As Cisco confirms its exit from providing its “Intercloud” cloud services, new data shows that the networking giant along with HPE face increasing competitive pressure from the recently merged Dell EMC.

In a statement to tech news site CRN, Cisco has confirmed that Cisco Intercloud Services – a rival to those offered by Amazon and Microsoft – will shut down in late March.

“Cisco has internally communicated that we are discontinuing one of our internal cloud platforms and will be transitioning affected workloads onto other platforms,” Cisco said.

Cisco, which like EMC and IBM has a major presence in the Triangle, noted that “the cloud market has shifted considerably in the last two years, and many of our customers are asking Cisco to help them develop cloud strategies that will help drive their digital transformations”.

The move is likely to enable Cisco to focus more attention on hardware and services in the cloud market where Synergy Research Group says Cisco is just behind market leader HPE.

But neither company’s position of leadership is safe with Dell EMC ramping up following their recent merger.

“Across the different types of cloud deployment, Cisco continues to hold a commanding lead in public cloud infrastructure while HP has a clear lead in private cloud,” the research firm notes.

“By segment HPE has a clear lead in the cloud server segment and is a main challenger in storage, while Cisco is dominant in the networking segment and also has a growing server product line. Dell EMC is the second-ranked server vendor and has a clear lead on storage. Microsoft features heavily in the ranking due to its position in server OS and virtualization applications, while IBM maintains a strong position across a range of cloud technology markets.”

The cloud infrastructure market is forecast to grow at a double-digit rate in 2017, hitting $70 billion. Almost all the market is made up of hardware, software, networking and virtualization with some 6 percent going to cloud security and management.

There is a clear shift in the market to public cloud from private cloud, Synergy notes. The good news for the hardware sellers is that providers such as Microsoft and Amazon are having to buy a lot of gear to meet the demand.

“Growth in private cloud infrastructure is slowing down as enterprises shift more attention and workloads to the public cloud, but that means that there is a continued boom in shipments of infrastructure gear to public cloud providers,” said John Dinsdale, a chief analyst at Synergy.

“For traditional IT infrastructure vendors there is one fly in the ointment though – hyperscale cloud providers account for an ever-increasing share of data center gear and many of them are on a continued drive to deploy own-designed servers, storage and networking equipment, manufactured for them by ODMs. ODMs in aggregate now control a large and growing share of public cloud infrastructure shipments.”