Data storage company NetApp ( NTAP) cancelled its 2009 user conference in a clear indication that the tech sector is feeling the strain of the economic slowdown.

Customer feedback about increasing restrictions on corporate travel prompted the company's decision to cancel the February event, according to a statement released by NetApp late Monday.

More than 3,000 attendees were expected for NetApp's inaugural Accelerate conference, which was scheduled to take place in San Francisco's cavernous Moscone Center. The company had planned to offer more than 100 technical breakout sessions and had booked the band Barenaked Ladies to play at the four-day event.

"We had more customer interest in NetApp Accelerate than we anticipated," said Elisa Steele, NetApp's senior vice president of corporate marketing, in a statement. "But those same customers told us their travel budgets were being cut and it was difficult to commit to attending in today's climate of economic uncertainty -- for those reasons, we decided to cancel this year's program."

Registration for the Accelerate conference opened in mid-August, so NetApp needed only about two months to gauge the uneasiness of its customers.

Shares of NetApp, which is wrestling with a tough spending climate and stiff competition from the likes of EMC ( EMC) and HP ( HPQ), rose 30 cents, or 2.63%, to $12.10 in early trading Tuesday.

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