HP, IBM and Cisco Battle for Cloud Dominance

HP and IBM are fighting for the cloud infrastructure top spot while Cisco closes in with a little help from its UCS portfolio.

HP is the cloud equipment king, but IBM and Cisco aren't far behind, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group.

As with any hot market, the research firm's "4Q11 Cloud Equipment Market Share" report paints a rosy, if volatile, picture of the cloud server, storage and networking equipment sales. In the last quarter, HP took home 17.4 percent of worldwide cloud hardware revenues. IBM was close behind with 15.9 percent.

All told, IT vendors booked $39.4 billion in cloud equipment revenues last year, a 15 percent increase over 2010. In the fourth quarter alone, they brought in a healthy $10.6 billion haul.

Those stratospheric figures are due to an explosion of Web-enabled services, says Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group's founder and chief analyst. "Cloud services are clearly a game changer in the market and we're seeing huge growth in interest, service launches, and customers," he said in a company statement.

"The vendors that provide infrastructure for cloud services have the opportunity to benefit greatly from this surge -- you don't see many $40 billion markets growing by 15% per year," he adds. The bulk of that growth is coming from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific. North America still accounts for the largest share, however, with 43 percent.

While the expanding cloud market is raining good fortune on IT vendors, some are faring better than others.

UCS Helps Cisco Reach Cloudy Heights

Cisco is the growth leader for 2011, having experienced 23 percent increase in cloud equipment revenue from 2010 to 2011. While its top dog status in networking is a given, Synergy Research observed that Cisco's blade server business is picking up steam.

Earlier this year, Cisco announced that it hit new milestones with its UCS portfolio, which integrates networking and server hardware. The company now has 10,000 customers running UCS servers and the product slate is responsible for $1.1 billion in annual revenues. Todd Brannon, a product marketing manager for Cisco, told InternetNews.com that his company is currently selling more UCS B-series blades than rack-mount C-series systems.

In the North American market, Cisco's upward momentum places it near the top along with HP and IBM. The report also notes that HP grew its cloud hardware business by 10 percent in 2011 while IBM's growth chugged along at a mere 2 percent. The two companies were virtually tied for first place in 2010.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Tags: cloud computing, IBM, Cisco, HP

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