Cloud computing's ever-expanding footprint is good news for IT vendors, particularly HP and Dell.
In the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14), cloud data center operators snapped up $8.0 billion worth of servers, disk storage and Ethernet switching equipment worldwide, according to IT market research firm IDC, a 14.4 percent year-over-year improvement. In total, the cloud represented 30 percent of all IT infrastructure spending in 4Q14, compared to 27 percent during the same year-ago period.
Private clouds are growing more popular among enterprises, IDC's data indicates. Spending in the segment reached $2.9 billion, an 18.3 percent year-over-year increase. Public clouds accounted for $5 billion in IT revenues, a 12.3 percent gain.
Richard Villars, VP of Datacenter and Cloud research at IDC, noted that the forecast for corporate data centers is looking increasingly cloudier.
"The transition to cloud-oriented infrastructure and data platform architectures within enterprises' datacenters continues to accelerate, yet the expansion of public cloud infrastructure in service providers' datacenters around the world is an even larger driver of IT spending," said Villars, in a statement. As businesses brace for the Internet of Things' (IoT), IT managers are looking to the cloud to provide the computational resources required to help make sense of massive amounts of data from sensors and connected smart devices.
"A key driver of this acceleration is organizations' development and use of new Internet of Things services that require levels of agility and scale that only cloud solutions can deliver," continued Villars.
During 2014, organizations spent $26.4 billion on cloud IT infrastructure, an 18.7 percent increase compared to $22.3 billion in 2013. Public cloud spending reached 16.5 billion (up 17.5 percent) while private cloud revenues rose 20.7 percent to come in just shy of $10 billion.
HP took home the cloud IT infrastructure crown for 2014. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based server and IT services company, generated $3.7 billion in sales last year for 15.7 percent of the market. Dell took the number two spot with $2.6 billion in revenue and 10.7 percent of the market. Both companies experienced also revenue growth in 2014 compared to the previous year (6.3 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively).
Rounding out the top five are Cisco, EMC and IBM. Big Blue saw its cloud-related revenues dip 18.9 percent last year to $1.7 billion. The culprit, according to IDC, was last year's sale of IBM's x86 server business to Chinese PC maker Lenovo for $2.1 billion.
Nonetheless, IBM is finding success in the cloud. In January, while reporting financial results for its full fiscal 2014 year, the company said its cloud services business is booming, generating sales of $7 billion for the year.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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