HP overhauls Cisco in cloud infrastructure equipment space

HP has finally overtaken Cisco in the cloud infrastructure equipment market, according to latest figures released by Synergy Research.

The two companies had been virtually neck and neck in the previous two quarters’ analysis, yet Synergy argues HP has grabbed the lead by virtue of its investment in the server and storage space, which now accounts for almost two thirds of the infrastructure market.

HP and Cisco maintain a huge lead over closest rivals Microsoft, Dell, and IBM, yet the two leaders represent only a quarter of the overall market. IBM was the market leader back in 2012 but has experienced a severe downturn since then, with a key reason being Big Blue selling its server business to Lenovo in 2014. Despite a slight upturn in fortunes this quarter, IBM remains behind Dell, having dropped from third place to fifth in the market between Q3 and Q4 of 2014.

At the top, however, the battle is well and truly joined – and the intriguing backdrop between the two companies adds fuel to the fire. Cisco recently unveiled new leadership in the form of CEO Chuck Robbins while HP is going ahead with plans to split the company in two, separating its computer and printer business from corporate hardware and services, with the latter forming Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

John Dinsdale, Synergy chief analyst, says the split – to be made official in November but already happening internally – could potentially enhance HP’s play in the cloud infrastructure equipment market. He told CloudTech in an email: “If anything the impact should be a positive one resulting from a tighter focus of the senior management team on issues that are critical to HPE’s success.”

Regarding the move as an overall strategic play, Dinsdale argues it is a “great idea” – theoretically at least. But he warned: “Of course everything will come down to how well the transition is managed operationally. There is a lot of potential for management to take its eyes off the ball as it handles issues surrounding the transition.”

Cisco maintains a commanding lead in public cloud infrastructure, while HP holds all the aces in private cloud. The overall market, including hardware and software, is now running at approximately $16 billion per quarter. With the market having grown by 25% year on year, Synergy notes the latest figures represent good news for all vendors.