Virtualisation: Optimising resources
Virtualisation is the datacentre version of getting the most out of what you already have. Up-front investment in virtualisation tends to be fairly low, but can deliver quick and substantial returns. "Virtualisation will continue to be popular because it allows companies to defer other costs -- in this case, that's mostly hardware," IDC's Gens says.
Specsavers began tapping virtualisation before the downturn. "Virtualisation is a key tactic we've been doing for some time to minimise hardware acquisition costs," Khan says, "and that will continue."
Virtualisation has advantages beyond hardware cost reduction. "Everybody's moving to virtualisation," Forrester's Reichman says. "You're likely to be more efficient with server and storage resources in the long run, and if you have expertise, that return is likely to come fast. A down economy might be the right time to throw down and do it, especially if you can time it with hardware refreshes."
Transplace, the $2.5 billion transportation logistics provider, is reaping the benefits of moving to 90 percent virtualised infrastructure, according to CTO Vince Biddlecombe. "Converting from a physical to a virtual infrastructure is particularly beneficial during tough economic conditions," Biddlecombe says. "Virtualisation has allowed us to save on power and cooling costs as well as the amount of time our IT staff spends on server admin. It provides us with more efficient use of capital as well as increased flexibility during challenging times."
But CIOs should also expect virtualisation to force security investments because, as Threadgill explains, "the virtual machine environment has to be as secure as the physical environment."
Security: Data and end points
No surprises here. IDC's Gens, in fact, says that security is "always the No. 1 concern of IT. As you see more resources out there on the Internet, there's concern that they're secure."
Companies will have a particular focus on securing network end points, devices, and those applications that serve them, according to IDC's Minton. "Whether you're in a recession or not, no company wants to be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal because their data was breached," he adds.
Threadgill lists security as the second of Morgan Keegan's top two spending priorities, behind only storage. And Specsavers' Khan adds that his budget will include security technologies, namely firewalls, tools for securing end points, and data encryption for mobile devices and remote PCs. "There's no reduction in security expenses," Khan says. "If anything we're increasing our security spending."
Gartner and Forrester agree that companies will continue to ratchet up security. Raskino adds that layoffs and, in turn, new hires will be yet another driver. "An economic downturn and recovery create massive churn," he says. "The processes and tools for managing and disabling access are going to be critical."