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Midmarket businesses are starting to get spooked by the R word, according to CDW IT Monitor, a bimonthly indicator of IT decision-maker sentiment.

The most recent edition of the IT Monitor notes that “doubts on the momentum and direction of the IT marketplace have spread from small businesses to midmarket ones.” While the overall index dropped one point to 72 from February’s 73, the results among midmarket companies were much more dramatic. That sub-index, measuring anticipated investment in IT, dropped seven points to 70 in April.

The IT Monitor also noted that 21 percent of midsized companies expected to hire IT staff in the next six months, a drop of 10 percent from the number two months ago.

The CDW IT Monitor is based on an online survey of at least 1,000 IT decision makers from businesses of all sizes and all sectors of government.

As if on cue following the CDW IT Monitor release about negative economic sentiment, Linksys launched a new leasing finance program. ChannelWeb is reporting that the program lets partners choose from several specially designed leasing products and payment plans designed for small business, inlcuding true leases with fair market value residual, full-payout leases, tax-exempt municipal programs and options for seasonally adjusted flex payments.

Dell‘s new blog for channel partners will make its fashionably late debut tomorrow, according to Channel Marker, and you can find it here.

Citrix has debuted a new desktop appliance partner program, according to Redmond Channel Partner Online. VMware recently promised a similar program aimed at strengthening partnerships with its own thin client suppliers.

File under: Pour Some Sugar on My Data Center? SugarCRM will offer its new Sugar Data Center Edition (DCE) to both partners and enterprise customers, the company announced today. SugarDCE is a set of systems management, provisioning and monitoring tools for MSPs, hosted application providers and large enterprise customers who want to deploy and manage multiple distinct versions of SugarCRM from a centralized management console, says Martin Schneider, vice president of product marketing, SugarCRM.

Schneider said the ability to offer these capabilities in a SaaS model lowers the cost of managing and supporting Sugar On-Demand and allow partners to offer greater customization of SugarCRM based on industry and geographic demands. He said DCE for partners is a great tool for partners serving vertical markets, since SugarDCE creates an app dev environment on top of which partners can create and deploy customized instances of SugarCRM, deploy and manage all those instances through a single console.

SugarDCE launches today, and is currently in Beta testing with a select number of partners and enterprise customers, according to Schneider. The product will be generally available this summer and can be used to support Sugar Community Edition, Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise editions.

PCWorld has a full story on the launch.

IBM plans to open an Executive Briefing Center in Guadalajara, Mexico, to focus exclusively on Storage and archive systems technology. The center will allow IBM and its partners to simulate customer data center environments, and then show how IBM technology could impact customer deployments. Charlie Andrews, worldwide marketing manager, IBM System Storage, says that if the center is successful, IBM would consider opening additional, topic-specific centers around the globe. has a full story on the launch.