The slowing economy is having little effect on demand for information-technology (IT) services, while driving improvements in energy efficiency and resource utilization, a recently released report from The Aperture Research Institute (ARI), a research organization established by Aperture Technologies Inc., says.

The ARI surveyed more than 100 data-center professionals across a range of sectors, including the health-care, banking and insurance, retail, telecommunications, government, and pharmaceutical industries. According to the report, 73 percent of the data-center managers surveyed expect demand for IT services to increase during the next two years, while more than half (56 percent) predict there will be no increase in their budgets during the same period of time. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed expect their IT budgets to fall, with 26 percent predicting a drop of up to 10 percent; 11 percent of those surveyed foresee even greater cutbacks.

“With the global economy in a downturn, data-center managers are being faced with the combined challenge of rising demand for IT services and tightening budgets," Steve Yellen, principal of The ARI, said. "This is forcing them to find new ways of doing more with less. From the results of our survey, it appears that data-center managers are placing a greater focus on utilization and efficiency of existing resources. This is likely to cause a revitalized focus on tools that provide insight into resource allocation and use.”

The report shows that data-center managers are looking at ways to squeeze more from their existing resources, with 80 percent of data-center managers surveyed confident they can create at least 10 percent additional capacity through better management of existing assets. Thirty percent said they could find an additional 20 percent.

“The companies with the best chance of emerging from the current economic downturn strongly positioned to compete are those that invest in tools that enable them to gain actionable insight into their resource allocations,” Andrew Fanara, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star products program manager, said. “This information will enable them to make smart decisions that will result in cost savings and operational efficiency.”

Other survey results show that data-center managers are looking to green initiatives to help manage their operating expenses, with 87 percent of those surveyed having a green initiative in place. Of those indicating they have a green initiative in place, only 22 percent believe the economic downturn will slow the pace of their green efforts. Thirty-nine percent of respondents do not expect the economic slowdown to have an impact, while 26 percent expect to intensify efforts to go green.

The report is available for free download at http://www.apertureresearchinstitute.com.>