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Cloud computing presents a viable option for IT organizations seeking to reduce the complexity within their IT environments, either by means of converged systems that arrive pre-integrated and ready to use (for private clouds) or systems that are offsite entirely (public cloud). In both scenarios, the pursuit of cloud computing options will drive new spending on server hardware.

International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasts that server hardware revenue for public cloud computing will grow from $582 million in 2009 to $718 million in 2014. Server revenue for the larger private cloud market will grow from $2.6 billion to $5.7 billion in the same time period.

"Many IT decision makers are seriously considering cloud computing as a way to dramatically simply their sprawling virtual and physical infrastructure. However, there is still some lingering apprehension over issues like integration, availability, security, and costs. These concerns, and how they are addressed by IT vendors, will continue to guide the adoption of cloud computing over the next several years," said Katherine Broderick, research analys of enterprise platforms and datacenter trends at IDC.

IDC defines cloud services to be business and consumer products, services, and solutions delivered and consumed in real-time over the Internet. Public cloud computing is characterized as being open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users; designed for a market, rather than for a single enterprise. In contrast, private cloud computing is designed for, and access restricted to, a single enterprise (or extended enterprise); an internal shared resource, not a commercial offering; IT organization as "vendor" of a shared/standard service to its users.

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