A few years ago the major enterprise software and hardware vendors made a bet that integrating platforms and infrastructure was the way of the future. That calculation seems to have been a good one, according to market research firm IDC.

Global revenue for integrated infrastructure and platforms rose 45.6 per cent in 2013 compared with 2012, reaching nearly US$7.6 billion, a new IDC report says. Storage fared especially well, with 2.4 exabytes of new storage capacity shipments recorded during the year, up 78.6 per cent from 2012.

The news comes from IDC’s latest worldwide quarterly integrated infrastructure and platform tracker.” For the first time, the report includes the value of software licenses attributable to applications, application development & deployment software, and system infrastructure software deployed on these systems.

“Integrated systems have been one of the most important developments in the evolution of the enterprise data centre,” Jed Scaramella, IDC’s enterprise servers research director, said in a release. “The strong growth in the market is a testament to customers’ realization of the value proposition and benefits these systems deliver. IDC expects the market to continue on its growth trajectory in 2014.”

IDC’s storage research director Eric Sheppard noted that the market’s continued double-digit growth rate comes at a time when the value of the general infrastructure market remains slow.

“This can largely be attributed to the clear advantages integrated systems offer over general infrastructure in the form of faster time to deployment, consolidated management, reduced downtime, and improved utilization rates,” Sheppard says.

IDC defines integrated infrastructure and platforms as “pre-integrated, vendor-certified systems containing server hardware, disk storage systems, networking equipment, and basic element/systems management software.”

Under the integrated infrastructure and platforms umbrella, IDC breaks out integrated platforms as one category and integrated infrastructure as another. It defines integrated platforms as “integrated systems that are sold with additional pre-integrated packaged software and customized system engineering optimized to enable such functions as application development software, databases, testing, and integration tools.”

The integrated platforms market generated nearly US$3.6 billion in sales in 2013, a 12.2 per cent year-over-year growth rate, and 47.3 per cent of the total market value. Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) was the largest supplier of integrated platform systems with US$1.4 billion in sales, 39.1 per cent of the market segment. IBM (Nasdaq: IBM) and HP (Nasdaq: HPQ) came in second and third, respectively.

IDC defines integrated infrastructure as systems “designed for general-purpose, distributed workloads that are likely to have differing performance profiles. While integrated infrastructure is similar to integrated platforms in that it will leverage the same infrastructure building blocks, it is not optimized for a specific workload.”

According to IDC, integrated infrastructure sales grew 98.7 per cent year over year in 2013 on nearly US$4.0 billion in sales, or 52.7 per cent of the total market value. VCE — a joint venture that creates systems with Cisco Systems servers, EMC storage and VMware software — was the top integrated infrastructure supplier, generating revenues of US$979.3 million in 2013 and gaining 24.6 per cent of the market segment. Cisco/NetApp (Nasdaq: CSCO) and EMC/Cisco came in second and third, respectively.

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