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Gartner: IT Spending To Slow, With Cloud Computing An Exception

Gartner said overall IT spending should fall by nearly 4 percent this year, but that certain areas like cloud computing and virtual desktops are ready for a long-term rise.

Gartner, Stamford, Conn., this week said total worldwide IT spending would reach $3.2 trillion, down about 3.8 percent from the $3.4 trillion spent in 2008.

Of the four key parts of IT spending identified by Gartner, hardware is taking the biggest hit, with total spending expected to fall by 14.9 percent this year to $381 billion.

Spending on telecom is also expected to drop by 2.9 percent to $1.9 trillion, and spending on IT services should drop by 1.7 percent to $809.5 billion, Gartner said.

Only software spending will rise, but by a mere 0.3 percent to $221.9 billion. However, that estimate could be revised to negative growth if the economic downturn continues, Gartner said. The analyst firm expects no upturn in software sales until the first half of 2010.

The downturn in spending is impacting both new sales and replacement sales, and pushing consumers and businesses to switch to lower-cost products, Gartner said.

The economic downturn is creating opportunities in certain parts of the IT market, however.

Gartner expects worldwide cloud services revenue to exceed $56.3 billion in 2009, up 21.3 percent from the $46.4 billion spent on the cloud last year.

Cloud computing is a way to dynamically combine and scale server, storage, networking and other resources outside of a company's own traditional data center for such purposes as remote data storage or running Software-as-a-Service. A company can build an internal cloud, which allows those resources to be available for its own purposes, or can use external clouds, which are available over the Internet.

Gartner also said the virtual desktop PC market, or what it terms "hosted virtual desktops," will grow significantly over the next few years.

The company estimated the number of virtual desktop PCs to reach 49 million units installed by 2013, up from more than 500,000 units in 2009.

By 2013, Gartner said, virtual desktop PC revenue will hit about $65.7 billion, or over 40 percent of the entire professional PC market, up from between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion, or under 1 percent of the professional PC market, in 2009.

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