25 January 2010

Parts is Parts

There is an olde Wendy's commercial with the tag line, "Parts is Parts". I don't even remember the commercial, just the tag. I had to Google to find that it came from Wendy's. Which brings us to today's NY Times, with a Bits article in the Business section of the Dead Tree version. The kernel of the article is that large companies are now buying direct from parts makers, Seagate notably in the article.

This trend, toward in-sourcing of computer functions, bodes well for the ideas behind this endeavor. As companies begin to understand that self-sufficiency in computer technology is not only cheaper, no middleman, but also encourages directed thinking on the problems unique to the business. If it's feasible to construct servers to XYZ Corp's specification by XYZ staff, then why not the software that runs on said servers? Back to the future; of course, this is how the world worked until the mid 1980's (or thereabouts). SAP, Oracle Forms, JD Edwards, et al, were able to convince even large companies (Fortune X00) that the companies were wasting money by building their own business running software.

The so-called Vertical Market software development houses had been around for sometime, catering to small to medium businesses, and were the drivers of the acceptance of Unix (as well as proprietary work alikes, thence Linux) as a viable platform. SAP is just the most effective marketer to the Fortune 500 crowd.

But, if these companies can once again realize that betting one's core business on off-the-shelf is not wise, then they are also capable of understanding that there are also better ways to do this software. Enter, stage right, the SSD based multi-machine running a smart database. I have a dream.


Bill Pyne said...

Back around 1995, my friend Nelson, who had been in the IT field for close to 35 years at that point, told me that the buy vs. build cycle went around about every 10 years or so. Would you concur with this observation? Do you see the build cycle coming again anytime soon? (I read your post as yes, but I've been known to read with colored lenses.)

Robert Young said...

Not surprisingly, I waffle. On the one hand, SSDs are really taking over, although not fast enough to suit me. On the other, there is still cloud to deal with, again, there is an although: the China kerfuffle, and the recognition that the 'net is inherently unsafe (it was designed explicitly to share documents openly) has led to some pressure to keep data in house.

If the Fortune X00 do the cloud, we may regress back to COBOL/VSAM paradigms since cloud vendors are all about providing a cheap homogeneous utility, which means commodity HDD and various CPUs. Not a pleasant thought. We'll see.