WAN optimization in 2010

Wanted: WAN optimization and application delivery predictions

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After significant contraction in 2009, the application acceleration market will return to modest growth in 2010, research firm Gartner predicts.

It’s the busy season for prognosticators, as the new year approaches. Seems the perfect time to take the pulse of the WAN optimization and application delivery market. In that spirit, I’d like to pose this question to readers: What do you think will be the biggest technology and industry trends to watch – specific to the WAN optimization market -- during the year ahead?

Last week I saw a few figures from Gartner that got me thinking about what’s in store for the industry in 2010.

First, in its recap of the worldwide market for application acceleration equipment, Gartner said the market grew by almost 9% quarter over quarter, finishing Q3 at $604 million. However, the market was down nearly 7% compared to the third quarter of 2008.

Second, the research firm is predicting a return to modest growth for the application acceleration market in 2010. Gartner is forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 12.22%, with 2014 revenue of $4.27 billion.

It’s no surprise to learn there was significant contraction in the market during 2009. Clearly it has been a rough year for IT buyers and suppliers in many tech sectors. But there are some hopeful signs of a return to greater spending – from Gartner and other sources. Forrester Research, for instance, is forecasting 7.7% growth in IT spending in the U.S. in 2010, led by IT consulting services (11.4% growth), software (9.3%), and computer equipment (8.3%).

And CDW in its most recent survey found that more than 80% of large businesses and 84% of federal government high-tech executives plan to make IT hardware purchases in the next six months.

Enterprises are expected to continue to pursue IT consolidation efforts. At the same time, employees are becoming more mobile and distributed. Those two trends in particular bode well for investments in WAN optimization and application delivery technologies.

So as you prepare for the new year, please take a moment to gaze into your crystal ball and consider sharing your predictions with this newsletter audience. Drop me an e-mail with your thoughts, and I’ll compile the predictions in a future newsletter.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to believe a year has gone by since I last asked industry watchers to share their predictions. How’d they do?

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