Storage to see small spending increase: survey

Other areas of technology to see decline, study finds

The results of a survey of approximately 450 technology professionals released this week found that of 26 technology categories, data storage was the only one for which spending will increase this year.

The survey, of 300 professionals from the US and 151 from the UK, from companies ranging in size from having 31 PCs to those with more than 500 PCs. The survey was performed by Millward Brown Research International and Lightspeed Research and took place from December 15 through December 31. Eighty-five percent of the respondents identified themselves as IT decision makers and 15% said they were IT implementers.

When it came to IT spending, overall budgeting on data storage technology was expected to increase by a marginal amount (.05%), but teh figure was still in stark contrast to other hardware categories, which showed spending declines of between 2% and 3%.

"Storage technology is similar to insurance in the financial services industry. In times of a recession, you have to manage your risk. Storage protects what you have and reduces risk," says Steve Ingledew, managing director of Millward Brown Research's Technology Practice.

Sixty-five percent of the respondents said they expect a change in technology spending over the next year. On average, IT budgets were expected to shrink by 4.1%.

Spending on desktops, notebooks, servers, and hand-held devices was expected to drop by 3.2%, 2.8%, 2.5% and 1.8% respectively. Spending on printers, displays, and other peripherals was expected to drop by 2.8%, 2.5%, and 3.2% respectively.

Software spending was expected to drop anywhere from .05% to 1.7% this year depending on the underlying hardware technology, with OS spending down 1.3%.

Networking and telecommunications equipment spending was also expected to be off this coming year. Spending on LANs, WANs, internet/intranet/extranet and telecomms equipment spending were expected to be down 1.5%, 1.2%, .6% and 1.2% respectively.

When asked about the key challenges facing them in the coming year, the technology decision makers cited "meeting the same or similar objectives with lower IT budgets". To address these challenges, 84% of respondents in enterprises and 77% of mid-market companies stated the most important area requiring support from technology providers was "achieving cost efficiencies from our existing IT environment."

Asked about nine technology trends would impact the industry most over the next five years, virtualisation was overwhelmingly the top choice with 54% of respondents choosing it. The trends also included web-oriented architectures (44%); unified communications (35%); social software and social networking (34%); business intelligence (32%); green IT (31%); cloud computing (30%); specialised systems/appliances (17%); other (1%).

In small companies, web-oriented architectures was considered to be the major trend.

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