Outlook gloomy for most IT sectors

There’s little light at the end of the tunnel for the IT industry. Spending across IT sectors is set to remain low throughout 2009 and is not expected to pick up until 2010. And more companies have been cutting their spending rather than increasing it, even in areas such as storage, where demand was increasing.

That was the gloomy forecast from research company TheInfoPro (TIP), whose bi-annual global survey has seen budget cuts across the board, with only networking holding its own with 36 per cent of organisations planning to increase spend compared with 41 per cent looking for cuts.

What’s more surprising is what organisations are spending their money on: it’s not brand-new technology but rather capacity planning and forecasting tools said TIP’s CEO Ken Male. “It’s almost like it’s 2004 again,” he said.

Other key storage technolgies include de-duplication, that’s something that’s being looked at seriously now, said Male.

Particularly marked was the decrease in server spend, although Male pointed out that revenues in this area were down partly because users could get great deals from vendors right now, and partly because companies were beginning to experiment more with virtualisation and server consolidation. But with just 18 per cent of companies planning to increase spending compared to 41 per cent plotting a decrease (about 10 per cent by more than a half), it’s not good news for server vendors.

Virtualisation is another bright spot with just over 80 per cent of respondents expecting that their organisations would move to a virtualised environment within the next five years – unexpectedly, nearly 10 per cent are expecting such a move within a year. But there’s little evidence that there’s been a mass move to virtualisation by the large enterprises.

“The virtualisation vendors like saying that enterprises are moving away from test environments and moving to full production,” said Male, “but our researches show little evidence for it.” He did point out, however, that many organisations had appointed a virtualisation officer to facilitate the move towards virtualisation, a trend he expected to continue.

The news for Microsoft in the virtualisation space was not good.

There’s little evidence that the emergence of Hyper-V has encouraged enterprises to eschew VMware, with just under half of all businesses testing Hyper-V and just 20 per cent planning to adopt it.

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