"There are very good open source alternatives to the monolithic JEE application servers like Weblogic," says Pandey. "Lightweight components like Spring, Jetty, and Tomcat not only save upfront costs but can save significant development effort. Similarly, open source databases such as MySQL, when complemented by high-performance in-memory data management solutions, can replace expensive databases, saving a considerable amount in license fees and ongoing support costs."
For example, when commercial construction firm Balfour Beatty needed to integrate its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and AutoDesk Constructware apps into a new ERP system, it turned to an open source integration solution called Jitterbit.
"Jitterbit's solution provided the same robust architecture as its competitors, at a much lower total cost of ownership," said Kasey Bevans, CIO of Balfour Beatty Construction. "In addition to ERP integration, our IT team was able to use Jitterbit out of the box with limited training to automate the process of banking transactions."
Whether open source software is right for your organization depends on several factors, including your compliance and security requirements and how broadly the app is supported, says J Schwan, a managing partner at Solstice Consulting.
"The one you can usually hang your hat on is the size and activity of the community supporting an open source app," says Schwan. "How active are the discussion and support forums? How quickly do new releases or new features appear? The more involvement the open source community has, the safer the investment."
6. Consider refurbished hardware
Capital budgets are tighter than ever, so that total overhaul of your datacenter may have to wait. But you can still boost capacity on a budget by going with refurbished or used equipment.
"Refreshing servers and networks is a major time commitment, not to mention expensive -- so more and more IT managers are choosing to max out what they have, rather than go through a complete upgrade," says Corey Donovan, VP at Vibrant Technologies, a worldwide reseller of used networking hardware. "The demand for parts such as memory, drives, and CPUs has greatly outpaced RFQs for complete systems. Our clients are maxing out their installed base and saving 50 percent or more by buying those parts on the used market."
If refurbishing your aging systems isn't an option, you may be able to stretch your IT dollars by picking up the tech assets of failed businesses, says Technisource's Baschab. Log onto the Federal PACER database to find local companies that have filed for Chapter 7, and contact the trustees and liquidators.
"Liquidators are motivated to sell, and the market for these goods is not very efficient or competitive," says Baschab. "You can exploit this situation to find some really good deals."
7. Get virtual -- but pick your spots
Virtualizing even part of your datacenter can save you money on rack space, power and cooling, maintenance, and disaster recovery, as well as give you more flexibility, says Forsythe Solutions' Wolke. But not everything should be virtualized, he warns.
"Virtualizing assets that are not at end of book life, or whose life is being extended to avoid capital expenses, will not cut your hardware costs," says Wolke. Servers that are nearing the end of their lifecycles are the best candidates for virtualization.