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Cisco leads, HPE gains in key tech infrastructure markets

Cisco led in six of seven key tech infrastructure markets last year, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise gained strength in several of the sectors, a research firm reported.

Cisco topped six of seven key tech infrastructure markets last year, but Hewlett Packard Enterprise gained in several of the tech sectors, demonstrating increasing strength as a competitor, according to the Synergy Research Group.

Cisco's overall share across the seven categories inched upward, so the gains of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) likely came at the expense of other vendors. Nevertheless, HPE has become "the only broad-based challenger to Cisco's dominance," Jeremy Duke, an analyst at Synergy, based in Reno, Nev., said in a report released this week.

HPE led the one category not dominated by Cisco -- data center servers. HPE and Cisco gained share in the server market, but Cisco remained behind second-place vendor Dell.

Cisco was the market leader in the other six categories -- Ethernet switches, routers, wireless LAN (WLAN), voice systems, unified communication (UC) apps and TelePresence. Across the seven categories, Cisco's market share was 33%, up a percentage point from 2014.

"Cisco remains in a league of its own," said Duke.

Aggregate revenue for the seven tech infrastructure markets was $80 billion, an increase of 2.3% over 2014, Synergy reported.

Vendors that ranked second behind Cisco in their respective categories included Avaya Inc. for voice systems, Microsoft for UC applications and voice systems, and Polycom Inc. for telepresence.

Microsoft increased its share of the UC and voice markets. Other vendors that ended 2015 with a higher share of their respective markets included Arista Networks Inc. for Ethernet switching, Mitel Networks Corp. for voice systems, HPE for wireless LAN, and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for telepresence.

Cloud market up 28% as cloud goes mainstream

In a separate Synergy report, operator and vendor revenues across six cloud services and tech infrastructure market segments reached $110 billion in the four quarters ending September 2015, an increase of 28% over the previous four quarters.

Spending on hardware and software to build cloud services continued to outpace cloud-based infrastructure services, but the gap was narrowing rapidly, Synergy said.

"In many ways, 2015 was the year when cloud became mainstream," Duke said. "Across a wide range of cloud applications and services, we have seen that usage has now passed well beyond the early adopter phase, and barriers to adoption continue to diminish."

Spending on cloud infrastructure hardware and software topped $60 billion. Revenue from cloud-based infrastructure services reached $20 billion, while software as a service (SaaS) generated $27 billion.

Cisco and HPE led the market for cloud hardware and software, and Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and IBM were leaders in providing cloud-based infrastructure services, according to Synergy. Salesforce and Microsoft led the SaaS segment, while Cisco and Citrix topped unified communications as a service (UCaaS).

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