Monday, October 21, 2013

Best of Breed or Best of Suite?

Image if you could plan your next vacation by taking your favorite beach, with your favorite amusement park, your favorite restaurant, favorite mini-golf, favorite ski slope, bowling alley, go-cart race track, hotel suite, and of course cruise line.

For instance, if I could somehow combine the travel time of Delaware Beach, with Typhoon Lagoon, Alaska's Aurora Borealis, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas Strip, and my home entertainment system, I'd be all set for a fabulous vacation.

What my wife and I end up doing is rotating across and between our favorite vacation spots, accepting the fact that on any given year we're sacrificing one perfect experience for another.

Arrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh... I never seem to get away from Architecture Decisions!!

Do you favor Best of Breed solutions, or best of suite? My dad has never bought a computer from Dell, HP, Gateway or any other name brand vendor. He buys power supplies from one guy, motherboards from a website, hard drives from the manufacturer, and so on. He says he gets the best components that way and can build the best system.

Me? I'm a Best of Suite guy. I like getting a packaged solution, at a fair price, where I have the expectation (and legal leverage to demand) that all of the pieces work together. Given a choice between buying the components of a great PC (like Dad), or just buying a Dell (or Gateway, etc..) with Windows, Internet Explorer (which I will use exactly one time - to download Chrome), and Microsoft Office - well, given the choice, I'll take the packaged deal.

This has become a lot more interesting with the advent of TeraData, Exadata, Exalogic, and their Ilk. I remember introducing the Google Search Appliance in my company years ago and how that changed the way we addressed intranet searching.

These solutions combine hardware, operating systems, and some software solutions, all tuned to work together. You do lose some ability to customize the various components, and you are at the mercy of a single vendor if something goes wrong. Then again, being at the mercy of a single vendor is sometimes preferable to being caught between two or three adversarial vendors each claiming the other is at fault.

So which do you prefer; Best of Breed, or Best of Suite?

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