Too Many Brands

I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Aldi lately and it’s helped me realize something: the world has too many options. If you’ve never been to Aldi before, it’s just a grocery store. They are usually small, about four aisles long, and almost everything in the store is the Aldi store brand. You want green beans? There are Aldi green beans. You want cheese? It’s Aldi cheese. They guarantee every product is equal to the name brand product from other stores with a double-your-money-back deal. If you go there and you don’t like what you get, you take it back and they’ll make it right.

Why would this make me think about computing? I don’t know…probably because I’m a big geek. When I look at the computing landscape, there are a few big companies, but in most arenas, there are only a couple of big ones. In cloud computing, you have Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. In search, you really just have Google and Yahoo. In databases, you have Oracle and Microsoft. There’s Apple and Microsoft desktops. In each of these, there are other players. some of which are rather large in their own right. For the most part, though, I believe you should run with the big ones.

In the enterprise, I’m not sure that you need all those choices. If you take a proposal to your CIO, it better darned well be for services or products from the big player, or there’d better be some over-the-top reasoning for using something else. I’ve heard my entire career, “No one gets fired buying Cisco.” This is true, and it may lead to using inferior or more expensive products, but it’s PRACTICAL.

Shopping for services should be as easy as picking the two big players and then choosing. Don’t go buying cloud services from a small vendor, unless you’re ready to move if they close shop down the road. Don’t go rolling out Linux to all of your desktops because you believe in open source solutions. Just keep your life simpler and keep your CIO happy.

BTW, have you tried the tiramisu at Aldi? Oh, man…if you can get it, buy a case. It’s the only one there and you’ll never have better.

Written on March 21, 2016