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IT infrastructure market jumps by 8% as Ethernet sales grow

The IT infrastructure market grows by 8%, while HPE acquires SimpliVity and Barefoot Networks strikes a chip deal with vendors.

The IT infrastructure market continues to pick up steam, according to the most recent spending report by IDC. Led...

by Ethernet switches, vendor revenue from infrastructure sales -- which includes servers, switches and storage -- grew by 8.1% year over year to $8.4 billion in the third quarter, according to the Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker.  Anticipation of new hyperscale data centers is believed to be partly responsible for the growth trend in the switching category of the IT infrastructure market.

Cloud IT infrastructure sales reached 39.2% of infrastructure spending, up from 34.7% in 2015. Infrastructure sales for public and private cloud each grew more than 8%, topping $5.1 billion for public cloud and $3.3 billion for private cloud. In the private cloud segment, Ethernet switch sales increased by 60.8% year-to-year while storage and server sales grew 9% and 3.2%, respectively.

In contrast to cloud, revenues in the traditional segment of the IT infrastructure market declined 10.8% in the quarter. Server deployments decreased the most overall. Fastest revenue growth occurred in the Middle East, Africa and Japan, while the U.S. market was the slowest growing. Dell-EMC surpassed Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco in revenue and market share.

"New cloud data centers have begun to launch, but in the third quarter the effect on the cloud IT infrastructure market was minimal," said Kuba Stolarski, IDC's research director for computing platforms, in a statement. "Recently, there has been renewed strength in emerging markets and among smaller cloud service providers. As OpenStack has become easier to implement and maintain by a growing population of capable system administrators, private cloud options are becoming more viable in an increasing set of use cases and with a wider set of deployment parameters," Stolarski added.

Barefoot strikes deals with two switch vendors for Tofino chip

Barefoot Networks has struck deals with two Taiwanese switch vendors to develop systems anchored by its high-speed Tofino Ethernet switch chip.

As OpenStack has become easier to implement and maintain by a growing population of capable system administrators, private cloud options are becoming more viable in an increasing set of use cases.
Kuba Stolarskiresearch director for computing platforms, IDC

Edgecore Networks and WNC will each introduce white box switches based on Barefoot's 6.5 Tbps silicon later this quarter, said Ed Doe, Barefoot's vice president of product and marketing.

Edgecore, a unit of Accton Technology Corp., is offering two boxes -- the Wedge100GV-32X, with 32 100 GbE ports; and the Wedge100BF-65X, with 65 100 GbE ports. WNC is also introducing two systems: the 1RU OSW1800, with either 48 GbE ports or 6 100 GbE ports; and the 2RU OSW6500, with 65 100 GbE ports. The companies are the first to have commercially available products running Barefoot's technology.

Barefoot, based in Palo Alto, Calif., emerged from stealth last year with the programmable chip, which enables users to code how packets are processed rather than having those functions prescribed on an application-specific integrated circuit.

Functionality is enabled through the P4 programming language.

Doe said the new switches are the first to leverage design elements Facebook contributed to the Open Compute Project (OCP) as part of its development of the Wedge 100 switch platform. "We hope this will ease the adoption [concerns] of people interested in leveraging the open source platforms contributed to the OCP," Doe said.

Since Barefoot's announcement about Tofino, Broadcom Ltd., which dominates the chip market, has released its own high-speed silicon; the StrataXGS Tomahawk II chip has a rated speed of 6.4 Tbps, slightly below Tofino's processing speed.

HPE acquires SimpliVity

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or HPE, is acquiring SimpliVity, a provider of software-defined, hyper-converged infrastructure, in a deal valued at $650 million.

HPE claims the acquisition benefits its customers by adding better enterprise data protection, storage utilization and virtual machine efficiency to its portfolio. Among other features, SimpliVity's software blends policy-based management, data compression and deduplication to improve the efficiency of backup and storage systems.

With the acquisition, HPE said it will fuse SimpliVity's data management platform with its own infrastructure, automation and cloud management. "This transaction expands HPE's software-defined capability and fits squarely within our strategy to make hybrid IT simple for customers," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HPE, in a statement.

SMS, Curvature to merge

SMS Systems Maintenance Services Inc. and Curvature LLC said they would combine companies to focus on the third-party maintenance services and refurbished IT hardware market.

The merged company, SMS|Curvature, will be under the leadership of SMS CEO John Wozniak. Mike Sheldon, Curvature's CEO, will become president and chief commercial officer.

Curvature, formerly Network Hardware Resale, has moved aggressively to capitalize on the maintenance and managed services market. In 2014, it acquired CSU Industries and it expanded its NetSure maintenance and services support unit to new markets. SMS, based in Charlotte, N.C., has more than 3,000 customers that use its maintenance and network hardware support services. The companies said the merger is expected to close in February, following regulatory approval. SMS|Curvature will continue to maintain Curvature's current Santa Barbara, Calif., headquarters. No financial details were released.

Next Steps

What's the state of the hyper-converged infrastructure market?

Looking into SimpliVity versus Nutanix

Barefoot premieres high-speed programmable chips

Dig Deeper on Ethernet

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