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IT managers offer up holiday wish lists

With visions of virtualization dancing in their heads, IT managers are hoping the holiday spirit will loosen up budgets this season.

IT managers are dreaming of some shiny new toys this holiday season, but too many times their hopes are dashed with nightmares of blowing their skimpy IT budgets.

"I want a bigger bottom line," said Gerald Pattyn, senior IS manager at Farragut Systems Inc. in Lafayette, Colo. "VMware has a lot of nice management and memory capabilities. I also want cheaper motherboards with 16 bytes of memory to support virtualization."

He's hoping that some developer elves come up with a debugger he can use with JSP and Eclipse that is the equivalent to ASP.NET in Visual Studio. Pattyn would also like some eSATA drives to land in his stocking this year because they are faster and more direct than using USB drives.

Other wish lists were a little more humble -- like the one Bruce D. Boyce put together. He's IS/IT manager at Legum & Norman Inc. in Alexandria, Va. "I wish technology was like the most elegant mechanical device in the world -- the bottle opener," Boyce said. "It does exactly what it's supposed to do with the least amount of effort."

On a more personal level, a flat-panel television wouldn't be bad, said Steve Perry, IT director of Costello & Sons Insurance Brokers in San Rafael, Calif.

But on a professional level he is honing in on an upcoming RSA single sign-on implementation. "If I have a security headache, it's that, and it's going to feel like Christmas once we get that done," Perry said.

With visions of security headaches dancing in his head is Tom Olzak, director of IS Security for Toledo, Ohio-based healthcare provider HCR Manor Inc.

Olzak said he just can't seem to find the right tool to collect and disseminate security policies to employees. "I want something that collects it all and sends notices out to all employees when something changes," he said. "I'm not sure what the latest and greatest tools are out there, but I think people will pay for this."

Polices, standards and guidelines are useless unless users are aware of them, Olzak said, and awareness is the biggest gap in most organizations. for technologists

At the top of every IT managers' list this year are highly skilled employees, said Dan Stolts, president and senior systems engineer of Bay State Integrated Technology Inc. in Lakeville, Mass. "What I'm seeing as the biggest problem for all IT and consulting shops is not that there aren't qualified people out there, it's finding them," he said.

The problem has gotten to the point where Stolts is considering developing his own IT talent search site.

"I would like to see a knowledge base listing the features you want out of a person," he said. "Some of these features may include whether job candidates are local, their pay scales and what kind of soft skills they have," Stolts said. Prospective employers would have the ability to put in all the qualifications they want in job applications, he said. "Then the top three candidates within a 50-mile radius that meet all the qualifications pop up on your screen."

What IT managers really want are the time and the money to make their wish lists a reality. Imaging software is what Chris Lehr, network administrator for Southwest Medical Center in Liberal, Kan., asks for every year. An endless supply of memory also remains a top contender, Lehr said.

"I want some kind of imaging software for PCs because right now we have to hand load everything," Lehr said. He would like software that lets him package MSI files so he can duplicate them via Active Directory and not walk them from computer to computer. "Right now, I don't have the budget. That's the bottom line -- more money."

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