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Cloud 'will spur server sales'

Boxes worth $9.4bn by 2015, says analyst

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Investments in private and public clouds will spur worldwide server sales over the next four years to the tune of $9.4bn (£5.8bn), according to IDC.

The bean counter estimates 1.2 million systems that underpin public cloud deployments will be shipped by 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 21 per cent and 570,000 servers to be sold for private cloud implementations, CAGR of over 22 per cent.

"These evolutionary, and revolutionary, changes in IT deployment and business attitudes are having a profound impact on traditional IT environments," said IDC senior research analyst Katie Broderick.

Analysis of the market revealed public clouds are constructed on "simpler server hardware" as reliability, availability and serviceability are often integrated into the software layer, ie failover and virtualisation.

"As a result, public cloud computing is a unit story with lower average selling value," said Broderick.

The picture for private cloud is somewhat different, with more memory, I/O bandwidth and CPU power squeezed into the box, accounting for the lower shipment numbers.

Cloud computing is billed as the nirvana for IT bods, but if implementations are to gain momentum it must simplify data centre management, and free up resources from "mundane tasks" to concentrate on sharpening businesses' competitive edge.

"But up front costs are real, and choosing the right vendor to manage or deploy an environment is equally important," said Broderick.

The shifting dynamics in the server market caused by the cloud are apparent to resellers, as some vendors eye up selling direct to hefty public cloud providers or to large organisations beefing up their infrastructure ready for rolling out private clouds.

Martin Hellawell, managing director at UK reseller Sofcat, said this was a real threat in the large business space, but doubted that smaller or mid-sized firms wanted to deal directly with vendors and vice versa. ®

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