Server failures loom as budget cuts delay refresh cycle

Organisations are putting themselves at risk because they are not replacing servers and PC quickly enough.

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Organisations are putting themselves at risk because they are not replacing servers and PC quickly enough.

One of the quickest, simplest and most common responses to the economic crisis was to extent the life of IT department assets, but analyst house Gartner is now warning of the consequences of such action.

In round numbers, the scheduled replacement of some three million servers worldwide, or about 3 percent of all servers, has been delayed, Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's global head of research, said at the research firm's Symposium/ITxpo 2009 conference. He added that the number of delayed replacements should reach 10 percent of all servers by 2010.

As a result, Sondergaard said, IT operations "are going to have to start to plan for the impact of increased equipment failure rates."

Gartner's hardware forecast was the starkest indication of the cumulative impact of IT budget cutbacks. For example, recent outages at some service providers provide at least the appearance of growing equipment problems. 

Budget cuts are expected to continue. Sondergaard said that enterprise IT spending worldwide is expected to decline by about 6.8 percent this year, and won't return to 2008 levels until 2012. "The IT market is exiting its worst year ever," he added. Gartner estimates that 2009 worldwide enterprise IT spending will total some $2.3 trillion compared to $2.5 trillion in 2008.

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