Whether or not a bumper June materialises, everybody in the industry has picked what they consider to be the hot technologies of 2006/07, and which of them they expect to take centre stage during the next 12 months. While opinions vary (as always in this industry), one technology comes up repeatedly in conversation - virtualisation.
Allcom technical director, Andrew Leigh, highlighted virtualisation and unified communications as the best performers of the past 12 months. While unified communications could run hot and cold, he said virtualisation was proving very popular, often in conjunction with storage solutions.
And as far as the next year is concerned, Data #3 CEO, John Grant, is predicting more of the same.
"Virtualisation will be the leading technology of the next 12 months and, although VoIP is probably still strong, it will be engulfed by broader solutions focused on unified communications," he said.
In terms of market dynamics, Grant said a continued shift to selective outsourcing would reflect the levels of complexity still inherent in the IT industry.
Further down the food chain, TCT managing director, Robert Brown, also noted increased interest in virtualisation and, although this had yet to translate into major sales for his company, he said serious discussions were underway.
And also for Vista
Web filtering has been flavour of the month for TCT recently as a growing number of its customers look to control what their employees are looking at on the Internet. Brown said Microsoft Vista was yet to make any significant waves in the corporate market.
"A lot of the third-party software is not ready yet, antivirus and that kind of stuff, so the market won't shift until those companies catch up," he said. "It's OK for small business but for any company with more than 50 seats it becomes a problem." Although corporate users might have been slow to adopt Microsoft's new operating system, Altech southern region sales manager, Adrian Blong, said Vista was definitely making an impact in the components market.
"The release of Vista has made a hell of a difference for us because there's been massive take-up of new graphics technology," he said. "Users have been grabbing at anything high-definition for the past 12 months but Vista has definitely accelerated that."
Ingram Micro product and marketing manager, Matt Sanderson, said Vista had also kicked along retail PC sales since February.
Satellite navigation systems continued to be strong in corporate and retail environments, he said. Blade servers were also going well and VoIP was starting to pick up.
Not a vintage tech crop
Triforce has seen a significant spike in SAN implementations and disaster recovery solutions, according to managing director, Abbas Aly. But although the desktop and server markets have experienced a natural progression to larger screens and faster processors, he said there had been no standout advancements in the past year. Perhaps surprisingly, he noted a slowdown in the notebook business.
"We thought notebooks would continue to grow faster than desktops, but there seems to be a price cap where desktops become better value again," he said. "Overall, there have been no iPod equivalents in the past year but VMware is starting to take off and that will translate into more business over time."
Despite enjoying a year of sustained growth, Dicker Data sales manager, Chris Price, was also less than enthusiastic about new technology served up in the past year.
"There hasn't been any hot technology; it's just the same old, same old and nothing changes," he said. "Mobility is increasing and we now have months where it exceeds desktop revenues but that should have happened a few years ago. At the same time, the average selling price is dropping because it's more commoditised. The benefits haven't really happened because of the down and dirty competition." Servers and storage had been very successful during the past year for Dicker, Price said, but demand for blades had so far failed to live up to expectations.
Express Data general manager of sales, Mal Shaw, highlighted power protection as a big buzz in the market because of the ongoing trend towards server and storage consolidation.