Platform Agnostic. Good or bad?

Today we can find several vendors that claim they are ‘platform agnostic’. One typical example in the SBC/VDI space is Quest’s vWorkspace that can deliver applications coming from terminal servers or hosted desktops regardless of the virtualization solution being used.

This means your hosted desktops can be running on any hypervisor, VMWare, Citrix, Microsoft and a bunch of other ones I am sure. On paper, this sounds great.

But when talking to some large enterprise customers I realized the fact you are now relying on multiple vendors to run your solution on, support may become a big problem.

For example if your XenServer environment is not performing as expected, where is the issue exactly? On your SAN from HP? On your trunking between you IBM Blade Chassis and your Cisco core switches? On XenServer itself? On some specific VM running under XenServer?

To find where the issue is you may have to call 10 different vendors. On top of that once you find the problem that does not mean it is solved. One vendor may say the problem exists because the other vendor is not implementing the specification for a certain protocol/standard properly and blame them for the issue. The bottom line is you may have a support nightmare on your hands.

If you can have everything (or most things) under one roof, that means one single place to call and to blame. No more saying to your boss ‘it is vendor X fault according to vendor Y but vendor X says it is vendor Y fault’.

Reminds me of the early days of Citrix when Microsoft would blame Citrix and Citrix would blame Microsoft for an application not working as expected. Great times indeed.

Back to the topic, is this the reason that brought Cisco to the blade world with their Unified Computing initiative? At the end do single vendor solutions bring value to the table?

I guess there is no simple answer to this question. I can see the value of having all under one roof and not having to deal with multiple vendors. But not being tied to a single vendor also brings flexibility to the table and kind of avoids a monopoly.

As I am not flexible…


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