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Original Post From Arik Hesseldahl

The analysts at Pacific Crest Securities have just done a survey of enterprise IT resellers, and the results are sort of a good news/bad news thing. It comes down to this (and if you’ve been paying attention to the sector at all, you won’t have any trouble guessing it): Hardware companies are having a harder time than companies selling software, cloud and security services.

First, the bad news about the hardware companies Pacific Crest covers, including Cisco Systems, F5 Networks, EMC and NetApp: In Q4, the number of resellers running “below plan” was twice as high as those that said they were “above plan,” the firm said in a presentation. “While anecdotal comments were not as bad as feared, the overall trends within the server, storage and networking sectors remain very mixed.”
In the “not as bad as feared” category were F5, which saw some recovery in both the financial services and security segments, NetApp and Riverbed, which saw a boost in reseller sales thanks to new products.
There were also positive indicators for Cisco and Aruba Networks. A check with CIOs about their priorities in 2013 pointed to private clouds, wireless networks and super-fast 10G switching as the three segments where they planned on spending money this year.

Overall, though, hardware sales trends lagged software and security. Resellers saw little impact from fears about the fiscal cliff, and spotted the green shoots of a recovery in Europe. And while pricing was mostly flat, more resellers reported selling software at higher prices than during the same period in 2011.

Pacific Crest’s checks also found that software-as-a-service applications like Salesforce.com, Workday and SAP are gaining mainstream acceptance. Those apps have moved higher up the list of CIO spending priorities — to 12 from 19 — than any other item on the list. Topping that list were security and private clouds.

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