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Happy days are here again: 2017 set record for infrastructure sales

$142 billion in kit shipped last year, half from Dell, Cisco and HPE

Analyst firm Canalys has claimed 2017 saw record shipments of data centre infrastructure.

The firm’s totalled sales of all storage, servers and data centre networking kit shipped last year and come up with the figure of US$142bn, up seven per cent from 2016’s spend.

Cisco, Dell EMC and HPE collectively scored half of all that lovely loot, and infrastructure market share of 20 per cent, 15 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The firm reckons 2017 saw “a new enterprise refresh cycle following the launch of the next generation of Intel and AMD processors” Combined with investments by hyperscale operators, shipped value of servers hit $66 billion, up 12.2 per cent.

Storage grew more slowly, by 1.6 per cent. Again, new technology fuelled the bump, as buyers started to actually spend on all-flash and software-defined kit. The firm acknowledges that traditional arrays are in decline, but said newer techs are encouraging buyers to open their wallets.

Ethernet switching and WLANs grew by seven and nine per cent respectively, but enterprise routing dipped nine points.

The firm feels that 2018 should be another good year, as hyperscalers continue to expand their footprints around the world.

Canalys’ view is similar to that of investment house Morgan Stanley, which recently declared enterprise hardware vendors are again an interesting investment proposition due to an imminent upgrade cycle. Morgan Stanley’s optimism comes from its belief that businesses stopped buying on-prem kit while they figured out how to use public clouds. With that thinking done, users are now ready to spend again!

But as Canalys notes, the news isn’t good for all: other analysts agree that external array sales are in rapid decline and software is eating routers. ®

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