Infoworlds Urban Myths from its August 16th 2004 issue has one that Infoworld tellingly says right at the outset – “This myth is closer to fact than fiction”. Bravo.
Homogeneous mainframe shops or uniform Unix farms or one Windows waystations – this is the myth. Infoworld correctly points out that a number of trends in the IT industry are primary causes. Mergers, acquisitions and shutdowns with consolidations inevitably throw together diverse IT shops and strategies. Even more so in the era of dot.com bust and outsourcing. Second, direct linkage to partners, suppliers, and customers in CRM, SCM, even regulatory systems bring heterogeneous system and connections together. Third, as Infoworld points out IT managers are more reluctant than ever before given monopoly players and pricing in IT markets to commit to one supplier. Now more than ever they are spreading the wealth among two or more players – both hardware and software. So expect large commitments to Suns Java Desktop and IBMs Workplace as a counter-weight to the Wintel duopoly.
The writing is already on the wall with AMDs rise in the 64bit chip world, Linux groundswell on servers, and anybody but MS on phones and mobile devices. A monoculture is attractive when there is great diversity; but it quickly loses its charms in commoditized markets when major players start dictating to customers how, when and for how much they will get their ever more vital IT computing power.