Education IT Spend Surging

This year IT spending in education is already surging, says a new research report from Gartner.

The report, titled “Forecast Alert: Enterprise IT Spending by Vertical Industry Market, Worldwide, 2008-2014, 1Q10 Update, shows that worldwide enterprise IT spending in education will increase in 2010 by 4.1%, to nearly $64 billion. In 2009, total IT spend in education was $61.46 billion.

Yet, despite its projected growth, education IT spend is the smallest of all the vertical segments tracked by Gartner. The end of 2010 will see IT spend make up just 2.64% of the overall vertical enterprise IT market worldwide. That’s about the same as its share of the overall picture in 2009.

Just in case you’re wondering what the bigger picture looks like, Gartner forecasts that enterprise IT spending globally across all vertical segments will increase by $96.7 billion – to nearly $2.43 trillion in 2010. Interesting, though, that the overall average growth rate will be 4.1% (compared to a 5.6% decline from 2008-2009), the same as what lays ahead for spend on education IT.

Part of the increase in education IT spend is coming from colleges and universities adopting more efficient methods to monitor the security of their IT infrastructure…their databases and applications. The end goal is to keep things running worry-free, kind of like an advanced math student in a regular math class.

Of course, the Cloud figures prominently in education IT spend, and cloud-based monitoring solutions are proving affordable and effective for monitoring everything from servers and networks to education management applications like Moodle and Blackboard. Schools are voting for cloud monitoring, too, because the technology doesn’t depend on networks being up. Cloud-based tools, such as Monitis, can send notifications when things go wrong in a variety of ways, including phone, instant messaging and email; Again, no network uptime necessary.

Often, schools are making the switch to cloud-based monitoring from open-source products such as Nagios, Zabbix, Zenos, Cacti and others. One big advantage to cloud-based monitoring, , is that it is automatically updated, and IT administrators don’t have to spend valuable time and resources on keeping software current and installed – whether it’s open-source or proprietary.

Gartner’s prediction for IT spend is confirmation enough for me that cloud-based monitoring has a big future at schools and universities.