HP finally beat its arch rival Cisco in this one important market, researcher says

For the first time, HP has sold more equipment than Cisco to help companies build cloud computing data centres, according to market research group, Synergy Research Group.

Cisco has led the field since 2013. HP caught up last quarter to tie with Cisco with 13% market share. But in Q2, HP held its 13% share, while Cisco declined a smidge, half a per cent, leaving HP as the winner for the quarter.

That’s a nice sign for the soon-to-be birthed HP Enterprise, which will come to life as its own Fortune 50 company on November 1 when HP spins it off. It will be run by current HP CEO Meg Whitman.

Not quite apples to apples

Synergy tracks what it calls the “cloud infrastructure equipment market” with an odd assortment of vendors.

The list includes hardware makers like HP, Cisco, Dell, IBM, EMC, Lenovo and Oracle. It also includes a couple of software makers, Microsoft and VMware, because they provide operating system software used when building clouds. Some of the others provide cloud software, too, for building clouds or managing them.

So it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, just an interesting look at how all the big traditional players are faring selling stuff to build modern data centres. But cloud infrastructure is a hot, fast-growing market now hitting about $US16 billion per quarter, having grown by 25% year over year, Synergy says.

For instance, HP’s strength is selling computer servers (an area where Cisco competes and does well) and it’s also doing well selling storage (an area where Cisco was dabbling until it killed its storage product in July).

Cisco was leading this list mainly to its domination of the computer networking segment, with help from its servers. IBM used to be No. 3, but between selling its server unit to Lenovo, and its generally declining sales, IBM plummeted to last place at the end of 2014 and has stayed there ever since.

Microsoft came to third place when IBM tanked. Microsoft’s rise was thanks to sales of Windows Server, a popular data center operating system, and its VMware competitor Hyper-V.

All told, servers, operating systems, storage, and networking combined account for most of the market — 89% — with cloud security, cloud management, and a type of software called virtualization making up the rest.

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