IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 15

Today's headlines: Study shows mixed movement in IT spending; HP specs out midmarket solutions; Fujitsu boosts security.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Monday, Sept. 15, 2008.

Study: Tech budgets shrink, but IT services spending grows

More than 40% of large businesses have cut IT budgets this year due to a tough economy, according to a Forrester Research survey of 950 IT managers in North America and Europe. On a brighter note, the study, which was released last week, shows stable spending on IT services, including hosted applications and outsourced networking services.

According to the survey, 49% of North American firms have cut their tech budgets compared with 31% in Europe -- although Forrester noted that the survey was done in Q2 2008, prior to the deteriorating economic conditions in Europe. The slowdown in spending is worse in some industries than others. In the financial industry, 49% of IT shops cut tech budgets, while in media, entertainment and leisure 39% of respondents said they had cut tech budgets.

The report shows, however, that demand for services holds steady with 45% of firms planning to increase their use of so-called outsourced applications and another 43% planning to increase use of outsourced networking infrastructure, including converged telecommunications.

HP helps VARs build SMB solutions

Hewlett-Packard says its new reference architecture will help VARs more easily build solutions for midmarket companies. The "HP Adaptive Infrastructure in a Box for Midsize Businesses," based on the HP 3000 blade server enclosure, targets companies with 100 to 999 employees -- typically companies with limited IT staff and resources.

Key target markets are companies with small IT staffs, and the goal is to make it easier and more cost-efficient for HP solution providers to work with customers on a custom solution, HP said.

Three versions of the reference architecture are available. The first, for companies with up to 300 users, revolves around a two-processor HP ProLiant BL 260c energy-efficient server. A solution based on this architecture would start at around $18,000, HP said. Other specifications for systems for up to 500 and 1,000 users are also available.

Fujitsu boosts ID management

Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc.'s new PalmSecure LOGONDIRECTOR claims to bring biometric authentication to any PC. Embedded in a PC mouse, the software will work with any single sign-on (SSO) solution and integrate with Active Directory (AD), the company said. The software uses near infrared light to capture a person's palm vein pattern, generating a unique biometric template that it then matches against preregistered patterns. The result is that authorized users can access what they need without having to remember passwords. Fujitsu targets both small and medium-sized companies and enterprises.

Brocade clears U.S. antitrust on Foundry acquisition

Brocade said Monday that it cleared U.S. antitrust review for the $3 billion Foundry Networks acquisition first announced in July. Each company's board of directors cleared the acquisition, which is still subject to final approval by Foundry's stockholders and foreign regulatory review. The deal is expected to close at the end of 2008.

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