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No one is forecasting a boom year for 2010, but many observers are making
predictions that point to some smart growth in terms of spending within IT
organizations.

And TheInfoPro is no exception. The research firm’s most recent research
looking into trends for Fortune 1000 and midsize enterprises reveals that these
organizations plan to focus their budget dollars and man-hours on improving
infrastructure and optimizing performance in 2010.

“There’s no truth to the hype that we are going to see a quick spending rebound
after the year we’ve just had, but there is still a lot to be pleased with in
terms of anticipated 2010 budgets,” says Ken Male, CEO
of TheInfoPro, in a prepared statement.

“We had hoped in the second half of 2009 business units would demand new
projects, applications, lines of business, etc., but that has not been the
case,” he adds. “However, there is benefit from these tough times; for example,
IT departments will expand services based on the consolidation and
virtualization measures that have worked well for them to get through this
recession.”

The new infrastructure focus will come at the expense of new pilots and
projects, according to the research which is based on interviews with more than
1,000 IT decision makers from more than 800 organizations.

Key infrastructure areas that TheInfoPro asked about included storage, servers,
networking, information security, virtualization and cloud computing.

Other key spending trends include:

  • A focus on technology
    purchases that focus on optimization of existing server, networking and
    storage assets, and requiring a six- to 12-month return on investment
    (ROI).
  • Similarly, emerging
    technology will more likely get the green light if it can demonstrate
    quick ROI.
  • Investments in upgrades will
    be made to support virtualization demands, particularly in networking.

As for investments in storage technology, IT professionals say they focused
on consolidation in 2009 but expect to return to spending in 2010. However,
there’s uncertainty around whether they will invest in new applications. Storage
budgets did not suffer as much in 2009 at midsized companies, and in 2010,
those budgets are expected to increase again.

The research also found that NAS activity has continued to expand for business
analytics, application optimization and virtual server adoption.

As for servers, research showed that spending will turn net positive, with 30
percent of IT decision makers saying that they will increase spending for this
technology while 22 percent said they will decrease it.

And while companies will need to invest more in hardware, not all vendors are
created equal. The research showed that Dell and HP are the first choice in
terms of hardware vendors.

In terms of virtualization, one area that will see a major increase in pilot
programs and installations in 2010 is desktop virtualization, according to
TheInfoPro research.

Networking spending trends are as follows:

  • Early projections show fewer
    big networking budget cuts in 2010 compared with 2009, with 58 percent of
    IT decision makers saying they expect spending to have flat to 10 percent
    growth. High ROI projects such as WAN optimization continue to be
    deployed. And to a lesser degree, unified communications in terms of
    unifying voice and video into the enterprise network backbone is also
    moving forward when it can be accomplished without large infrastructure
    upgrades.
  • 15 percent of organizations
    are planning IP video conferencing solutions as a strategy to offset
    travel expenses and improve organizational effectiveness.
  • An additional 29 percent of
    companies, or nearly 75 percent of the current adoption rate, have unified
    messaging solutions in their plans for the next 12 months.

Cloud computing continues to gain momentum, even if it is not mainstream.
While nearly 60 percent of server organizations are not evaluating or planning
to use cloud computing, the number of organizations indicating interest in
cloud computing has nearly doubled in the past year, going from 20 percent to
40 percent.

TheInfoPro says that 30 percent of those interviewed said they would be slow to
adopt cloud computing because of immaturity of the technology, with another 25
percent saying they are reluctant because of security concerns.

While internal models were favored by 53 percent, a big chunk of organizations—34
percent—are looking at a hybrid of internal and external models.