NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The tech sector may have taken a taken a pounding from anxious investors this week, but the future still looks bright for VMware, ( VMW) Riverbed ( RVBD) and Salesforce.com ( CRM). The latest IT spending survey by Goldman Sachs ( GS) reports an "encouraging" jump in domestic capital spending plans but warns that there could be a slowdown in economic growth during the second half of the year. Set against this backdrop, Goldman lowered its 2011 spending growth forecast from 7% to 4%.
The tech sector is not all doom and gloom, though. Goldman cites a number of tech names as big winners, particularly in hot areas such as virtualization, cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS). "In software, VMware (neutral), salesforce.com (buy), and now SolarWinds ( SWI) (CL buy) are the top three share gainers," explained Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski in a statement. "In networking, Aruba ( ARUN) (buy) and Riverbed (neutral) rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively." Virtualization software trailblazer VMware recently blew past analysts' first-quarter estimates and gave strong second-quarter guidance. Riverbed, which sells products for improving traffic over wide area networks (WANs) has also been enjoying strong sales growth and recently clinched a major partnership with telecom giant Verizon ( VZ). Increasingly, though, technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing are converging, as evidenced by VMware's recent partnership with Salesforce.com. The two companies have joined forces to launch VMForce, a cloud-based service for Java developers. Other firms showing strength in the Goldman survey include Accenture, ( ACN) VMware ( VMW) parent company EMC, ( EMC) NetApp ( NTAP) and services specialist Sapient. ( SAPE) Earlier this week technology research firm Gartner scaled back its 2010 IT spending growth forecast from 5.3% to 3.9%, highlighting the clouds still hanging over the global economy. The analyst firm explained that its new forecast was primarily due to the devaluation of the euro versus the dollar since the beginning of this year. "Our latest IT spending forecast reflects the fact that the global economic outlook is stable but vulnerable to shocks in key regions and industries, which means that IT spending decisions are still scrutinized for value," explained Gartner vice president Richard Gordon, in a statement. Gartner expects worldwide IT spending on computer hardware to grow 9.1% in 2010 compared to 2009, with software spending forecast to grow 3.1%. -- Reported by James Rogers in New York Follow James Rogers on Twitter.