My family’s farm has a handful of egg-laying hens so I like the phrase “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”. I tend to think it is a pretty good mantra to live by in many facets of life (not all, mind you).
In technology it gets to be interesting because many times we are encouraged to toss in as many “eggs” as possible into a single vendor’s “basket”.
Skype, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr, Pinterest, Soundcloud, and OpenOffice … Or just Google
— Rob England (@theitskeptic) December 17, 2013
That tweet made me just a little sad because the same sort of tweet could have been tossed around about Microsoft, or IBM before them. The “nobody ever was fired for using [insert platform here]” meme rings almost too true when it comes to technology decisions for many.
Now, I’m just as terrible since I try to stick as close to the Cupertino mothership as I can, but when making IT decisions I spread the wealth around when appropriate. It is a “right tool of the right job” sort of approach which has served me well.
When leveraging a single platform you have so little control over to do so much, you put yourself at extreme risk if that platform owner would decide that they are going to amend the deal you’ve been working on. Think of it like poor Lando when Vader comes to Bespin. You better hope that Leia is there to save your skin in the end.
I know monolithic platforms can provide some benefits, but they also are filled with extreme risk. Google is no different from Apple is no different from Microsoft is no different from IBM. They’re all seeking money to stay alive (and create military robots … sorry). Relying too much on a single platform will, some point in the future, bring you pain.
The question is always: will the pain be worth it?