Talking about current events with my dad recently, he gave me a sage piece of advice. He said, “Son, leave your gas can at home.” Now obviously we weren’t talking about IT, but it got me to thinking. There’s seems to be a lot of this same type of reasoning in our industry. Think about what happens when you hear about a big winter storm coming. Most people run off to the store to stock up on bread and milk. Why bread and milk? No one is eating milk sandwiches, but that’s what they all want.
Now extend that out to you hearing about a gas shortage or that a station is about to run out of gas, everyone grabs their gas cans and runs down there and fills up. Everyone is standing there, and all of a sudden there’s no more gas. It’s all gone. “It’s started,” you think. The beast is among us. Then you overhear someone talking to the attendant and you hear him say, “I don’t know what the fuss is. We get gas delivered every Tuesday.” It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because everyone believed something happened, or was a certain way, that’s the way it turned out.
So where am I going with this? Well, I’m telling you to be mindful of what you’re doing. There seems to be a trend in IT, where everyone likes to play follow the leader. Everyone uses the same vendor for the same things, and they try to use the same cookie cutter pattern. If you have any decent exposure to various organizations, you’ll know that’s just not the case. Trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, never works out well.
Organizations are wholly unique. Do they possibly share similar requirements? Yes, but not altogether the same. You need to learn to be flexible and adaptable. Just because you used all Cisco gear at your last job, or all of your colleagues use Juniper, doesn’t mean you have to stick in that realm. Is it nice to keep that warm fuzzy of vendor sameness? Yes, we’re all guilty of pulling that cozy blanket, which your favorite vendor offers you, up over our heads at night. Then we feel like we can sleep a bit sounder. That isn’t always what’s best for the network. Just because they’re the biggest doesn’t always mean they’re the best solution.
Sometimes you just have to take a chance. Now I’m not saying that you should globally deploy that newest solution that your neighbor’s kid developed in their garage. What I am saying is that there’s a multitude of proven vendors out there that can provide good service, hardware, or unique solutions. You just have to put in the time to research and find those vendors.
This type of thinking is really going to come into play with SDN gaining steam and exiting the data center. With all the players trying to get in the game, the adopters are going to shape what innovations are going to be accepted. They will also determining whether an open framework or a more closed one becomes dominant.
So before you run off and jump on the latest bandwagon, make sure you do your homework. Just because your friends are jumping off a bridge, it doesn’t mean you’re going to follow them does it?