Thursday, 17 February 2011

End of availability

Just a quick post this morning, no it's not about my seemingly new role as "GrumpyHermit" but rather about vendor product churn.

You see in the last two weeks I've had two supposedly global 'top 5' IT infrastructure vendors casually inform us that four of the products we standardise on worldwide will no longer be purchasable in ten days time!

Now naturally we have agreements in place re minimum 18 months availability, and 6 months advanced notice of any EOA date - but nowadays these get treated with the corporate equivalent of "meh" by suppliers...

Naturally this has all sorts of impacts to WIP projects, our design & build teams and our competency centres re build images & operational readiness acceptance etc.

This is further compounded by the vendors increasingly operating "build to order" policies with little or no stock held in channels, thus causing inevitable delays around each sku change. Of course it doesn't help that this increased rate of change appears to be hand in hand with a reduction in core quality & testing by suppliers.

So please vendors I implore you to remember that diversity is the enemy of efficiency and drives real world customer costs through the roof... Please give some serious thought as to how to abstract the customer from the now constant hardware & firmware changes masked in so called 'benefits' (it's 5% faster, 7% greener, 3% cheaper etc) that need new configs, new drivers, new testing, different interop skus etc.

From my perspective, if its not a "direct field replacement unit compatible" then it generates real cost and pain - not dissimilar to that of changing suppliers...

Oh and whilst I'm on the topic, why isn't there a standard (ISO, DTMF, ANSI etc) on product lifecycle definitions & lifecycle events?? And don't even get me started on the concept of major & minor product version numbering standards and conventions between products & vendors...

The current situation on all these areas is chaotic, unacceptable and untenable. The IT industry is slowly killing itself through unwanted & unwarranted 'change for changes sake' that is driving a real but often unreported cost time bomb...


  1. It gets worse. This week we were informed by our LSI distributor that the MegaRAID 8888ELP wouldn't be available shortly. When asked to give us a definitive date, they couldn't.

    We escalated it directly with LSI and they said they wouldn't give a EOL date either "because there are still parts available in the distributors/channel and defining an EOL date would impact their sales" (presumably because people would avoid buying it).

    So screw customers.. let's just make that last buck with the remaining pieces and that's it.

  2. Don't make me retest for 5% speed gain...... the users will be never notice in most cases unless it is to tell us we should have improved productivity by 20%