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Converged Infrastructure Platforms Have a Growth Spurt

Year-over-year sales were up more than 30 percent over 2013, according to IDC.

Converged infrastructure platforms -- which typically combine compute, storage and virtualization technologies into a single system -- are experiencing big gains, according to analyst firm IDC.

Its Worldwide Quarterly Integrated Infrastructure and Platform Tracker shows strong year-over-year growth of nearly 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. That equates to $1.8 billion total sales.

Integrated infrastructure is only half of the IDC tracker, however. The other half is integrated platform sales, and those didn’t fare as well. Integrated platforms, which IDC defines as systems with packaged software that are optimized for applications, was "essentially flat" during the same time period, for a year-over-year growth rate of less than half of one percent.

The top vendor in the integrated infrastructure space was VCE, which brands its systems Vblock. Vblock uses Cisco blade server chasses and networking, EMC storage and VMware vSphere as its virtualization/management layer. VCE had revenue of $521 million, good for 28.6 percent of the market. It was followed by Cisco/NetApp in second, and EMC/Cisco in third.

VCE saw its market share grow from 23.4 percent in Q4 2013, but its revenue grew even more -- it jumped 61 percent. That indicates that the entire pie is growing for integrated infrastructure companies.

All other vendors combined had 32.7 percent market share. The lack of a dominant vendor in this area may be good for competition, according to Jed Scaramella, Research Director, Enterprise Servers for IDC. He said in a press release that "The industry saw competitive dynamics shift in 2014 with major vendors completing company privatization and acquisitions, as well as many forming new partnerships. These actions are sure to set a new competitive landscape for 2015."

Among the places converged infrastructure systems find a home is in cloud computing, where their ability to scale up by simply adding more devices becomes a competitive advantage.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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