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Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Falling for the marketing hype does your business more harm than good

Sysadmin blog Enterprises are slow to adopt new IT. Or is it small businesses that are slow to adopt new IT? Wait, the mid-market is traditionally underserved and overly reliant on appliances so clearly they have to be the laggards!

All of this is true, and none of this is true. It just depends on your point of view.

Adoption of new IT depends – everything in IT is "it depends" – on a number of factors. Does the hot new thing deliver capabilities that didn't previously exist? Will those capabilities deliver a demonstrable value for the dollar spent? Is the new hotness something that can be afforded in the first place and will it put anyone out of work who has the power to veto adoption?

From the vendor's point of view, adoption is "lagging" when companies don't buy gear in their category. Factors like "nobody actually wants that" or "that doesn't actually address real business needs" simply don't factor into these sorts of marketing missives.

Adoption is assumed by marketdroids and vendor executives to be on a path from 0 per cent to 100 per cent. That adoption will almost assuredly never reach 100 per cent is rarely even considered – and it to discuss this openly is the worst form of heresy.

Consider, for a moment, every discussion about the public cloud, ever. Wait around long enough and meaningless statistics will fall out. 15 per cent of workloads are in the public cloud. 80 per cent of Fortune [arbitrary number] organizations use some form of public cloud something or other! A push poll says everyone is terrified of shadow IT, flesh eating space zombies and that squirrel that nests in your neighbour's attic.

Move everything to the cloud or you'll be left behind! Why are you doing this in the cloud right now, don't you know that people are asking about this at golf games?

Heresy is a good thing

Adoption is part of a toolkit of words and phrases that make up the loaded language of marketing. What other people adopt doesn't actually matter, unless and until there are so few people using whatever it is you use that it becomes suddenly unsupportable.

Mainframes are still around. It's been bloody ages, but they keep doing their thing and people keep buying them. The transition to the client-server model didn't ever close that final gap and erase that last few percentage points of workloads. There are some things you just put on mainframes because putting them on anything else is malpractice.

By the same token, the cloud will never wipe out on-premises IT. Hyperconvergence isn't going to completely eliminate traditional storage. Neither proprietary nor open source will ever push the other off the map and we'll be fighting emacs versus vi until long after all of us have retired.

"Good enough" are the two words at the root of all this heresy. What does the job, does the job. When something does the job then a damned good reason is required to move to anything else. You are not morally inferior, ethically bankrupt or committing a sackable offence by standing by not adopting the latest and greatest IT.

Vendors, and their champions on the internet, would have you believe differently, of course, but the baying and screeching of charlatans and idiots driven by aught but avarice and ego should not underpin your business decisions. Businesses of all sizes get along just fine with ancient IT. In many cases it is new physical equipment that merely utilises dated technologies or approaches. That's fine.

It is also fine to jump in and work with the latest greatest, if that offers something of value to you. Build the IT infrastructure that is good enough for your needs. Don't overdo it, but don't cheap out. Above all, take the time to think for yourself and don't be led by marketing – nor the baying – of fools. ®


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