Analyst house Forrester is warning of oversupply issues in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market, based on policy statements and hardware sales.
Forrester principal analyst Andrew Bartels said that the industry is seeing oversupply problems similar to the 'dark fibre' glut faced by telecoms providers in 2001 after overinvestment in high-speed networks.
Nearly 40 vendors are planning to offer IaaS, ranging from major players such as Oracle down to small start-ups. The US is leading the market, and the problem of empty cloud facilities could be particularly acute.
These industry initiatives have been backed up by stronger than expected sales from cloud hardware vendors. Forrester estimated five per cent growth in the server market for the most recent quarter, but IBM reported growth of 22 per cent, and Dell and HP also outperformed estimates.
Storage vendors like EMC and NetApp are also reporting double digit growth, and Bartels estimated that cloud companies spent $1bn in the first quarter, and could spend $6bn to $10bn over the year, but face uncertain demand.
"No major tech vendor or telecoms carrier feels it can stand aside from the cloud computing boom because there is real growth there," Bartels said in a blog post.
"But if everyone follows through with their plans, there is likely to be more capacity than demand. So I think the prospect for the emergence of 'dark cloud' is a real one."
Such overcapacity would mean lower prices for buyers and a shakedown in the industry, and companies will be bought out or go under before the supply stabilises, Bartels warned.
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