Structured Database/Data Management workloads continued to drive the largest share of enterprise IT infrastructure spending in the second half of 2023 (2H23), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Enterprise Infrastructure Tracker: Workloads.

Organisations spent $7,2-billion on compute and storage hardware infrastructure to support this workload in 2H23, representing 7,8% of overall enterprise IT infrastructure spending.

Despite the high level of spending, Structured Databases/Data Management was one of the few workloads where spending declined in the second half of the year, falling 1,3% compared to the same period in 2022. The workload with the fastest spending growth in 2H23 was Industry-Specific Business Applications with a YoY increase of 36,6%. Spending on AI Lifecycle workloads accelerated during the second half of 2023, growing 26,6% compared to 2H22 and representing 7,2% of overall spending.

This made AI Lifecycle the second largest workload with spending totaling $6,6-billion. Client Computing saw a strong recovery following two weak semesters with 22,6% growth compared to 2H22. Development Tools and Applications, Text and Media Analytics, Business Intelligence/Data Analytics, and Engineering/Technical workloads also experienced double-digit growth in 2H23 with YoY spending growth of 17,8%, 16,6%, 15,3% and 11,4% respectively.

Workload spending profiles vary across product categories. For ODM Direct, the highest spending was from Consumer-Oriented Digital Services workloads with $2,8-billion in 2H23, representing 10,6% of ODM spending. For OEM Servers, AI Lifecycle was the leading workload with $3,9-billion and 7,6% share. OEM Storage was led by Structured Databases/Data Management workloads which represented 16,6% of the spending with $2,4-billion value.

Similarly, workload priorities vary across geographic regions. In the Americas, spending for AI Lifecycle workloads reached the top position in 2H23 at $3,1-billion while in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China), China, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Structured Database/Data Management workloads saw the largest spending in 2H23 at $1,1-billion, $2,3-billion, and $0,99-billion respectively.

As enterprise workloads continue to move into cloud environments, investments in shared infrastructure (a hardware base for delivering public cloud services) and in dedicated infrastructure across all workloads are expected to grow at a double-digit pace over the next five years.

* Spending for workloads in cloud and shared infrastructure environments is forecast to have a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12,8% with Digital Services and AI Lifecycle spending leading the way. IDC predicts spending for Digital Services and AI Lifecycle in cloud and shared environments will reach $16,5-billion and $11,6-billion by 2028 respectively – both with a five-year CAGR of 15%.

* Infrastructure spending in cloud and dedicated environments will see a 12,9% CAGR with Structured Database/Data Management followed by AI Lifecycle as the fastest growing workloads and five-year CAGRs of 8,8% and 18,8% respectively. AI Lifecycle will remain the second largest category for spending reaching $4,9-billion by 2028.

Over the next five years, IDC expects growth in compute and storage systems spending for cloud-native workloads will grow much faster than infrastructure supporting traditional workloads (14% vs 8,4% CAGR) although traditional workloads will continue accounting for most of the spending during the forecast period (67% in 2028).

Spending for workloads in non-cloud infrastructure environments will grow at a 4,1% CAGR over the next five years with Unstructured Database, Text and Media Analytics, and AI Lifecycle as the fastest growing workloads with five-year CAGRs of 12,8%, 11,8% and 9% respectively.

Nonetheless, Structured Database/Data Management, Content Applications, and Business Intelligence/Data Analytics will account for 24% of spending by 2028 while Unstructured Database, Text and Media Analytics, and AI Lifecycle combined will only account for 15% of spending in the same year.