Analyst warns against interoperability snag

Analyst warns against interoperability snag

Interoperability might be the catch word of the day, but it still pays to stick with uniform suppliers and build "clean", standardised operating environments, according to IT research house Meta Group.

In its latest report, Meta Group warned resellers and end users of being lured into purchasing alternative products and building hodge-podge systems to save a buck, especially on the back of the dot-com crash.

Kevin McIsaac, program director for Meta Group Australia, says the temporary glut of cheap inventories from failed dot-com initiatives has enticed corporations on tight budgets into the used goods market.

"There's a lot of computing iron left lying around that has generated a healthy market for grey goods, but the problem is it's a false economy," says McIsaac. "You can't get the model you want and the warranty and service terms become null. This presents huge risks for e-service and e-business environments where downtime is critical," he adds. "If you put a used server into a product database service or a Web service, you may end up spending more on maintenance in the long run," he adds.

McIsaac says buyers are better off going back to the manufacturer and getting a "reconditioned" server. "To be honest, [the vendor] doesn't really do much to it asides from cleaning the disk drives and putting a new warranty on it, but that's what you really need, the guaranteed service element," he explains.

McIsaac also deflated the interoperability catch-cry of today's marketplace, saying that while the concept of vendor neutral applications and platforms working together is real, it blows out costs in terms of people to operate it.

Skilled operators, "are the most expensive part of a solution," explains McIsaac. "Today, it's the people who are really expensive and the hardware that's cheap, so companies should be looking to standardise their operating environments to reduce the cost of managing it."

"Interoperability does work, but each vendor has its differences. If you have to manage a fleet of three different brands, it gets complicated and costly."

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