The cloud IT arms race is going to the no-name infrastructure providers

Original device manufacturers are gaining market share as hyperscale providers buy no-name servers. Can the traditional enterprise giants close the gap with private clouds?

Enterprise hardware giants like to pitch themselves as enablers of the cloud via their data center gear. But the race to be a cloud arms dealer is going to the no-name hardware providers.

According to IDC, cloud IT infrastructure spending, which includes storage, server, and networking, was up 14 percent in the fourth quarter to $8 billion. About 30 percent of all IT infrastructure spending goes to the cloud.

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Private cloud infrastructure spending was up 18.3 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.9 billion. Public cloud infrastructure spending in the fourth quarter was $5 billion, up 12.3 percent from a year ago.

For 2014, private cloud spending was nearly $10 billion, up 20.7 percent from a year ago and public cloud spending was $16.5 billion, up 17.5 percent.

This news should be good for giants selling storage, networking and servers right? Not so fast. The road to be the cloud's arms dealer of choice is going to the no-name vendors.

IDC's data highlights how ODM (original device manufacturers) are running away with market share. The reason: The cloud is being dominated by hyper scale providers like Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. And those cloud giants are procuring their own servers.

HP is one of the few established giants offering a white-box, stripped down computing option. So far that strategy appears to be working, but it remains to be seen whether the private cloud market can help legacy IT giants keep pace.

IDC's stats tell the tale.

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As public cloud data centers surge, it's likely that a new breed of infrastructure providers will emerge. Branded enterprise technology vendors will have to navigate the new marketplace quickly---or convince companies that private cloud is their best choice. A hybrid cloud approach may still mean market share losses in the future.

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