What Survey Questions Should We Ask IT Infrastructure Buyers?

Frank Gillett
Vice President, Principal Analyst
May 13, 2010

Every spring I’m faced with the wonderful opportunity – and challenge – of choosing the best questions for Forrester's annual 20 minute Web survey of commercial buyers of IT infrastructure and hardware across North America and Europe.

Clients can see the 2009 survey instrument here. In that survey, we learned that only 3% of firms were using cloud-hosted servers and that 79% of firms prioritized IT consolidation and virtualization but only 23% prioritized internal/private cloud efforts.

As technology industry strategists, what themes or hypotheses in IT infrastructure do you think we should focus on? What are the emerging topics with the potential for large, long term consequences, such as cloud computing, that you’d like to see survey data on? Please offer your suggestions in the comments below by May 21!

This year, I’m proposing the following focus areas for the survey:

  • New client system deployment strategies– virtual desktops, bring-your-own-PC, Win 7, smartphones, and tablets
    • Hypothesis:  Early adopters are embracing virtual desktops and bring-your-own-PC, but the mainstream will proceed with standard Win 7 deployments
  • The evolution of server virtualization to internal cloud– server virtualization, automation of virtualization management, integrated management of virtualization and physical servers.
    • Hypothesis: Firms are fully embracing virtualization, are focused on building internal cloud capabilities, but are reluctant to embrace public or hosted IaaS cloud service offerings.
  • Storage growth, challenges, and new strategies– overall data growth, growing variety of data strategies such as app-specific storage, new types of data such as media, and cloud storage services
    • Hypothesis: Firms are struggling with a growing diversity of data types, requirements, and uses, but aren’t embracing cloud storage services as the solution, except maybe for some forms of backup and archiving.
  • New IT system deployment models–Blade servers, fabric systems (compute, storage, and network together), hardware appliances, hosted desktop infrastructure, app-specific servers such as Oracle Exadata, and shipping container compute.
    • Hypothesis: Firms are just beginning to explore alternative models to using standard rack servers and networked storage, and will be drawn first to dedicated server virtualization configurations.

So, what do you think?
Please suggest improvements, new topic areas, deletions and even specific questions right here in the blog comments.
I'll be locking down themes by May 21, then moving to designing the specific questions, so we can field this in late June.

Thanks for your input!

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