The original title for this post was going to be Good Consolidation … but I changed it right before I put the first words down because this entire concept really spans more than just consolidation but also combining anything together. Convergence might be a better term, so I’m running with it.
I carry a small device in my pocket which is the convergence of no less than three different devices into a single device smaller than anything else I carried around. My iPhone is my camera, media player, and cellular phone. It does more than that, but I was carrying around those three devices pretty consistently and now I’m down to one.
In all three ares, the function is enhanced in some way by the device being all-in-one. It is a better camera because I can use the cellular network to send pictures to anyone immediately. It is a better phone because I can store pictures of the people in the contacts list. It is a better media player because I can stream media over the cellular network along with search for new media.
I believe the iPhone is an example of Good Convergence.
In IT we have other areas for good convergence. I’m looking at a DNS server convergence right now by moving three separate DNS systems onto a single server by using Views in Bind 9. This will make it a ton easier because I’ll be able to update one server and all of the different VLANs and subnets we have will get the new addresses. By eliminating extra systems I eliminate maintenance and resource overhead.
However, Bad Convergence is damaging. It is trying to fit two things together which have no purpose being so. It is trying to fit too many services onto a single box because then you have fewer boxes to manage …
… but now you have more services to manage on one box and what if they don’t always get along. What if one service needs an update to an underlying library which will break the other services … maybe.
Bringing things together can be a good thing, but you need to make sure that they are meant to be together in the first place. When you do that, you’ve got something special in the works.