By Jean-Paul Bergeaux
Chief Technology Officer, SwishData
For years, people have made fun of the fact that VHS beat out BetaMax. It’s become an iconic reference to the fact that the best technology does not always win. And it’s truer than most think. I had lunch with a friend recently who was telling me why he chose Citrix, which I don’t really fancy. I wanted to know why he chose Citrix’s desktop virtualization solution over VMware’s View. Full disclosure: I am hip-deep involved with VMware. But I recognize that I am indeed human, can “drink the Kool-Aid” and possibly could have the wool pulled over my eyes. IT people are only human.
The friend I mentioned is a very intelligent and informed IT professional. He’s really good in a lot of areas. The old saying goes in IT, “You can’t be good at everything; there are too many fields to learn about.” My friend is one of the few who bucks that trend. So when I asked him why he chose Citrix, I was hoping that he would enlighten me. His reply was, “I’m human.”
In his last job, someone else had chosen Citrix, and he was the administrator using it for a while. He was generally happy with it and felt very comfortable deploying it from scratch this time, probably doing a better job than the installation he administered. It was easier to stick with what he knew because it could get the job done. He didn’t have time to do a full comparison, and if he chose View, he would have had to learn a whole new system, and he’s overwhelmed trying to fix things at the new job.
For him, I think it’s a perfectly fine answer. Really, I do. Comfort can ease an administrator’s transition, depending on the situation. If I had caught him early enough, however, I do believe that SwishData could have relieved the burden of the transition, and quickly given him a good education on the View alternative. Too often though, IT people choose the comfort route as the default without a good thoughtful reason. It’s frustrating to system architects who are committed to designing a best-of-breed solution. Most times — no matter how comfortable you are — you just can’t default to what you’ve always done. It’s just a short cut that many take with no intention of correcting later. In my friend’s case, he said, “I just need to get this up and running now — I’m open to changing over to View later.”
I respect that because I believe him. If we had been able to help him earlier, maybe the answer would have been now, rather than later. Without that option, there were too many spinning plates and not enough hands right now. He’s only human.