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European SMBs to spend $7.6bn on servers, networking

UK gorges on blades

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In our ongoing effort to try to case out the small and medium business arena as it relates to IT, we bring you a report from Access Markets International Partners about the expected spending on server and networking gear in Western Europe in 2008.

According to estimates made by AMI-Partners, which is based on surveys it conducts around the world about buying plans, SMBs (by which AMI means companies with under 1,000 employees) in Western Europe are expected to shell out $7.6bn on servers and networking gear in 2008. (Western Europe, in AMI-Partners' definition includes the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden; mysteriously, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg are missing from the data).

By AMI-Partners' estimates, a little more than half of the $7.6bn will be spent in the UK, France, and Germany, which are the key IT buyers in the region and have been since there was computing. (Not coincidentally, these countries also have the strongest economies in Western Europe, which is why for the past thousand years or so, they have been fighting each other).

In these three countries, averaged together server spending in 2008 is expected to grow by 5 per cent, and about two-thirds of the spending will come from companies with under 100 employees - the small part of SMB in the AMI-Partners dictionary.

Server spending will account for 56 per cent of the total spending across these three. When you do the math, that's about $2.2bn in server spending across France, Germany, and the U.K. Interestingly, as a result of its surveys, AMI-Partners has discovered that 22 per cent of small businesses have only just now bought their first servers. Yeah, I know. Relatively cheap servers have been around for a decade. But many small businesses are only a few years old and get by on PCs or online services until they are forced to buy machinery.

In terms of operating systems, across all eight countries in Western Europe that AMI-Partners examined, Windows Server 2003 is the most popular server operating system they deployed, followed by Windows Server 2000. Linux is "gaining recognition."

In the three key countries, networking hardware expenditures in 2008 are expected to rise by 8 per cent, covering network switches, routers, network interface cards, wireless LAN gear, and cabling. LAN switches will account for the bulk of network spending in 2008, the company says.

One interesting aside: Some 40 per cent of companies polled in the UK said that they expected to acquire blade servers. This is the highest expected penetration level for blade server adoption among the companies polled in the eight countries. ®

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