By The Numbers: Cisco, HP Take Big Leads In Cloud Infrastructure Equipment

Cisco Tops, IBM Plummets On Cloud Infrastructure Hardware, Software Sales

Cisco is pulling away from the pack when it comes to the top vendors' sales of hardware and software used to build cloud infrastructures, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group on the third-quarter 2014 market shares of the top five vendors. Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft did well, but IBM, which sold its x86 server business to Lenovo, saw its market share plummet,

Synergy estimated the third-quarter 2014 cloud infrastructure hardware and software business was worth well more than $12 billion, up about 10 percent over the third quarter of 2013. Servers, operating systems, storage and networking together made up about 92 percent of the cloud infrastructure spend, Synergy estimated.

Here are the details.

Big Changes Coming To The Vendor Ecosystem

While IBM will continue to see its sales of hardware and software for building cloud infrastructures fall after selling its x86 server business to Lenovo, the door will open for others, including some of China's top vendors, wrote Jeremy Duke, Synergy founder and chief analyst.

"IBM will fall further behind Cisco and HP now that it has finally divested its x86 server product line, while Microsoft is almost on its own in the OS segment but cannot match the revenues of the two leaders based on software alone," Duke wrote in the report. "Further down the ranking, Chinese vendors Huawei and Inspur are growing rapidly, while Lenovo will now join them as a major player in cloud infrastructure."

5. Dell Maintains, Sort Of

Dell has had a more or less steady share of the cloud infrastructure hardware and software market over the past three years, with its share falling slightly to 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014, down from 7.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013 and 7.6 percent in 2012.

4. IBM Disappoints, Will Continue To Do So

As recently as the fourth quarter of 2012, IBM was the primary supplier of hardware and software to build cloud infrastructures with a share well more than 16 percent. However, it has dropped significantly since then, and now has only a 9.1 percent share, Synergy said.

The biggest current factor for IBM is the recent sale of its x86 server business to China-based Lenovo, which removes a vital part of its portfolio of products for the cloud infrastructure business. That, however, makes Lenovo a potential rising star in the future of the cloud infrastructure business.

3. Microsoft Rises To The Challenge

Microsoft has seen its share of the cloud infrastructure market continue to rise over time, reaching 9.7 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to Synergy.

This is due to Microsoft's continued dominance of the operating system market, as well as its large share of the virtualization technology business, the analyst firm reported.

2. HP The Private Cloud Infrastructure Leader

HP was No. 2 for overall cloud infrastructure hardware and software sales in large part to its dominance of the cloud server business and its strong position in storage and networking, Synergy reported. The vendor had a 12.8 percent share of the cloud infrastructure spend.

Synergy reported that, while HP is the overall second largest vendor of cloud infrastructure hardware and software, it is the leader when it comes specifically to private clouds.

1. Cisco Pulling Away From The Rest Of The Market

While Cisco was the third largest cloud infrastructure vendor in the third quarter of 2012, two years later it has overtaken both HP and IBM to claim the top spot with a 14.9 percent and growing market share, Synergy reported.

Cisco benefited from its dominance of the networking business and its huge growth in server sales, giving it command of not only the overall cloud infrastructure market but, but by a wide margin, the public cloud infrastructure market as well, the analyst firm reported.