Forecast For Full-Year 2021 And Geography Breakdown

Looking ahead at the full-year 2021, IDC is forecasting cloud infrastructure spending to grow roughly 13 percent to $74.6 billion in 2021. IDC predicts non-cloud infrastructure will grow over 2 percent annually to $58.5 billion, following two years of declines.

With healthy first-quarter 2021 results and the overall infrastructure market beginning to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the future looks bright for vendors selling billions in cloud infrastructure this year.

In terms of first-quarter spending based on geographic regions, the highest annual growth rate was in Canada, up 40 percent; followed by China, up 35 percent; then Asia-Pacific—excluding Japan and China—at 29 percent growth.

Western Europe increased cloud infrastructure spending by 11 percent, while the U.S. grew spending by 4.5 percent year over year.