A combination of aging servers in data centers, a growing demand for public and private cloud computing, and a need to rein in increasingly complex virtual and physical infrastructure, is expected to provide a significant boost to commodity server sales used in cloud computing environments.

Research firm IDC said in a report released this week that the cloud server hardware market is expected to reach $12.6 billion in 2014 based on the converging factors.

“Now is a great time for many IT organizations to begin seriously considering this technology and employing public and private clouds in order to simplify sprawling IT environments,” said IDC enterprise platforms analyst Katherine Broderick.

The public cloud market will see healthy growth from $582 million in 2009 to $718 million in 2014. However, it is the private cloud market where IDC sees the biggest growth in sales. Server revenue for the private cloud market is predicted to grow from $7.3 billion in 2009 to $11.8 billion by 2014.

IDC defines the public cloud as being open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users, and designed for a market, not a single enterprise. Google’s Gmail and Google Apps services are a prime example of the public cloud. IDC defines a private cloud as being designed for, and access restricted to, a single enterprise.

The cloud-oriented servers studied in IDC’s report differ from conventional application servers in that they tend to be simpler, mass produced, and cheaper than traditional x86-based servers.

IDC said in a recent survey on cloud computing plans that almost 44% of respondents were considering private clouds.



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