IT infrastructure spending to cut back on mundane maintenance, says Forrester

Summary:Technology execs may have finally gotten tired of setting aside 70 percent of their infrastructure budgets to keep the lights on, according to a Forrester Research report.

Technology execs may have finally gotten tired of setting aside 70 percent of their infrastructure budgets to keep the lights on, according to a Forrester Research report. If Forrester is right, there will be a key sea change ahead.

The typical IT thinking dictated that 70 percent or so of IT budgets went to maintenance and support with the remainder going toward innovation. In 2010, Forrester expects that only half of your IT budget will go to maintenance with 30 percent going to innovation. That 20 percent remainder will go toward business expansion.

Here's the picture via a Forrester report:

Robert Whiteley, an analyst at Forrester, broke down that budget picture for enterprise infrastructure and operations spending. Typically, infrastructure and operations spending accounts for half of the IT budget. In a nutshell, IT infrastructure spending needs to set itself up for growth.

The problem: Spending half of the IT infrastructure budget and the data center (server, storage, networking) and the remainder on user technology (desktops, laptops and mobile devices) isn't going to cut it. Infrastructure spending is going to have to carve out space for innovation and projects that grow the business.

Whiteley made a few recommendations to carve out infrastructure budget space:

  • Upgrade your desktops. Whiteley said "many of you will be tempted to downgrade to Windows XP to avoid app compatibility hassles, but new features in Windows 7 will help unlock productivity benefits, security and management enhancements, and green IT cost efficiencies."
  • Virtualize your desktops. Virtualization will support "bring your own computer" programs that can retain talent, connect contractors and cut costs.

  • Buy converged data center infrastructure. Whiteley said:

36% of budget holders told us they were going to increase both storage and server spend by 5% or more, and 33% indicated they’d increase network spend by 5% or more. The key is not to spend this money in the traditional siloed approach. New converged infrastructure combines server, storage, and network in a single chassis. This unified approach helps transform the economics of running your data center. It accelerates the transition to IP storage and helps build cloud-ready infrastructure. Target vendors like Dell, Egenera, HP, IBM, and newcomer Cisco to deploy new, I/O-intensive workloads like VDI or Microsoft Exchange 2010.

  • Use infrastructure as a service and cloud computing. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they will spend more on infrastructure as a service providers (think Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and others). These cloud computing providers will support business expansion and keep costs low.

  • Automate and industrialize IT. On the operations end of the equation, IT needs to be repeatable and automated. Once that's done, infrastructure workers can focus on more innovative chores.

Topics: Hardware, Data Centers, Storage


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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