While many enterprises are still buying standalone servers, in recent years there has been a growing trend toward converged integrated systems that combine compute, storage and networking as well as applications.
It's a big market. IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Integrated Infrastructure Platform tracker reported that for the fourth quarter of 2014, global vendor revenue from the integrated system market hit $2.7 billion, for a 19.4 percent year-over-year gain. Revenue was reported at $9.4 billion for the full year, a 28.0 percent year-over-year gain.
From a definition and tracking perspective, IDC separates the integrated systems market into two categories: Integrated Platforms and Integrated Infrastructure. Integrated platforms are converged systems that are optimized for a specific workload or application. In contrast, Integrated Infrastructures are general-purposed converged systems.
Looking specifically at the Integrated Platform market, Oracle is the big leader in the category, holding 40.5 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2014 on revenue of $371.5 million. Oracle was one of the early pioneers in the category with its Exa-class system. The Oracle Exadata is an integrated platform for databases that Oracle first introduced to the market back in 2008.
Oracle refers to its integrated systems as engineered systems, a line that now additionally includes Exalogic, Exalytics, Oracle Big Data Appliance, Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, Virtual Compute Appliance and the ZFS storage appliance.
IDC has ranked IBM in second place for the Integrated Platforms category with 11.4 percent market share, while HP is in third with 7.6 percent share.
The Integrated Infrastructure Market
Turning to the Integrated Infrastructure market, the picture changes somewhat, with Cisco being a dominant player. IDC has ranked VCE, which includes components from Cisco, EMC and VMware, as the top player with a 28.6 percent market share.
Cisco and Netapp, which have their own partnership, came in second at 21.8 percent. In third is a separate partnership between EMC and Cisco that holds 16.9 percent share.
"The integrated systems market continued to exhibit strong momentum throughout 2014 and represents a growth opportunity for IT vendors," Jed Scaramella, Research Director, Enterprise Servers, said in a statement. "The industry saw a 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."