Public Cloud Providers Boost Dell, Inspur, Data Center Sales To New Heights

Public cloud titans like AWS, Microsoft and Google are elevating data center hardware and software sales to record-breaking heights by spending $87 billion in 2021 on servers, storage, software and networking gear from Dell Technologies, Inspur, ODMs and more.


Public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud are boosting data center sales for the likes of Dell Technologies, Inspur and Cisco to new heights as cloud providers spent billions last year on equipping new data centers with servers, storage, software, security and networking infrastructure.

In fact, spending on data center products from public cloud providers now accounts for nearly half of all spending on data center hardware and software, according to new data from Synergy Research Group.

Worldwide data center infrastructure equipment revenue, including both cloud and non-cloud hardware and software, topped $185 billion in 2021, with public cloud infrastructure accounting for 47 percent, or $87 billion, of the total market.

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The total $185 billion data center hardware and software market spend is an all-time high, according to Synergy’s John Dinsdale.

“Cloud providers have increasingly driven the market for data center gear and [our] five-year forecast shows there will be no letup in this trend,” said Dinsdale, a chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, in an email to CRN. “This is good news for the tech vendors who have positioned themselves to better serve the hyperscale cloud providers.”

Worldwide spending on data center hardware and software grew 10 percent year over year in 2021 to $185 billion, primarily thanks to a 20 percent spike in spending on public cloud infrastructure, according to Synergy Research Group.

Cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are investing heavily in their data centers to accommodate the demand for cloud services.

Comparatively, enterprise spending on their own data center infrastructure grew three percent in 2021 year over year to approximately $98 billion. However, it is key to note that enterprise spending on their own data center products declined 6 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

This means that enterprise spending on their own data centers was lower in 2021 compared to 2019.

Dell, Inspur, Microsoft And ODMs Reaping Public Cloud Spending

In terms of 2021 market share: Dell, Microsoft and Inspur were the leading vendors for data center sales in providing public cloud vendors with the hardware and software needed for their data center expansion. Synergy said Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, Seattle-based Microsoft and China-based Inspur all had roughly similar market share in terms of sales.

Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei and San Jose, Calif.-based global networking leader Cisco rounded out the top five market share leaders for public cloud data center sales.

Original design manufactures (ODMs), who design and manufacture data center hardware like servers and storage products that are sold directly to the world’s largest cloud players, accounted for the most market share in terms of public cloud spending. However, Synergy groups all ODMs together. Some examples of top ODM vendors include the likes of Quanta, Wiwynn, Inventec and Foxconn.

Server Shipments To Cloud Providers Surpass Enterprise

Interestingly, Synergy said vendors are now shipping more servers to cloud providers than enterprises.

“[Server] unit shipments to public cloud providers have now far surpassed enterprise volumes, though the difference in value of the two market verticals is much less pronounced due to higher enterprise server ASPs. That gap in value will grow as public cloud server volumes continue to surge,” said Dinsdale.

The 2021 market leaders in enterprise infrastructure were Microsoft and Dell, followed at a distance by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco, VMware and IBM.

By segment, Dell is the overall leader in server and storage revenues, with Inspur being a clear leader in server sales to public cloud providers.

Dinsdale said the data center equipment market is expected to grow over the next few years, specifically thanks to public cloud providers.

“We forecast that these trends will continue over the next five years, with double-digit annual growth in sales to cloud providers helping to offset a somewhat flat enterprise market,” he said.

The hardware-oriented segments of servers, storage and networking in aggregate accounted for 77 percent of the $185 billion data center infrastructure market in 2021. Virtualization software, OS, cloud management and network security account for approximately 23 percent. Cisco was dominant in the networking segment, while Microsoft was featured heavily due to its position in server OS and virtualization applications.