Hardware Today: Getting Blood From a Stone, Maximizing the Server Budget

By Ben Freeman (Send Email)
Posted Dec 2, 2003

Maybe it's a case of too much punch at the holiday party, but did you just hear your CFO mention the word "economy" without the requisite wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanied it for the past two years?

With the economy perking up and server budgets hitting CIOs' desks, we explain how to get the most out of your (hopefully) increased budget.

Perhaps. Forrester Research saw a conservative 1.7 percent growth in IT budgets during 2003, but the research firm predicts that once the good economic cheer is fully dispensed, spending will increase by 4 percent. IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, released last week, reflected similar growth, with a 2 percent revenue pickup during the past three months. The gain is nearly one percentage point higher than analysts anticipated, and this was the second consecutive quarter of positive growth for server revenue worldwide.

Such optimistic growth indicators likely have some CIOs scrambling to expand their server-room wish lists, while others may be cautiously hoping they asked nicely enough for minimal add-ons. However, no matter how financially flush (or impoverished) you feel, now that it's late in the fiscal year and the creatures aren't stirring much, it's high time to assess the battle plan for next year and figure out how to get the most out of that budget now sitting in your inbox.

No matter how big the budget, a careful TCO analysis is in order. Calculations will help to realistically weigh server room price tags. Blade servers, for example, cost more up front, but they conserve space, cable clutter, and electricity, and they are beginning to prove themselves in enterprise environments.