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Network usage climbs while IT budgets, staff remain down

Network usage climbs while IT budgets, staff remain down

LAS VEGAS -- The economy may be sluggish, but that hasn't decreased demand for network services, which could be why enterprise network managers at Interop Las Vegas say they plan to maintain current staff and expect to see budget dollars return in the coming months.

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Surveys conducted separately on the show floor reveal that a majority of those polled didn't experience layoffs in the last year, about one-third plan to roll out new technologies, and many see an increased demand for IT services.

Network Instruments (which also asked attendees about virtualization) surveyed about 100 network executives on site at Interop and found 67% of those IT departments did not see layoffs in the last year, while 22% did see some staff cut. Nearly one-third polled by the vendor said they continue to roll out new technologies, and according to Network Instruments, budgets among those polled were expected to increase by 3% on average.

"The network has become a more integral component in conducting business, making it less likely to be the target of budget cuts. Companies that cut IT dollars risk reducing productivity and competitive advantages," said Charles Thompson, product manager at Network Instruments.

Separately, NetQoS queried some 170 IT professionals on site at Interop and during its NetQoS Customer Symposium regarding network usage. Nearly 70% indicated that their organization's WAN usage had increased in the past 12 months, with just 8% noting a decrease. Yet about three-fourths of those polled said their IT budgets have decreased or stayed the same, and 69% reported the same about IT personnel. While nearly 40% of survey respondents said they had increased investment in network management tools over the last 12 months, more than half showed no change.

While network usage is up, IT professionals are being asked to provide more services with fewer resources.

"IT professionals are literally being asked to do more with less at a time when WAN usage is increasing and ensuring consistently high application service levels across the network is more critical to businesses than ever," said Steve Harriman, senior vice president of marketing for NetQoS. "Those organizations with fewer employees and decreased or flat budgets will find it more difficult to take on their top priorities, such as monitoring end-user application performance and managing the risks of data center consolidation."

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