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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The CIO's argument hinges on the assumption that Microsoft software fits together into some grand design. In my experience this is simply false. If you buy all the products they put out in one calendar year there is good synergy. Three years down the road, it's a very, very different story. Microsoft in particular keeps doing this because they rush to adopt certain technology paradigms, badly, and then spend the next several years undoing their mistakes. But the problem with any single-vendor shop is tha
    • The CIO's argument hinges on the assumption that Microsoft software fits together into some grand design.
      To some extent, he's right.

      First, concede the desktop. Windows, Office, VisualStudio, Outlook, etc. are the corporate standard in 99.44% of the corporate world.

      Next, the department level. Standard capabilities like file/print sharing, email and web serving can be performed by anything slightly more powerful than a PalmOS device. Most companies standardize on Windows here out of ignorance; jetBlue sounds like they're standardizing here on a worse-is-better line of reasoning. Sure, it'd be better to run these services on Solaris, Linux or whathaveyou, but that introduces costly complexities into the IT space; standardizing on Windows reduces costs.

      Finally, there are the "enterprise applications". This is the weakest link in the chain, where most serious businesses start to deploy Solaris if they haven't done so already. Again, this CIO is using a worse-is-better line of reasoning; better to use VisualStudio to develop and Win2K to deploy and make your developers fungible within the organization. The alternative? Two (or more) tiers of developers introducing redundancies and inefficiencies in the IT structure. Oh, and vendors provide solutions on Windows or they go with another vendor; he stated that there were instances where Oracle-on-Windows was required for some application or another.

      In my experience this is simply false. If you buy all the products they put out in one calendar year there is good synergy. Three years down the road, it's a very, very different story. Microsoft in particular keeps doing this because they rush to adopt certain technology paradigms, badly, and then spend the next several years undoing their mistakes.
      <devils-advocate>
      Vendors in general are subject to this behavior. There is no guarantee that a multi-vendor environment will prevent these missteps from occurring. For example, would swapping out Microsoft's CMS for Zope or Vignette make your website any easier to maintain in three years time? Probably not. Is the state of file-and-print services in such flux that an all Microsoft solution is significantly more risky than, say a *NIX based solution? No.
      </devils-advocate>

      (I'm explicitly ignoring concerns like uptime, security holes, scalability and size of the admin staff to run a network like this. I presume the jetBlue CIO is doing the same.)

      But the problem with any single-vendor shop is that they make their money by breaking the beautiful crystalline palace they sold you last year. Incompatibility is a profit center.
      I think you're overstating the case here. Incompatibility isn't the only driver here; adding features (and fixing last year's mistakes) are another significant profit center.

      Of course there are significant risks to a single vendor approach, because their interests are certainly not aligned with yours. Yet, with all of the arguments against single vendor shops, I'm intrigued that there's even the remote possibility that an all Microsoft shop could be more cost effective than a typical heterogeneous shop.

      BTW, I'm rather suprised you've never heard that argument before; it's *the* argument that MS promulgates, AFAICT.
      I'm much more familiar with their older, more fascile arguments in favor of an all Microsoft shop: easier to find (certified) staff to run your shop (everyone uses the stuff), cheap body of labor to draw from (from oversupply), cost savings through cheaper hardware, easier to develop applications through wizzy tools and wizards.

      Maybe I've been tuning out the marketroids for the last couple of years? :-)