While attending the Dell Storage Forum in Boston in mid-June I had cause to rethink my earlier blog post, Best of Breed vs. Best of Vendor. The unofficial themes of the event seemed to be ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ and ‘In Most Cases, Good Enough IS Good Enough’.
“The driver of convergence [storage, compute and network] is about simplicity, about trade-offs,” said Dell’s Ben Tao. “It’s about delivering the 20% of functionality but 80% of the tasks that you do.”
According to Dell, because no company can be the best at everything, you have to choose where to try and excel, and where to compromise. The objective is to deliver the best overall solution – or set of solutions – to meet the majority of the market’s needs.
I still believe that best-of-breed usually trumps best-of-vendor, but when all you need is basic transportation and you have limited resources, then buying a Lamborghini when a Fiat 500 will get the job done is probably poor choice.
According to a recent survey, there is more than $12.3 billion worth of preventable and ongoing costs associated with unused software and shelfware in the United States. On average, unused software costs organizations $415 per PC. Shelfware costs every organization in the United States approximately $155 per user per year. And let’s not forget bloatware, overly complex programs (as well as unwanted pre-installed software applications).
Even Microsoft, who should know a thing or too about bloatware, is aware that over 65% of features built are either rarely or never used by the customer. A study by the Standish Group reported that over 40% of a system’s features are never used, with another 19% used rarely, and 16% used only sometimes. That leaves just 7% used always, and another 13% sometimes.
Perfection, whether it’s in the eye of the beholder, a panel of Olympic judges, or an IT product or service, is an admirable objective, no matter how difficult to achieve. But sometimes, for the majority of us, compromise, or trade-offs, is the right objective.
Footnote: Although there were only 21 other vendors exhibiting at Dell’s second annual Storage Forum, I found it fascinating that three of them were WAN optimization companies – Blue Coat, Riverbed and Silver Peak.