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Issue of June 2004 

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India Inc holds on to existing infrastructure

Though hardware prices are falling thanks to duty cuts, India Inc isn't going on an elaborate shopping spree. Most want to hold on to existing infrastructure and no one wants to rip and replace it just yet. by Anil Patrick R

Fewer organizations are going to acquire hardware during 2004-05. To put that in perspective, 65 percent will invest as compared to 72 percent during 2003-2004. But this is a continuing trend and the numbers have been dropping since IS 2002. This doesn't necessarily mean that overall hardware expenditure is dropping. What it does mean is that many organizations have a mature IT set-up and don't feel the need to replace their hardware or buy new boxes yet. If one scrutinizes the numbers for hardware sales over the past year, and examines the forecasts made by analysts for the year ahead, one will observe that the organizations that continue to make investments appear to be spending more.

Server dynamics

Most organizations use Windows-based servers; these are the dominant force for edge of the network tasks and in some cases to handle the application layer. Windows 2000 Server has been deployed by 70 percent of organizations. 31 percent plan to make further investments in this product which is quite fascinating considering that its successor from the Microsoft stable has been around for about a year now.

Though Microsoft has long stopped selling it, Windows NT lives on. Almost two-thirds of surveyed organizations use it and 22 percent will put their money behind this venerable server OS—mostly on maintenance. With Microsoft pulling the plug on support for Windows NT on January 1, 2005, this is worrying. But 2004-05 is a good time to move from NT to 2000/2003 or to Linux/Unix.

A third of India Inc. runs its back-end on Unix boxes. About a sixth are going to reinvest in proprietary Unix.

Linux stands still

Linux's market share is static. 31 percent of organizations use it, the same as in IS 2003.

Planned Linux investments for the year ahead are next only to Windows server (Windows 2000/NT) with 24 percent of organizations intending to deploy Linux distributions this year.

Solaris slips a notch

Compared to IS 2003 Sun Solaris usage has dropped by four points to 22 percent. That's bad but what is worse is the fact that only 6 percent of respondents plan to invest in Solaris during 2004-05.

That said, Sun's strongholds of Telecom/ IT/ITES and BFSI will invest to the tune of 33 percent by the Telecom & IT/ITES segment and 12 percent by BFSI.

Novell-marking time

Novell NetWare usage has grown by two points since the last survey. Today 26 percent of organizations use it though only 10 percent of the organizations intend to make fresh investments in the original network OS this year. It is going to be a crucial year for Novell as it implements its Linux strategy. It has to build on its positive momentum in 2003-04 if it is to make a comeback.

Switched on

On the networking side, switches are the hot favorite with nine out of ten polled organizations using them and the majority intending to invest in these in 2004-05.

As PC prices plummet on account of duty cuts, this appears to be a good time for the Indian enterprise to replace its PCs. Two-thirds of India Inc. plans to invest in PCs.

Better yet, half the organizations surveyed are going to buy notebooks. The availability of entry-level notebooks for Rs 40,000 (Intel/AMD based) makes them an attractive option. 28 percent of companies have deployed PDAs. 14 percent plan to spend more on them. PDAs are doing better in government circles rather than in the corporate world with the bulk of sales going into e-governance projects.

Investments are going to pour into switches and structured cabling. Network printers (53 percent), routers (49 percent) and power conditioning equipment (47 percent) are other popular items.

Research Snapshots
  • The number of organizations investing in hardware is going to drop by seven percent this year.
  • Windows 2000 is the most widely deployed OS. Windows 2003 has yet to supplant its older brother.
  • Linux is standing still with 24 percent of Indian organizations planning to invest in Linux-based servers this year. Government and PSUs are bound be the largest buyers of Linux servers.
  • Windows 2003-based servers are starting to pick up with a quarter of organizations planning to adopt it in 2004-05.
  • While fewer organizations use Solaris, it is still going strong in Telecom/IT/ITES with a third of these organizations planning to deploy Solaris in 2004-05.
  • Two-thirds of companies (66 percent) plan to invest in PCs/Other peripherals this year.
  • Laptops are popular; half the respondents will invest in them this year.

NM Suggests
  • If you are running Windows NT 4.0, this will be a good time to migrate to Windows 2003 before Microsoft pulls the plug on support for this server OS on January 1, 2005.
  • Client devices (PCs and notebooks) have become quite inexpensive. This is a good time to invest in these.
  • Gigabit Ethernet is a good option for future proofing server rooms, as is Cat 6 for a structured cabling deployment.
  • In preparation for Gigabit Ethernet, consider replacing
  • 10/100 Mbps network cards with 10/100/1000 Mbps cards
  • Consider replacing hubs with switches
  • If replacement of desktop PCs is on the cards, and you have a mobile workforce then consider notebooks with desktop capabilities
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