Public, Private Clouds Both to Drive Cloud Equipment Market

A comprehensive report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) predicts that the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018, driven by growing demand for public cloud-computing services and increased deployment of private and public clouds.

The report, “Cloud Equipment: A Global Strategic Business Report,” shows that the United States represents the largest market worldwide. More and more companies are adapting their networks to cost-effectively support distributed IT applications. Key drivers of cloud computing include scalability, business agility, cost, conversion of capex to opex, mobility, innovation and competitive advantages.

GIA says the unrelenting rise in storage requirements, the explosive growth in the development and adoption of applications, the ravenous demand for more computing power, and the ever increasing length, breadth, scale and density of networks make data center management more challenging by the year. Cloud computing, given its potential to address all of these issues, will continue to witness strong growth. Effective resolution of challenges related to security, regulatory compliance, privacy, interoperability, reliability, pricing, complexity, lack of standards and lack of transparency will additionally spur adoption of cloud-computing services.

Cloud equipment which the report defines as being inclusive of servers, storage, networking hardware and high-speed links represents a growing market, with its outlook dovetailed to the health of the cloud IT services market. Widespread adoption of cloud services, especially public cloud services, is driving demand for cloud equipment among cloud-based IT service providers. Rapid maturing of cloud technologies and business platforms like software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) is a key factor accelerating the adoption of cloud services. Currently, more than 60 percent of enterprises utilize the cloud for performing IT related business operations. Mirroring the level of maturity is the growing use of multiple clouds or hybrid clouds, a combination of a public cloud and an internal private cloud.

A key trend in the market is the emergence of traditional telecom service providers as a lucrative customer cluster for cloud equipment. AT&T and Verizon, for instance, are stepping up their cloud infrastructure. Key reasons cited for the entrance of telecom giants into the B2B cloud services market include increased competition and rapidly falling ARPUs in traditional business areas related to voice communications. Also, telecom companies require smaller investments to diversify into the cloud services space, since they own the network required to provide over-the-top (OTT) cloud services and applications.

With data-handling services increasingly becoming the future of telecom operators as opposed to conventional voice services, investments in cloud are poised to gain traction in the coming years. In 2011, communication service providers (CSPs) worldwide invested more than $14.5 billion in cloud-related projects. Although Europe continues to remain an important market for telecom cloud and cloud-based telecom services like video-on-demand, social networking and cloud storage, CSP investments in cloud infrastructure remained fairly muted as a result of the broad economic weakness caused by the ongoing debt crisis. CSPs in developing countries are poised to generate increased demand for cloud equipment as leading companies tap into the cloud to offer customers a brand new value proposition revolving around extending cloud benefits to mobile applications. The scenario is poised to benefit demand for cloud equipment.

Major players in the market include Cisco Systems Inc., CTERA Networks Ltd., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Emulex Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Oracle, Promise Technology USA, Quanta Computer, Riverbed Technology and VMware Inc., among others, the report says.

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