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Cloud Computing, Other Hosted Services to See Most Investment

Global IT spending will climb 8.1 percent in 2010 as the tech sector recovers from economic recession, according to a report released on Tuesday by Forrester Research Inc.

The figure represents a significant turnaround – IT purchasing around the world dropped 8.9 percent in 2009.

This year, businesses and governments will buy both hardware and software, Forrester said. Yet, in essence, that’s because these entities are playing catch-up. During the recession, they all but halted IT investment; now, as BT Global Services found in a Datamonitor-conducted survey, they’re discovering innovation has continued despite the financial collapse, and their systems are growing obsolete.

Fortunately, an economy that’s said to be improving – a jobless recovery makes for dubious results – should usher in a new, multiyear cycle of investment, mostly in hosted services such as cloud computing, unified communications and server and storage virtualization, Forrester said. Those areas will see growth because, despite positive momentum, IT budgets have yet to return to pre-recession levels, as Datamonitor reported. “Cloud” products spare end users thousands of dollars in capital expenditures, making them an increasingly ideal alternative to internal architecture.

Thanks to those factors, Andrew Bartels, Forrester’s vice president and principal analyst, declared the tech downturn of 2008 and 2009 “unofficially over.”

“All the pieces are in place for a 2010 tech spending rebound,” he said.

The United States will reap the most benefit: Forrester predicts outlay will reach $568 billion, a 6.6 percent rise, in 2010. Bartels said that means tech spending will increase at more than twice the rate of GDP.

But Western and Central Europe, too, will record strong investment numbers. There, tech purchases stand to rise by 11.2 percent, boosted by the dollar’s decline against the euro, Forrester said. IT purchases in Canada will grow by 9.9 percent, Asia Pacific by 7.8 percent, and Latin America by 7.7 percent. Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa will comprise the weakest markets, investing just 2.4 percent more in technology this year than last.

Worldwide, purchases of computer equipment will surge 8.2 percent; communications equipment buying will leap by 7.6 percent; software spending will increase by 9.7 percent; purchases of IT consulting and systems integration services will jump by 6.8 percent; and IT outsourcing services will be 7.1 percent higher.

Overall, Forrester expects global IT spending to top $1.6 trillion this year alone.