Companies ramped their networking spending in 2016 as they built out their data centers, public and private cloud infrastructure, according to IDC data. The takeaway is that network bottlenecks continue to be a big issue for cloud deployments.
The moving parts in IDC's report on IT infrastructure are worth noting. Consider:
Revenue from infrastructure gear -- servers, storage and Ethernet switches -- grew 9.2 percent in 2016 to $32.6 billion.
Infrastructure spending accounted for 37.2 percent of global IT spending in the fourth quarter, up from 33.4 percent a year ago. Private cloud spending was up 10.2 percent and public cloud by 5.3 percent. Traditional data center spending fell 9 percent.
But not all infrastructure categories are created equal. Ethernet switch spending was up 52.7 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago for private cloud deployments. Ethernet switch spending was up 30 percent in public cloud deployments in the fourth quarter. Server and storage revenue grew at a much slower clip. For instance, server revenue was up 9.3 percent in private cloud deployments with storage up 3.6 percent. Public cloud saw server growth of 2.4 percent and storage declines of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Not surprisingly given the cloud focus on the network, Cisco had strong growth in the fourth quarter among vendors followed by rival Huawei. For the year, Dell and HPE were the top two cloud IT infrastructure vendors followed by Cisco.
It's worth noting that white-box manufacturers took the most revenue as big cloud providers such as Google and Facebook design their own infrastructure.