Enterprise data centers still spending on e-business

Despite a sluggish economy and the ups and downs on Wall Street, spending in large enterprise data centers remains strong, with 70 percent of businesses saying they will spend as much or more than what they budgeted, according to a new survey by AFCOM's Data Center Institute.

The survey, conducted early this month and focusing on software spending, also found that large enterprises have embraced e-business in a big way. "Despite the dot-com decimation that has gone on in the last several months, e-business within the large data centers is alive and well," says Brian Koma, AFCOM's vice president of marketing. "About 75 percent of large IT enterprises have adopted e-business in one way, shape or form."

The DCI sent surveys to 3,100 members of AFCOM, an organization for enterprise data center managers, between Feb. 26 and March 12. Koma says the 278 respondents who completed the survey included presidents, vice presidents, directors and data center managers and supervisors of companies that spend an average of US$5 million annually for hardware, software and services. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

According to the survey, storage management, performance management and e-business applications topped the list of expected purchases, but respondents were unclear about when. "Those who did indicate when they were going to be buying say that their purchases were going to most likely be made in the second quarter or the third quarter of the year," Koma says.

Regardless of when they spend, 60 percent of respondents say their data center budgets have increased by more than 5 percent over last year's budget. Key drivers of the increases are data center expansion (53 percent), e-business adoption (36 percent), increased staffing (34 percent) and legacy application integration (28 percent).

In the area of e-business, 82 percent of the respondents say they will have an e-business strategy in place by the end of the year, and 20 percent percent say they will spend between US$1 million and $3 million to do it. About 6 percent say they will spend more than $10 million on e-business applications this year.

"The dot-com collapse of recent months has not caused e-business to go away," says Koma. "In fact we think large enterprises are truly now the drivers behind the Internet economy."

The survey also found that wireless applications are quickly moving into enterprise data centers. About a quarter of enterprise data centers now have wireless accessibility and by the beginning of next year, more than 40 percent will have implemented a wireless strategy, according to the survey.

The advent of wireless technology means a readjustment in data center procurement, the survey found, with 61 percent of respondents saying their organizations will need to purchase additional software, 14 percent percent saying they will need to purchase storage-related applications, and 9 percent saying the adoption of wireless technology will increase consulting budgets.

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