Le plus ca change...
So, we're heading back to the mainframes, then? One vertically-integrated stack with networking, apps, database and storage?
Why was this a bad thing, again?
Oracle will have to look more like HP and HP will have to look more like Oracle. The other converged or unified IT stack system vendors will have to look more like HP and Oracle too, or get left behind. How do I justify this view? Distributed processing was like seeing centrifugal force in action as the various parts of IT, …
For years, I admired and trusted IBM and HP far more than Oracle.
As an end user, Oracle managed to make me look stupid triple times. I said they aren't stupid to kill java, they aren't stupid to undermine mysql and especially, they won't break a working system (openoffice).
You professional IT guys must be spending 5x time while trying to figure/predict what the heck Oracle wants to do today.
I was also surprised with their Itanium, enterprise CPU drop. Never used Itanium but as far as I read, it is optimized for enterprise and x86 (even 64bit) lacks certain functions and not feasible to add them to end user stuff. Right?
Anyway, once you go to HP site or IBM, see they support stuff shipped before many "nerds" were born and see Oracle drop enterprise cpus making Intel, chipzilla, mad... You see who deserves respect and trust.
Undermining a CPU in Intel's roadmap and making them look like liars? Even SJobs couldn't dare that.
I liken lock-in to trying to get the last bit of air out of a bouncy castle you hired for your kids' birthday party: you stamp on the bubble of air in an attempt to get it out and it pops up somewhere else.
Virtualisation is held up as a panancea to all of this but, pardon me, where is the openness of the Hypervisor? Sure, you get 'freedom' with your hardware (coughs - anyone tried building a production VM farm with differing hardware and chipsets?) but the lock-in moves to the Hypervisor.
"Go for commodity servers" I hear the cry. Well, all the stuff that sits on top of it (build processes and management tools etc. ) *always* have hooks linked to the hardware. I was there when procurement came in and said "I know we decided on HP 18 months ago and we're about to go live but, my, those Dells are cheap". EEK!
And even if you do get some amazing abstraction to allow complete freedom in the infrastructure layer the problem then moves to the complexity you'll create for yourself in the evaluation / RFP process (cue an army of sourcing advisers queuing up to extract your firm's money)
So - I suggest lock-in is always there (you try and move your core banking application or ERP system at short notice to anything else or change one of the component parts) and it's about recognising that and ensuring you and your providers have a good, open and mutually beneficial working relationship. I think you need to ensure you have the option of change but don't let that drive some religious debate about vendors.
Consumers buy cars, businesses buy planes. Ergo, cars are the equivalent to ITs iPads, netbooks, laptops, etc, while planes are the equivalent of ITs heavy lift data center platforms. One's customization at the car level is pretty much cosmetic and narcissistic but the plane operator can choose engines, avionics and interior fit (all high ticket & RoI sensitive items) from a range of options and even vendors. Probably not a good analogy.
Business should be wary of buying the IT stack from one vendor for the reasons posted above.
Trains are a good base for analogies with IT but mostly Joe Punter doesn't like trains,
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