MAYNARD, MA--(Marketwire - December 17, 2009) - IT organizations are bracing to meet higher service level expectations brought on by virtualization and cloud computing initiatives in 2010 without the looming threat of budget and staffing cuts that marked 2009, according to a Stratus Technologies/ITIC survey.

The survey of 250 IT professionals in 14 countries confirmed that more IT organizations are over-extended, with smaller staffs working longer hours to compensate for fewer workers and ever-expanding responsibilities. The results show that 57 percent of IT professionals know that virtualization and cloud computing increase their system availability requirements and service level agreement SLA obligations, and that IT has at least a broad grasp of the differences between the most often-mentioned technologies for supporting those requirements -- high availability clusters, high availability software, and fault-tolerant servers.

Confidence that they can meet those demands in 2010 is firming. Among the companies surveyed, 31percent expect their IT budgets to increase next year, 39 percent expect it to remain the same, and only 17 percent expect further cuts. The remainder of respondents said their 2010 budgets had not yet been finalized. That slowdown in resource depletion they endured through 2009 will help IT absorb an expected surge in virtualization projects and growing interest in cloud computing. Sixty-seven percent of companies surveyed are considering virtualization projects in 2010, 53 percent are exploring cloud computing and 19 percent are strongly considering it.

"For the first time in a while it looks like IT staffs will have reasons to be cautiously optimistic about what's coming their way -- or at least not to live in constant dread, which is a big improvement all by itself," said Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC. "IT departments are maintaining an air of pragmatism as they brace for a slew of new demands that will drive greater system availability requirements, but at least most of them won't face the onslaught empty handed."

The recession took a toll on IT staffs and budgets in 2009. More than 75 percent of IT organizations endured some combination of budget cuts, layoffs, hiring freezes, salary cuts or freezes, as well as delays in new equipment purchases, and application and operating system upgrades. Among the most often cited problems were budget cuts (49 percent), hiring freezes (42 percent) and layoffs (30 percent). Forty seven percent of IT staff is picking up the slack by working longer hours, and that problem is even more acute at companies of 500 or more employees where 84 percent of IT staff works longer hours. Even as those losses occurred, though, IT groups were keeping an eye on what was heading their way, and what part availability would play.

"The spotlight has turned to private and enterprise cloud computing and, with it, expectations for no-compromise services delivery have intensified," said Roy Sanford, Stratus chief marketing officer. "IT departments increasingly recognize that availability planning is critical to virtualization strategies today, and follow-on cloud implementations tomorrow. The problem they have is sorting through the market noise to arrive at the best availability solution for their needs."

Recent industry research conducted by TheInfoPro and by ITIC/Stratus Technologies indicates widespread misuse of terms such as high availability, continuous availability and fault tolerance, making informed availability technology choices difficult. High availability solutions clearly have a role in virtualized and cloud computing environments. For critical applications that can't tolerate any unscheduled downtime, fault tolerant systems that provide continuous availability are still the best choice. This may include virtualization instances where the risk of impacting many applications in the event of a server failure increases dramatically. "Informed choices are what it's all about, which is why Stratus offers solutions that cover the high end of the availability spectrum," said Sanford.

About Stratus Technologies

Stratus Technologies focuses exclusively on helping its customers keep critical business operations online without interruption. Business continuity requires resiliency and superior availability throughout the IT infrastructure, including virtual environments. Stratus delivers a range of solutions that includes software-based high availability, fault-tolerant servers, availability consulting and assessment, and remote systems management services. Based on its 29 years of expertise in product and services technology for total availability, Stratus is a trusted solutions provider to customers in manufacturing, health care, financial services, public safety, transportation & logistics, and other industries. For more information, visit

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Contact Information: Contacts: Ed Marshall Beaupre & Co. Public Relations 603-559-5816 Ken Donoghue Stratus Technologies 978-461-7269